6th May 2020

Covid19 – Making a negative situation positive, my personal approach

It has been 6 weeks of lockdown, economic apocalypse, and the world’s worst global humanitarian crisis in recent history.

Rather than struggling through this period, or perhaps ending up in an existential crisis myself, I decided to make every day count. It is sad, perhaps even upsetting, to think that this extreme crisis has been what it takes for people like me to look at their lives and assess, but that seems to be the reality.

I obviously wish that this virus had not appeared on our doorsteps; it has been truly awful for so many people, although as humans we need to react and take positive action. There are so many ‘from adversity…’ quotes that could be fitting in this situation; however, overcoming adversity is what defines us as humans. We rise to challenges and overcome them.

Like so many people, I wanted to use the extra time I had been given for positive personal change, and not to waste the opportunity. So far, so good – not only have I grown personally from the challenges put in front of me, I have learned a huge amount about myself, what I am capable of achieving and, most of all, what makes me happy.

This short blog on my personal feelings/findings originated as notes on my phone, used as a much-needed cathartic measure, and as some sort of support structure for me to use as positive energy – almost a guide for myself to keep going. I am a determined person and I knew I could make this situation positive for myself, and for the company I lead. Fortunately, I have always liked and embraced change; without change, there is no way to improve or develop. One of our organisation’s behavioural values is agility, and so the teams I work with are used to new ideas being implemented quickly and with a forward-thinking approach.

I run a global executive recruitment and consulting business, and this crisis has negatively affected our balance sheet just like most other companies, both in the immediate term and potentially with longer lasting effects yet to be seen. My business goals have been clear since the beginning of this crisis; to make sure I protect all of our jobs, to ensure everyone stays healthy in every way possible, and to be ready for the bounce-back.

 

Below are a few of the personal changes that have been blessed on us due to this crisis. They have really turned this situation from a potentially dangerous one for my mental, physical and economic wellbeing into a positive one on all fronts.

All the below have come about from one key component – TIME. We have been given extra time, a rare gift that has allowed us to take a moment for ourselves, and I am extremely grateful for it.

 

The positive changes I have seen in my life are below.

  • Togetherness – both from a family and work perspective it has made us appreciate each other a little more.
    • Work – this crisis has allowed for our teams across the UK, Europe and US to form new bonds, and to work as a much stronger unit than before the crisis. We are all helping each other and we are all getting to know each other in a more personal way. It has been amazing to witness and it will really benefit the business when we shift towards the new normal.
    • Personal – my family are happier, more together and more functional than ever before. It has led to a newfound appreciation for each other, and what we have.
    • My Community – From clapping for the NHS every Thursday at 8pm, through to supporting the elderly and people self-isolating, my local community has come together.

 

  • My Health – I have much more time to exercise, meditate and just breathe. This has led to much healthier mental well-being and a feeling of happiness. I am also sleeping more, drinking less alcohol and now I realise how much I really needed rest and time to recharge.

 

  • My Wife & Daughter – I now spend exponentially more time with my wife and 10-month-old daughter. I got to see her crawl for the first time, one moment I would have almost certainly missed if not for the current pandemic. This is priceless, and when I look back on this period, I will always be grateful.

 

  • My Father – recently diagnosed with cancer. He had an operation shortly before the lockdown. There are positives and negatives for him during this lockdown but he himself has seen changes. He has had time to recover from the operation, appreciates what he has more of, and is focused on living life and getting well. He has changed, not only due to the diagnosis, but due to this crisis giving us all time to talk more and appreciate each other, albeit via video. I talk to them more now than I did pre-pandemic.

 

  • My Productivity – an increase in my mental and physical wellbeing has led to an exponential increase in my productivity. I can work for much longer periods of time now, focused and driven on supporting my employees through this challenging period together. My motivation has always been high, but the combination of the current business challenges and my ability to think more clearly has led to a level of enjoyment that I have not felt for quite some time.

 

  • Appreciation & Pride – I have always been proud to be British, and proud of the values our country tries to live by. Now more than ever, I have seen and been part of a very proud nation, thankful for all of the work the NHS and key workers have done to protect and support us. My brother is an NHS doctor, my sister in law an NHS pharmacist, and my wife a scientist – I am very thankful for them all.

 

  • Old Habits – they say they die hard, but I am not so sure. Once we begin to filter back to an office environment with our daily commute reintroduced and time taken away from us once more, I am quite sure I will have a different routine from the one I knew before.

I expect I will look back on this period as one of the most challenging, scary, sometimes upsetting, almost always grateful and ultimately rewarding times.

Hindsight in this instance will truly be 2020 – (no reference to the Bernie Sanders campaign…)

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