The answer is “of course you are”! It’s almost a rhetorical question at the moment, isn’t it?
In Australia and across the world we’re battling disruption on many fronts. As I write this, I should be packing my bags to go on our first family holiday in 18 months. However, within the last 24 hours, these plans have unravelled like a hole in a knitted jumper. Now, they are just a tangled pile of wool on the floor.
I’m not alone. There are millions of people dealing with unexpected and unwelcome events with consequences big and small.
As an optimist, I can find the silver lining in pretty much any situation. I mean, it could be worse, right?
As a dear friend reminded me some time ago, “just because others have it worse or it could have been worse, doesn’t mean what’s happened isn’t sh*t”. It’s not fair and it sucks!
In times like these, being ‘naturally positive’ can be a good thing, but there are times when it’s unhelpful. As I learnt the hard way around 10 years ago, this is especially so when we're leading others. Our “put a smile on your dial” attitude can be seen as though we don’t appreciate the gravity of the new situation. We can also come across as lacking empathy or being insensitive to how the disruption has impacted others.
On the other hand, we’ve all got important jobs to do and wallowing in our disappointment isn’t going to get them done.
So, what can you do?
Whether your 'team' is in your workplace or in your lounge room, the following 7-step conversation will help.
Pause - Don’t do anything until you’ve taken time to think (even if it’s just 30 seconds)
People - Where is everyone? How are they feeling? What does this mean for them? How am I feeling? What does it mean for me? What do we need now?
Purpose - What were we trying to achieve before we were so rudely interrupted?
Plan - Which elements are still intact and which ones have fallen apart?
Possibilities - Are there any opportunities that are available now that weren’t available before?
Priorities - What’s most important versus “worry about it later”?
Path - How can we move forward and what do we need to do next?
Today, I am at Step 2. In fact, I have given myself permission to be unapologetically disappointed, frustrated and ‘over-this-whole-COVID-thing’ ALL day.
Tomorrow, however, that will stop, because there’s still a holiday to be had, even if it’s not the one that was planned. Who knows? Maybe it will be an even better one.
Hang in there and keep calm and curious.