Have you ever had a déjà vu moment?
Those moments where you are experiencing something new and yet, it seems like you have been here before?
I had one of those moments after a day of social isolation with my family where our emotions were all over the place. We had moments of laughter and connection and then moments of pure frustration trying to figure out our new normal in the midst of a global pandemic.
The feeling of déjà vu is not unique, but for me, I suddenly realized I had actually experienced a form of social isolation, distancing and unbelievable uncertainty before.
It was when my first son was born. We spent 5 months with him in the NICU and when we finally got him home, he was very medically fragile.
As any parent with a medically fragile child knows, social distancing, self-isolation and uncertainty IS the normal. You are constantly in fear of germs being brought into your home that could kill your child.
The only certainty is the uncertainty.
While being a parent in this situation is thankfully not common, we can all now likely relate to the relentless feeling of uncertainty, thanks to COVID-19.
Here is what I now know to be true:
How you experience this scary situation and how you come out the other side is completely within your control.
To claim that control takes courage, insight and a powerful drive to choose a path that leads to growth and opportunity.
For many of you, it might seem premature to start thinking about what change and normal will look like when we have tackled COVID 19.
But I believe that it’s never too soon to know what we want and to ask what we are capable of.
I believe that every crisis or moment of adversity that we face is an opportunity for us to claim who we are. Not who we are when we are reacting to crisis, but who we truly are at our core.
We must actively claim that person who has remained hidden as we morphed into identity chameleons, doing our best to fit into our organization’s culture or meet the expectations that others have of us.
I recently did a TEDx talk outlining the 4 choices to overcome adversity. As you make a choice to prioritize your wellbeing in the midst of adversity, this 10 minute talk gives you the 4 choices to consider to improve your experience and outcome.
Today, we are talking about the one choice that will give you the most leverage to come out the other side of this pandemic feeling whole. It will also create a level of safety and connection within your team that will inspire a new normal.
That choice is your identity.
You get to choose who you are going to show up to be and what you are available for.
Crisis tends to strip away any pretense.
And what we see when our pretense is stripped away is either who we are, or who we are when we are reacting to stress.
We all have spent years of our lives fine tuning who we are.
We have a window of opportunity right now that we can not let pass us by.
We have a window of opportunity to show up at work as the most authentic, humble, kind, and vulnerable leaders who inspire connection and safety.
Examples of identity show up everywhere.
Think about the last networking event you attended (when we could still gather in person)!
I’ve never met a person who loves networking. You know why most people hate it?
Because everyone is trying to be who they should be according to their position or role. The guard is so high, as we all keep our cards close to the vest and live up to the expectations of someone in our position.
Sure, we network with people, but we don’t actually connect with people in those settings.
Imagine how different these events might be if everyone had the courage to arrive as who they are at their innermost core and exude that identity in every interaction.
When I consult with organizations and coach leaders, I have the great privilege of bringing out and seeing who they truly are. In a matter of minutes I can help solve disagreements and conflict through the power of showing up as who we all are.
In other words, the path to overcome adversity, conflict and disagreement is choosing your own identity.
Identity is something we need to keep our eye on because our ego can put up our pretenses so fast that we suddenly become “the administrator”, or “the director”, or “the boss”, and miss out on being “the human”, trying to connect with others to make the world a better place.
Why does this choice matter right now?
Because our new normal when we get to the other side of this pandemic is simply another layer of uncertainty.
The new normal will mean more change.
Any change is accompanied by a feeling of loss.
Any loss is accompanied by a sense of grief.
Showing up as who you truly are is the only way to lead your team to (and through) the new normal and the associated grief that will come with it.
Your people need to see who you truly are.
So identify and trust who you are at your innermost core and know that you have everything you need to lead your team to the other side.
Do you need a personal action plan when adversity hits or bad things happen? Download this free Personal Action Plan for Overcoming Adversity based on my TEDx Talk: The Four Choices to Overcome Adversity
Carrie Koh is a TEDx speaker, consultant, executive coach and healthcare executive with a passion for enhancing the way we communicate with one another to ensure efficient and innovative results with greater fulfillment along the way. She is the leading authority on cultivating resiliency and teaching high performing leaders to overcome obstacles to lead teams through uncertainty. She would love to connect at www.carriekoh.com