When people have been surviving, worried, sad, scared, rationing food – resources – money – in the middle of a crisis, home schooling children or finding a source of income, does anyone want to talk about using the time to refresh?
Words like restore, revitalize, fortify and revive to name four are all listed as definitions for refresh. They all mean to come back to life and send us in forward motion which is what survival actually takes, moving forward. If you want to take lemons and make lemonade, follow the three reflective activities and then move into action.
Step 1. Eliminate Stuckers
We all have habits, activities, beliefs, clothes, books, jobs, people, escapes – you name it – that hold us back. We know what isn’t working for us. Those unhelpful activities, behaviors, people that don’t nurture, support, express or show who we are. Let’s call them stuckers! You may say that if it was easy to get rid of what holds us back, we would have done it. Neuroscience according to David Rock of the Neuroleadership Institute tells us that our brain has limited will power. No one can eliminate a long-standing block by using will power. There needs to be a context that has the power to sustain. The key to eliminating those unhelpful parts of our life is to replace them with helpful ones. It takes changing what supports the stuckers, which are the context, environment, or systems that keep them in place. Realizing this was a game changer for me!
Step 2. Practices, Processes, Passion
Take an inventory of the past, the practices and processes of your life and work and notice what you did or still do with caring, meaning and passion. Neuroscience again tells us that we need emotion to not only remember but also to motivate. Without a little hit of emotion, we don’t find direction or remember important times or activities. So, what practices give us joy and how can we get more of those practices? Remember, we are talking about refreshing and reviving.
Step 3. Short- and Long-Term Strategy
When under stress, our brain and body pull back to someplace safe. Consequently, this crisis may have us heading to the refrigerator for comfort food, having a few too many glasses of wine or panicking and in general struggling to get any kind of control over the future. We may set goals then resist meeting them. According to research at Case Western University, being too goal-oriented shuts down the brain networks for creativity and we certainly need creativity during this time. I suggest we have both a short-and long-term strategy. Short term because we do need structure to eliminate what isn’t working as in step 1 or as in step 2 take the time to reflect on what has meaning and passion for us. Long term we need a strategy to keep us focused and moving toward where we find joy and support for who we are. It is more about being vision driven than goal driven.