The Coach is In…

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Generating Great Ideas – One Final Thought

My last post was about how we generate great/brilliant ideas. At the end I mentioned I had one final thought, but it was too long for my last post. I guess since I’m starting this post with this thought it can’t be my ‘final thought,’ it has to be my first thought.

These last seven months have challenged most of us and our thinking. I have found myself saying repeatedly, “I need a different way to think about this – I can’t stay here.” This is a myriad of things that are happening – from the COVID threat to mine and my family’s health, forced quarantining, social distancing, masks, a thorough washing of hands. When you ‘pack’ all of this with what is happening economically, what is happening in society with social justice reform, politics and religion, there is a lot going on and none of it trivial.

Much of this falls for me in the ‘unknown.’ Your life and my life have a great number of unknowns right now. I/We don’t like losing control. I/We don’t like not being able to predict tomorrow, at least with some certainty. We can begin to fear more, have more anxiety. This can lead to bouts of depression and being less functional. All scary stuff, particularly if we stay focused from an emotional perspective.

Sometimes, our emotions are not our best friends. I went through a similar thought process during 2008 when there was so much financial disorder. My best idea then was ‘go back to what you can control.’ Stop catastrophizing and focus on those things you control. It helped me to simplify and begin to calm down. I stopped listening to the financial news; stopped opening my 403B statements.

What is going on now seems far worse because it isn’t just on one front. It is on a number of fronts – health, economic – including historic loss of jobs, political, religious, and social unrest. Some of the ideas for dealing with 2008 have merit, but the ideas have to be on steroids for me because I feel like I’m surrounded, and hope is in shorter supply. I still come back to, “I need another way to think about this.” The question is whether I will allow the space and time when there is such an anxiousness in my life?

The fact that I haven’t written about this in seven months has a lot to do with not knowing what to write. It has taken this long to begin to sort through all my feelings. I think for awhile I was numb. We were just learning about the pandemic and what it all meant. We are still learning about COVID and what it means. It is further complicated with how people choose to react. I was down in Georgia earlier this month and surprised at the almost laisse faire attitude about the coronavirus, and wearing masks. I won’t argue their political orientation other than to say that it further complicates how we react to what is around us when there is not unity. As time has passed more of the political orientation around the country has shown up in how we respond to the pandemic. The fractured nature of our country’s reaction to the pandemic may be a by-product of the fractured nature of our country in general. We see it in our politics, our religion, our movement toward greater social justice.

Is there a clear-cut solution? I am not sure how clear cut it is, but there are some pathways, and they connect to our energy centers – Physical(P), Intellect(I), Emotion(E), Spirit(S), and Social(S)…P.I.E.S.S. It is likely that many of us feel that all our energy centers are challenged. If we have established ways to care for our energy centers (ourselves), our current environment assaults and challenges our care. Yet, somehow, our selfcare is one of the key pathways in navigating this environment.

In a more normal ‘environment’ selfcare is vital for us to ‘thrive.’ During a pandemic, and fractured society, selfcare is necessary just to hold our own against the fatigue and sometimes physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social exhaustion of what we face daily.

My observation continues to be that many of us are better at depleting ourselves than we are at renewing. We are bombarded daily with challenges to our way of living. We have had to adjust our lives, and adjust them again, and again to all we see and hear around us. These are not small things, and they represent serious distraction to our life – if we allow them to be.

The call to action is that if you have an established pattern for renewal – MAINTAIN IT! If you don’t, START! Is it that simple a choice? Likely not. But, allow me to ask you this. “Is what you are doing to deal with all that is around you working, or could you use a boost in your energy?” My answer to that is that I needed to make adjustments.

  • Physically – I needed to ensure that I was getting regular exercise to release built up toxins, release endorphins and build stamina.
  • Intellectually – I needed to read and expose myself to a greater variety of topics that would challenge my thinking. Refresh my mind.
  • Emotionally – probably the hardest. I needed to be aware how I felt on any given day, express how I felt, but not allow myself to remain in that emotional state, to not allow my emotional state to ‘hijack’ me (see Emotional Hijack – Google). That involved limiting what information I was taking in (similar to 2008)
  • Spiritually – to feed my spirit. Sometimes that comes about by withdrawing from a given situation, to be alone (a walk in nature); listening to some favorite music. Reading and engaging in meditation. Giving my mind a rest.
  • Social – we have all had to social distance. How do we connect with others when we are physically limited? I’ve utilized Zoom. I have called my close friends. I have been with a small group of friends in places where we could create distance.

Adjusting. Finding things that work. Caring for ourselves. Restoring ourselves. It is work. It requires time. It requires discipline. It can also bring more moments when you say “Ah, that’s better.” For me, it brings greater peace. Part of the reason is because I am engaged in doing things, adjusting things, that are in my control. Part of generating the ideas that work for me.

What are some of your pathways in coping with your world/our world? Eleanor Roosevelt looked fear in the face during difficult times. How about you? I would love to hear from you – to broaden the conversation.

Towards a better you…


P.S. If you could use some help with changes in your life, let me know. It is what I do.