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Funny the Difference a Week Can Make..!

It's been a strange few weeks, and I've been reflecting on how I've responded to what's happening in the world, noticing my behaviour, and considering how I've been feeling.
 
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Initially, I felt quite calm and very clear about following Government guidelines - I've always been someone who goes everywhere with my hand sanitiser anyway! However, last week, I suddenly felt quite anxious. Two years ago in May I was diagnosed with Sepsis, which was treated and I made a full recovery. However, a thought suddenly became a sentence in my head, then a chapter, then a book, and before I knew it it was a full blown horror movie! Although I think I'm healthy, I suddenly worried that my immune system is perhaps not quite what I thought it was. Even if I did begin to feel unwell, I wouldn't know why for certain as you couldn't phone NHS 111 or be tested for COVID-19.

How you're feeling is a really important data source, and one at the end of January I spent time facilitating a couple of workshops about this for a client. Emotions are legitimate states, and are helpful and powerful sources of self-information even if you're someone who finds it difficult to say how you feel.

In reflecting on how I was feeling, I thought some of what I shared would be helpful to others. Because the only constant is change (and we're currently experiencing the most unprecedented changes) it's important to recognise how you're feeling, how your family feel, and, if you're a leader or manager, how your teams are feeling.
 
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Change creates uncertainty, and uncertainty creates both upsides and downsides. For example

Downsides:
• Emotional and intellectual overload
• Health and physical wellbeing
• Feeling ineffective in both our work and personal lives
• "Personal Paralysis" 

Upsides:
• Energises us and keeps us alert
• Encourages creativity and innovation
• Builds self confidence and self-reliance

Change is the external event; the shift in circumstances. It has both "start" and "stop" qualities, and can happen quickly. Remember, change and transition are not the same thing. Transition is more about the internal reactions and personal adjustments people go through in coming to terms with the initial change- something we're all doing now!  

Each one of us will experience different emotions and feelings, and no one will necessarily experience all the same emotions or feel them at the same time. There are probably thousands, if not millions of transition curves going on at this moment in time.

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As I write this, I'm listening to Boris Johnson's latest update and all the subsequent questions from the press about people not listening to Government guidance on social distancing etc. What is happening in this transition curve is the first two stages, and in some instances the third stage. What I don't believe is happening yet is stage four - commitment to new beginnings, which I hope (and believe) we can all get to!

What I mean - (c) LHH:

Stage 1 - Denial  

Denial is a defence against change. It's an inner attempt to minimise, dismiss and protect yourself from the disruption of change.  People in denial:
• Avoid the topic,
• Appear unconcerned,
• Refuse to take initiative,
• Act like nothing is happening.

Stage 2 - Resistance

The common expression of concerns or fears that come during uncertainty. People in resistance:
• Show anger and/or irritation,
• Complain and blame others,
• Become passive, exhausted or overwhelmed,
• Often become preoccupied with the change.

Stage 3 - Exploration

The active examination of possibilities of what a new situation could bring. There is energy and excitement. People in exploration:
• Experiment
• Seek new ways, take risks, and have lots of ideas,
• Create a vision of possibilities for the future,
• Accomplish intermediate tasks and celebrate goals,
• Have trouble staying focused.

I very much hope we can all work together in our personal and professional lives to move through these transition curves and get to the commitment stage as quickly as possible.

Realise we all have a part to play in this;
Aspire to do the right thing, listen to how you feel, and do what you need to do to adjust and come to terms with the changes the world is experiencing, and;
Do act responsibly and be committed to new beginnings.

 

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    It's been a strange few weeks, and I've been reflecting on how I've responded to what's happening in the world, noticing my behaviour, and considering how I've been feeling.