I tend to be the type of person that truly uses life as the best educator - the "school of hard knocks is the best teacher" I always say. Why because it is. If we look at all that comes our way and consider the lesson and value to what that experience is to provide, boy can we grow. Good or bad, all are good if we find the lesson within it. As with all learning, once we see the lesson, we need to begin to make changes if we are going to experience the value of such a lesson (s).
What did I learn from the PAUSE? So much. Here are just a few things:
The ability to just "be" because there is no where to run to. How wonderful and freeing that is alone!
The value of not having much on my calendar and embracing that. But admittedly too much of that would have stressed me out so gratefully my clients kept me working and I obtained new clients who realized the support they need now and in the future with new normals and new regulations will required support I offer.
The value of engaging with people through videoconferencing. This alone was so valuabe as it kept in touch with my clients with little to no interruptions with their work related to how I support them.
Videoconferencing allowed us to meet with large groups who we could see and meaningfully interact with. I did some great team building work through it all. While I love to be in person with people, I love this method as well.
I liked the casual begining to my days. I didn't wake up, eat breakfast and run out the door. I liked being able to get up with time, sit and enjoy coffee and breakfast and then move on to my day in my home office.
I can't sit still so evenings were filled with good documentaries and some movies. I don't watch TV much at all, so this was new.
I took up my crocheting in a meaningful way. Well I have the additional motivation to create some things for my soon to be new grandson. If this isn't a motivator nothing is. I was able to do projects I never knew I would be able to do. So I guess I am improving quite a bit on this skill my grandmother taught me and my mom perfected with me over the many years. Boy would they be impressed with my projects. (I was, I didn't have confidence in creating what I did so I was happy I could!)
I ramped up my online consulting in a big way. I had a subscription based product developed. I hired a Digital Marketing company to help me on Social Media and I brough on an SMS company to begin to move my messages through text, a place I know we all are! I am excited about this new offering on my website though and for now, I have it discounted to help businesses get back on their feet again yet be able to afford high level HR support.
I liked getting to know people in their home setting. The pets that popped in pictures. The kids that jumped on laps and the sounds of their home were music to my ears because that's who we really are. I particularly loved the outdoor settings some had for their "offices" for that day. Why not? The birds singing in the background subliminally lead to more peace in our hearts and minds. Taking the time to "smell the roses" would be important however. Our office persona can be misleading and boring at times. I like to "meet" people where they are so to speak.
I was able to have more meetings than ever with back to back videoconferencing and no drive time. Productivity escalated. I'm a Type A personality so that is highly valued to me. For some this was exhausting, so make sure that you take into account the spaces between meetings.
While admittedly I am getting tired of cooking every day, I really enjoyed it for the first two months. I found the savings related to be quite satisfying too. We used to go out to eat 3 times a week. That's excessive I know but I love to be out and about. Now, I am learning to embrace the gifts of my home and the comforts within.
I do not like grocery shopping so finding out how easy it is to order and have it delivered or ready for pick up is my new normal for sure. I also tend to spend less money because I am not enticed by things I really didn't need. Again, not only a timesaver but removes this task I don't otherwise enjoy.
I worked with a colleague I recently met prior to COVID and we did live chats every Wednesday. That was so fun and provided such value to us and our guests as we had stellar speakers on that were both intereseting, informative and fun to meet and learn from. I also enjoyed getting to know this colleague so much better. Relationship building is something I value tremendously.
I continued my practice of prayer and even more and more as this world needs so much positivity. I find that getting centered each day is the way to go and have learned this practice many years ago. What a valuable skill this has become.
Finding light through darkness is a skill that I am grateful to have developed solidly. Life had worst challenges than this pandemic that's for sure, so this was on the "easy" side for me. I can control a good part of this challenge by "staying safe". I find the poltiical unrest far more oppressive and the lack of good journalism a disaster, so my previous love for media is now fading away.
I have used social media in a more meaningful way. I use it for both personal and professional reasons but truthfully my focus is professional. I am not content with what people post and the judgmental nature of such posts. "Friends" like that are not who I want to engage with and so I have had to find ways to disengage from negativity and hate on such platforms while valuing what it does for my business wise and seeing personal friends and their families. Love that!
I have found that clients who weren't as familiar with working from home arrangements and doing things differently being forced to has allowed them to grow in many ways. Stop and think about it, are there cost savings to such changes? Can we reduce office space and costs related? Can we slow the pace down for our employees, especially those who have to build in big commute times? Don't try to get your "normal" back. Try to grow and change from this important lesson. Work smarter NOT harder and let's just be flexible about it all. My consulting support is about managing change, culture and sustainability over time. Take the time to make changes for the long run.
Since I always had a home office, I was well set up for this change. I enjoy working from home and get so much accomplished. I also have found balance and know how to "end" my days as well. After doing this so long, you learn that skill quite well. On the other hand, I will respond to a client any day or time as this is my passion not a job.
The Pause...what else? Time given to us, forced upon us honestly is a gift. Our society, our lifestyles have lost focus over time. We spend more time running here and there, sports, work, shopping, entertainment, you name it, our calendars were full. Honestly, do we miss that? Some of it of course. But it made me realize that OMG, I can't believe how much we needed "down time".
What else?...well we can see that life can change on a dime. I learned that many years ago with the sudden loss of my son. Not a new lesson to me but one for many others. By the way, that's an important lesson. What do you do with this lesson? You seek to live your best life. You show others how much you love them by your actions. You live each day with more intention. Hopefully you used this time to keep improving yourself, personally and professionally. I actually needed some extra time to build my online products. What a blessing this time was. I plan on trying to keep on "pause" as much as practical so that I don't lose the peace that I found in having more time to "just be".
There are blessings in every situation in our lives. This isn't everything but some key blessings/silverlinings that I found immediately. I pray that all of you can find the silverlinings. Nothing we encounter is not intended for the greater good. I am truly convinced of that.
Live by Faith, One Day at a Time!