It is Easter and this has got me thinking about a few things. Some people are getting cabin fever, they’re feeling restricted and unsure about their emotions. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or not religious at all, Easter is a cultural celebration in many countries around the world, and in many ways it’s symbolic of new life. We give each other Easter eggs made of chocolate – which are delicious and I’ll be eating a fair few of them over the weekend – and that’s a symbol of renewal. I’d like to talk about renewal and how can we think about renewal within lockdown.
In coaching, we talk about ‘the client’s agenda’. What we mean by that is if you’re coaching someone, it’s not about you as the coach, it’s not about telling them what to do – it’s about the client. I think most of us will be able to relate to that. Think of a time when you had a problem, a challenge, or something going on in your life and you told someone about it and they gave you advice. Most of the time, we’re not seeking advice. What we want is to feel understood. We just want someone to say, “I hear you, and you know what? That must be a really difficult. It must be a really tough situation”. It’s not about the advice, because when you’re in the situation, you’re emotionally entangled in it and it’s hard to see the trees through the forest. It just is. We’ve all been in those situations, where you’re so close to it emotionally, and other people are saying, ‘do this or do that’. But it just doesn’t resonate with you.
In coaching, we ask questions and we stay with the client, wherever he or she is. If he or she is in an exploratory phase, we explore with them. We don’t tell them what to do. We ask questions to provoke the client to think about moving forward.
Now, in this Easter period, I’m going to ask you about what renewal looks like in your life?
Many of you might think immediately, ‘How can I think about renewal when I’m stuck in my house? I can’t do anything. I’m struggling. I’m thinking about survival’. And that’s a really legitimate question. But even within this context, there’s opportunity to thrive.
Some people are experiencing real crisis right now, and the one part that can be on our agenda, is our own perspective – how we choose to look at the situation and how we choose to frame things. Even though we’ve got restrictions placed on us, whether in lockdown or with heavy social restrictions, we can focus on the things we can do. There’s a world of abundance of things that we actually can do. For myself, playing the piano is something that I’ve loved for a long time, but I’ve let it slide for many years. Now, I’ve been given the opportunity to renew my interest. I also want to make some electronic music. It’s something that I’ve said I’m going to do, and I haven’t. These things give me joy.
From the perspective of being useful and contributing to other people’s wellbeing, I’m using my skills as a doctor and my business skills, trying to be useful to as many people as possible, educating people; helping companies manage the situation for themselves and for their employees; and helping individuals that are struggling in isolation. That is work that I used to do in a past life, and it’s been reactivated.
So, I want to ask you, now that we’re several weeks into this period of restrictions, what does renewal look like in your life?
What would it take for you to thrive? What does surviving well look like for you and how can you come out of lockdown better than you went into it?
I’m personally focused on, from a health perspective, the PreKureME Lockdown Edition. I want to come out healthier than I went in. I was on a downward trajectory. I entered isolation, I ate a lot of chocolate – it was delicious. There was some KFC in there. My weight spiked up and I got to a point where I thought, ‘this is not sustainable, this isn’t something that I want to do’, and I took charge. I put the locus of control with me. ‘I’m not going to let this situation dictate to me what I should and shouldn’t do. I’m going to take charge and put things back on my agenda’, and from there on, I’ve been exercising, I’ve lost a few kilos and I’m feeling really great about it. And I’ve got the momentum to continue.
I know for some of you, that will be hard in your particular circumstance. You might feel isolated. You might feel alone. You might feel challenged to even think about taking charge of the situation. But I urge you ask yourself, ‘What can I do today to try to change the situation?’
There are many different support lines. There are many different people out there. There are more random connections in our communities than we’ve ever had, and random people that have never met in real life are supporting each other in online community groups. It’s so beautiful to see.
So, I’m going to leave you with this question:
What does renewal look like and what can you do to thrive?