noun: a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
Mindset is really important. We can list off all of the negatives of being in lock down, or we can focus on the positives. We can highlight all of the problems it has and will create, or we can focus our time and energy on the opportunities that are arising.
Last year when I was suddenly put on gardening leave, I had to give myself a pep talk. I could have crawled into my cave and sat there in the dark feeling sorry for myself for June, July and August, or I could create a positive experience out of it. I was in shock, it hit me hard, so I allowed myself to indulge in my grief for 2 weeks. I then booked a ticket to South America. As someone said to me: when else in your life will you have 3 months salary and no requirement to go into work? From a period that really hurt and could have lingered, instead I have so many positive memories of the places I visited and the people I met as I decompressed.
It is ironic that less than a year later, I again find myself with an opportunity I did not see coming. When else will we have this time to pause, to stay at home, to recalibrate? When else will I have the time (or in fact make the time) to tidy every drawer in my house and sort out the garage?
We need to appreciate this opportunity that is being created by lock down and be grateful for what we have, rather than long for what we do not have.
I am not someone who tends to regret things I have and have not done. I don’t get FOMO. It is what it is, I make choices and I live with the consequences. In my head I am telling myself I should be reading more, I should be exercising more, that I have an opportunity to do things that I haven’t been prioritising. As someone who sets goals and plans ahead, I am achievement focused.
We need to make sure that we do not waste the opportunity to do things we have been putting off or those things that we have said we would do, when we had the time.
I was reading a thread on Twitter this morning about CPD opportunities. I have seen some brilliant initiatives and collaborations emerge and gain momentum in the last 3 weeks: NourishEd is a women’s collective with daily blogs on leadership identity, WeAreInBeta is a leadership community with daily discussions on problem-solving and resource sharing, coaching circles are creating a space for people to connect, reflect and grow, book clubs are popping up to discuss the books we are reading.
We need to take the time to grow personally and make the time to grow professionally during this time.
People are being really creative in how they spend their time. I am seeing amazing pictures on social media of things people are building and creating in the kitchen and in the garden.
I have also been reading lots about how to recruit and how to apply for jobs during this period in history. Networks are being mentioned a lot. I have spent a lot of time and energy in the last few years investing in my connections, building professional relationships and developing partnerships. I am a connector and a people person so it comes quite naturally.
I am excited to be creating opportunities for myself and for others during this.
We need to take control and create opportunities during this time rather than just waiting for opportunities to come to us.
As doors are opened, ideas are explored and conversations evolve, opportunities will emerge. This disruption has caused temporary chaos, but order will return. I am confident that things will look and feel differently though. Life before Covid-19 was one iteration, we are manifesting into another iteration of how our lives will be. I am reluctant to use the words normal or new normal as is there really any such thing?
With time, with space, new things will grow. These green shoots will need to be nurtured to ensure that they blossom.
The story of dolphins being seen in the Venice canals really struck me. When this is over, will the boats, the tourists and the pollution return to banish them back out to the wild? Or will we take this opportunity to reconsider how we are treating our planet?
We need to take the leap of faith and grasp these opportunities. We need to be courageous in our values. We know that 2020 will be a year that will be in future History books – the year the pandemic made the world stop, listen and change. Covid-19 is a time and a set of circumstances that make it possible for us all to do something.
Which opportunities will you appreciate, create, seize, grow from and not waste?