We’re really starting to see, hear, and feel how the grind of this pandemic is wearing people down. Fourteen months later and there is light on the horizon with the vaccines, but the world is still grappling with the third wave. Things aren’t likely to change as soon as we’d hoped so somehow, we have to keep moving ahead and doing what needs to be done. This being the reality we find ourselves in, we thought we’d talk a bit about what we can all do to find the strength and focus that we’ll need to get to the other side of these tough times.
Everyone will be at different points in the journey. Some of us will have found a kind of rhythm that’s carried us this far but are feeling like our strength is running out. Others may be experiencing overwhelm as the tasks and challenges continue to pile up. Whatever it is you’re dealing with, there are four basic things that can help to re-focus and re-energize and not only us, but the teams we lead.
1. Get back to basics. The ‘why’ you do what you do.
Remember your mission. What is the primary reason you exist? Who is it you’re here to serve? When you have limited resources, you need to focus them on activity that supports the answer to that question. And it’s really important that you make the connection very clear to your team, so they can appreciate and understand the ‘why’ behind their work. Now, more so than ever before.
2. Prioritize whatever’s most relevant.
Once you’ve confirmed your mission and who you serve, it will give you perspective. And perspective is what you need to help you step back and take an honest look at where the effort is going. When we’re too deep in the action the minutia can cloud the picture. It’s really easy to get caught up in work for work’s sake and then one day when we’re exhausted, we look up for a minute and wonder why we haven’t made the progress we needed to? Decide what’s relevant to your mission and commit whatever energy and resources you can to that.
3. Set aside what can wait.
What you decide to set aside is as important as what you decide to do. And it’s often much harder to stop doing something than to start. But it’s critical when you’ve only got so much ‘gas in the tank’ as they say. Try to remember that setting something aside for now, doesn’t mean forever. Give yourself a timeline to come back and reassess whether it’s time to restart. That way you won’t feel like you’ve given up or wasted your time.
4. Look after yourself and your people.
It’s the same premise as when in an airplane emergency, you put your own oxygen mask on first. Putting your health and well-being second to everything and everyone else is a strategic error. Easy enough for most of us to do, but the risks multiply exponentially. You can’t be there for your team if you’re broken and on the sidelines. And conversely, you can be a role model and set an expectation if you make your own health a priority. Remember that as a leader, you are here to serve your people.
None of this should be anything new. The magic is that it’s simple. The less complicated you make things, the more progress you make. Especially when you’re bone-tired. So, take a pause and take care. 😊
We couldn’t decide which of the two quotes below was most fitting, so we’re sharing them both.
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.
That’s what this storm’s all about.”