I've been meaning to ask you this for quite some time, but you know how it is - hours drift into days, days into weeks - a sort of lockdown lethargy. But I'm here now to ask how lockdown has affected you. Over the weeks, conflicting scenarios have been playing through my mind - but that's the thing - it's my mind - not yours - only you know how it's affected You.
I'll share the scenarios anyway in case they are useful prompts. In no particular order:
as the weeks have passed you may not be missing your job, actually you're not looking forward to going back, you've realised you didn't enjoy it - it wasn't really you.
Or you may love your job but spending more time with your partner or your children makes you realise how much of their lives that you've been missing up until now.
You may be longing to get back to work because work was where you escaped from a difficult situation or a dysfunctional relationship - or just to avoid discussing it.
You may always have been the one at home with personal space, around and in charge of the children every day and the new dynamic is suffocating you.
You may never have spent so much time with your children and teenagers before and the same goes for them, I guess.
You may live alone, and either be painfully lonely or loving it and fearful of having to eventually go back out.
Letting go of standards that seemed set in stone – hair and nail appointments, coffees, lunches, gym visits, board meetings, wine bar after work, mini breaks, holidays, restaurants - and realising that life still goes on, may have led you to question other supposedly essential things.
You may find that you're eating more drinking more replicating an 8-week all-inclusive holiday but now you're not enjoying it.
You've had more time to read, write, to watch Ted talks, do an online course and found whole new vistas opening up.
You've discovered technical skills you always said you never had - as you've been forced into using online webinars and social platforms to keep in touch with family and friends.
I expect some of you have had to master online shopping too!
You may have developed other skills - practical skills like DIY, gardening, painting, decorating, carpentry, sewing, BAKING - the list is endless – (I can't tell you how many pieces of art have been posted on Facebook by friends who are normally out at work.)
All these changes may have made you realise that you're ready to make some changes of your own.
Some of you that felt so lonely may realise you could have gone out more when you had the chance and might just do that eventually - some of you will be the volunteers that have kept in touch with those of you ‘more at risk’, stuck indoors for longer than the rest of us.
Others have been volunteering their support and also felt the joy of doing service with no financial reward - sewing, packaging, delivering, contacting, cooperating with our frontline workers.
Of course, thousands of you will be our frontline workers, often the lowest paid but being recognised as essential to keep the rest of us afloat. How does it feel to have that belated recognition and appreciation at last? Risking your own health for others every day and turning up to do it again - what has that taught you about yourself?
Many, far too many of you will have lost both family and friends to this virus, often without the chance to say ‘goodbye ‘. Hugely difficult. Not the end of life, parting, closure that you any of you would have planned.
So much change, so many scenarios - many more than I can even imagine. I'm sure you'll add your own.
But I'm also sure that there will be many, many, more of us who have been challenged, changed, awoken, stretched and shown and are now wanting something different in their lives.
Whatever those changes and desires are - whatever your plans, as a coach, I am here to talk them through with you, to give them shape and direction, take the first small step.
The tabloid press may well prophesy post-traumatic stress disorder. I will be delighted to be a part of your post traumatic growth.
'Here When Your'e Ready.'
Although there will be huge differences in the way people are feeling in response to the past seven weeks or so, I am confident that not all is gloom doom and fear. In no way am I minimising the tragedy of lost lives, livelihoods and general freedoms. Rather, I am focusing on the good that has come out of a bad situation.
One of the extraordinary changes that, after 7 weeks, is almost becoming ordinary, is our use of online webinars to keep in touch.
Simply Self Aware has been online since the beginning of April and has developed in ways that I couldn't have imagined at the start. Of course, it was marvellous (and a relief) to have a few regulars online the first time I set it up.
After some discussion the idea of a guest speaker was raised. Why not? The world was now our oyster. We were delighted to be joined in April by Liz Abram, Performance Coach and Resistance Trainer on the gripping Ch4 series SAS Who Dares Wins.
Liz shared her ideas and tips on the topic of Becoming more Authentic in Your Chosen Career. Several new members and SAS Who Dares Wins fans jumped on that week - a welcome addition.
This was followed a fortnight later by Letting Go of Perfectionism, suggested by Liz as a good topic to follow-up with. Again - more people from around the country were able to join, when, before, distance would have prevented them.
Excitingly, May 27th's topic, 'Apologising', (based on the talks by Brene Brown) will be delivered by an enthusiastic new member from Gloucestershire.
I don't know how things will be when we come out of the current lockdown - none of us do. I do know that there will be members who will be pleased to be meeting up in reality again - and I certainly feel that being present together is hugely valuable.
But I also hope there's a way to keep the very best of the 'reach' and 'connection' that gathering online has given us. We will have to see...