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  • Writer's pictureJackie Booth

Life after lockdown: what does that look like for you?

Despite being in lockdown limbo for well over a year, with restrictions gradually lifting and the end in sight, these last few months have felt more surreal than at any time over the previous sixteen months.

Whether that has been due to us hitting the milestone of a year in lockdown, coping with winter months and increased restrictions, or slowly starting to regain a small piece of our freedom as everything started to ease, it’s all felt unreal.

Especially now when it comes to contemplating going back into the office and what that might look and feel like after so long away.

Some organisations are already implementing a phased return for those that want to pop in for the odd day to test the waters, and a lot of my clients are reporting mixed feelings and a mixed experience.

What about where you work?

Are you looking forward to returning to full-time or have you been considering more flexible alternatives to suit your new ways of working?

We’ve all adjusted in some way to working from home; we set up desks and a structure and routine to balance work and home life as much as possible and now it's time to think again. And that’s without even starting to contemplate your commute.

Whatever your personal opinions or desires, there is going to be a period of adjustment. I’d say it will be almost as big an adjustment as it was at the start of lockdown.

You might be worried about many seemingly small things and feeling overwhelmed about the changes and how to create a new structure and routine.

Everyone will be working out what they want post-lockdown, and for those who want to immediately rush back to resume their “old” normal, there will be plenty of others who want to take it more slowly and take time to see exactly what it will look like.

This is a great time to consider what is possible for your “new“ normal.

What would that look like in terms of your career and the leadership role you really want?

What about your current role?

If you’re not fulfilled in your role or organisation, are you dreading going back to dealing with it face to face?

If your role wasn’t the leadership role you aspire to, if it wasn’t challenging, if promotion opportunities for leadership and management aren’t available, what do you do now?

The good news is that there are a few things that you can put in place and in this blog I’m going to cover a few of the ones you can consider right now.

Making a change starts with small steps and can be achieved in small ways.

It needn’t mean a huge step away from what’s familiar, although it does require you to go outside of your comfort zone in some way which ultimately is no bad thing.

Be open to opportunities: How many times have you felt a rush of excitement about a new project you can get involved in, but then you talk yourself out if it.

In your head you think that someone else could do it better because they have more and experience or seniority, it would be too big of a step to take right now, you’re not sure that you can find the time, what will everyone else think if you put yourself forward.

Then what happens is we justify why we aren’t going for it and someone else takes it on and whether they make a good job of it or not, you always have a glimmer of regret that you didn’t go for it.

One of the best pieces of advice I read about how to approach new things is from Richard Branson; he advocates saying yes when you’re offered an opportunity and concentrate on working out the how later.

A great way to explore what’s possible is to make a list of how positive and energised you would feel if a great opportunity came up and you not only took it, but you excelled at it and enjoyed it immensely.

How would your perspective and confidence improve and what other things could actually be possible for you with a different mindset?

I’ve recently been reading a great book by Shondra Rhimes about the decision she made to say yes to every opportunity that came her way, whether that was attendance at a party, a potential collaboration, public speaking etc.

The book is called Year of Yes: How to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person and Rhimes charts the impact this had on her life and how something so simple as saying yes to things that she would probably have said no to before, was life changing.

Trust yourself: Despite the feelings of discomfort you can experience when you don’t fully know what’s next for you, it’s important to be able to rely on your gut instinct. Your intuition.

It will never lead you wrong but we get used to overruling it and then often regret it later.

If you’re anything like me, you want to be in control and organised, it’s the safer option.

That’s where the “flight or fight” theory came from. It’s there to protect you and keep you alive.

However, the freedom that comes with letting go of a little bit of control, making a decision on the spur of the moment or not making plans too far ahead, can help shift your thinking and mindset as to what is possible for you.

Get curious about yourself and get familiar with what your gut instinct and your intuition is telling you. It’s like any other muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.

Forget about the negative thoughts, get used to listening to your intuition and trusting your instincts.

Find a quiet and calm space during the day to check in with how you’re feeling, not easy I know in the middle of a busy work day, but when you get up to make a drink instead of sitting back down at your desk, while the kettle is boiling, take a few minutes to stand by a window and reflect on what emotions are present.

Once you start doing it regularly then you’ll get to know how to connect with your emotions and the next time you make a decision that makes you feel uncertain or uncomfortable, you’ll be able to hear your intuition a lot more clearly. Especially if your head is saying don’t speak up and your heart is saying, but this feels like the right thing for me right now. Tell people. Set an intention and talk about it.

The act of simply telling people you trust that you are looking for a new opportunity, want to make a change or step into a leadership role that you can excel in, will make your intentions more real and achievable.

One of the most positive things about having a coach is the fact that you have someone to talk to about what you want you want do, someone who will hold accountability for you in a constructive way without judgement.

It’s not about making mistakes, it’s about making progress; towards what matters most to you and towards your dreams and aspirations.

Relax: Reconnect to what fulfils you, what you value the most and what makes you happy.

It’s a simple thing taking time out to support your self-care, your mental and emotional health and pursuing those things that bring you joy and purpose.

Make a list of the things that you really enjoy doing, whether that’s a walk in the park, an uninterrupted hour with a book or in the bath, having the kitchen to yourself, going dancing, playing games with your children and family.

Whatever it is try and list at least 20 things that bring you joy and then consider how long it has been since you last did them. When I did this I was surprised by how much time had elapsed and it made it easy to prioritise time to do them more often in future.

Starting today: There’s never a perfect time to start moving towards what you really want for yourself. Imagine what your life would be like if you were in the leadership role or career you really wanted.

If you make a decision to start today, then in 6 months’ time you could be in a leadership role that is challenging and fulfilling and using all your skills and strengths, you could be working on projects that excite and motivate you, you could be making a difference and pushing boundaries in your field, and be further on the road towards that leadership career you really want.

How would it feel if you were working towards that now? You don’t have to wait - you can get started today.

If you want more help and advice about working out what’s next for you, then please get in touch and book a free 30 minute Clarity Call with me.

We can find out what’s holding you back and what you can do to take action today.

BW Jackie x

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