The vacations were a precious break in a period of deep turmoil in our lives, it was like waking up from a nightmare. We went on vacation, as we always did. In the end, we were able to maintain one of our routines. Everything is going to be fine!
Now we’re back and in full swing.
We brought back from vacation the expectation that, sooner or later, everything would gradually return to normal.
We’re back in business, back in school and back to a “new normal”. But some of us have already had to return home and the threat of going back to sleep and having the same nightmare again hangs in the air. We feel some frustration at not being able to return to the reality we had before.
But being okay doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the way things were.
Do you remember how you felt when you were told, or when you realized on your own during childhood, that Santa Claus didn’t exist after all?
Or if you can’t remember the effect it had on you, can you understand the effect it has had or will have on your children? You may never have told them that this character is real, but the social network and the context in which they live every day inevitably leads them to create this expectation at some point.
And when that expectation is (or has been) disappointed, if we consider the existence of Santa Claus to be a positive idea, various feelings arise within us, with greater or lesser intensity: frustration, sadness, denial or avoidance of reality, disappointment, etc. But Santa Claus doesn’t really exist and that’s the reality.
On this subject, however, everything was fine. You were able to accept the idea that, after all, presents were bought by your relatives and that there were no flying reindeer. You’ve been through this before.
The mental process that takes place in each person is distinct and unique, like a fingerprint, and it is the sum of these processes that determines the success or failure of the transformation of organizations. Ultimately, companies can only truly transform themselves when each of their employees embraces a new reality.
And each of us has to have the tools to deal with the feelings that arise when we learn that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, or when we realize that we’re going to have to live with this pandemic for many months or even years.
Ability to accept: resisting the new reality, waiting too long to change, going into denial or simply fantasizing can only mean difficulty in accepting the new paradigm, which can lead to more complex problems such as anxiety or depression. There is no miracle formula and, in fact, it works a bit like the grieving process, which differs from person to person and also lasts for different lengths of time.
Faced with the need to adopt a new context as the “new normal”, you should try to project yourself into that context: “What will it be like if I start working from home all the time?”, “What will it be like if we stop having face-to-face team meetings so regularly?” – This projection will allow you to start building hypotheses that can be rationalized and transformed into actions.
Then it’s important to take small steps in relation to the hypotheses you’ve considered, implementing them and validating their feasibility: if it goes well, it’ll motivate you to take a few more steps; if it goes badly, the consequence shouldn’t have too much of an impact, so you don’t have to backtrack and try other hypotheses.
This will allow you to build new routines and regain confidence in the new paradigm.
Resilience: at many points in the change process, new challenges will arise, such as nostalgia, tiredness or even an inability to deal with some aspects of the new situation, and this can lead to the change process going backwards. If this is the case, it was only a good intention. How many of us haven’t started that diet, then slowed down and finally stopped, putting on even more weight than when we started?
Resilience is a skill that should be developed throughout life and instilled in young people from an early age, revealing our ability to persist and act with determination, even when setbacks arise in the plans we have drawn up for our projects. Here are some suggestions for developing this skill:
The first is a mental exercise in which you should try to identify the exact moment when your conviction is shaken, record it in your notes so that this moment materializes and takes “shape”, allowing you to deal with it. By doing this, you are becoming aware of the moments when the skill of resilience should be used.
Then try to identify some pattern in your notes or, in some way, find a possible explanation for that feeling, as this may help to resolve its origin (for example: realizing that your moments of hesitation are always related to “waking up early” and being able to modify your schedule).
Finally, when that “moment” or a similar one arises and you become aware of it, risk the discomfort (for example: faced with the temptation to turn off the alarm clock, this time you realize that that “moment” is there and you muster up the energy to get up). It will take willpower and you’ll feel like you’re going to the gym for the first time to work out that “specific muscle”.
Santa Claus doesn’t exist and your company probably won’t have a Christmas dinner this year, but remote events will be the new normal this year.
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