For Women, By Women
How to show up when you are feeling just plain lost
1st for Women Insurance recently spoke to Lori Milner, TedX speaker, coach, author, trainer and self-leadership expert. Lori shares advice and guidance for women on navigating their way through this unprecedented time. She starts by looking at how we equate our self-worth with the roles we play.
We all wear many hats – the parent hat, friend hat, work hat, child hat, etc. most of us identify strongest with our work hat because this takes up most of the day to day actions. We spend most of our time at work and therefore this shapes us greatly. If I ask you to tell me about yourself, you will probably answer ‘I’m a marketing manager, I’m an Executive, a PA, Sales Manager, etc. but what happens when this has been taken away from you or the role has shifted dramatically. Some people have completely lost their jobs during this time or their roles have been shifted to online and made them feel obsolete. For some people, like coaches or trainers, the transition is pretty smooth. But if your job was face to face or required you to be in a physical location to operate, your whole world has been rocked upside down.
This is a temporary time but a reality to work through nonetheless. If this affects you or perhaps someone close to you – I want to share some tools to reframe your thinking about this. If you are feeling lost, stuck and unsure of how to move forward during the transition- here are some thoughts:
Connect to other areas of yourself
If your identity in your work role has been taken away – then where else can you look to? Perhaps your role as a spouse, sibling, parent, friend or care giver. It is very easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what is missing or lacking but when this happens force yourself to pivot your mind to where else you are a contribution and that you matter. Can you assist your kids with homework or just being a support to them? Can you check in daily with a friend who is isolated and be their support system? It is not about ignoring the situation but realising you are not your work alone and you can find great satisfaction and meaning in the other roles you play.
Use a question to change focus
Tony Robbins suggests that when you start to feel lost or down – immediately shift this train of thought with a better question. Instead of ‘How come this always happens to me?’ replace it with ‘What is this here to teach me or what can I learn from this?’ Or remove the focus off yourself completely and ask ‘How can I be a better parent today, how can I be a better friend today?’ When you derive value and worth from looking beyond yourself, you will naturally shift how you feel about yourself.
Remind yourself that your self-worth is not tied to your achievements
This is a tough one. For most of us, it is the default way to assess ourselves. In this time, whether you are still working your traditional role or not – you may just not be able to achieve the same outputs due to circumstance. The solution – accept yourself unconditionally and have compassion towards yourself. Know that this is a period in time and it will pass. Write a list of previous accomplishments or simply a gratitude list to remind you of what you do have and what you are capable of.
How can I repurpose my skills?
Perhaps you lost your job as a caterer or chef. You haven’t lost your skill set or the ability to do the task at hand. So ask yourself – how can I repurpose these skills? Anyone can become a thought leader thanks to YouTube; LinkedIn and blog sites like WordPress. You don’t need fancy equipment plus everyone is in the same boat and aren’t expecting a flawlessly edited video. Why not start a cooking channel on YouTube for parents and kids to do together? Write a blog about your best cooking tips? Maybe knitting is your absolute passion that you can share with people? Perhaps you are in the fitness industry – start a channel on teaching people exercise routines? Write about what you love – share your knowledge. You can charge a small amount for people to access the content or you can just share it to be a contribution and value add at this time.
What would I tell my best friend to do?
This tool has been my greatest weapon against my own mind. If you don’t manage your mind, it will manage you. It is very easy to let your thinking spiral out of control when you start imagining the worst case scenarios. My way to ground myself is to journal about ‘What would I tell my best friend to do’. I literally write a letter to myself giving myself the advice as if I was my best friend. The reason this works so well is because you insert a distance between yourself and the situation. You can look objectively at the situation and therefore think clearly in fact and not get sucked into the drama. Write completely in stream of consciousness – don’t ‘overthink’ what you want to say. Write without stopping for at least 2 pages. Then go back and reread the letter. You will find that you have all the answers you need inside you.
Create a morning routine filled with personal development
Wake up one hour earlier and use that time for personal growth and development. This can be for meditation, reading, studying or even watching a YouTube video on something related to your craft – not cat videos! This is a crucial time to take this seriously because when you can’t control the outside circumstances like being able to do your daily work – you can still choose where to spend your time productively. Read non-fiction books or biographies to learn from other people’s journeys and how they coped with adversity. When you discover they too experienced hardships and failures but still persevered to success, it gives you the inspiration to push through. Ask yourself – who do I want to become through this time? How do I want to emerge back into the ‘real world’ when the time comes? If you feel lost in your situation, do what you can to gain clarity.
What skills can I work on developing now?
If technology scares you or intimidates you, now is the time to become friends with it. So definitely get comfortable with the online platforms. But also – having a tool like YouTube gives you access to any skill in the world. Maybe you want to start Chess, cooking, yoga, public speaking – whatever it is you want to improve on, it’s there. The good news is even 20 minutes a day can go a long way to learning a new skill. Schedule in your 20 minute learning slot – you can do longer if available to you. But at least you are taking your power back by boosting your skill set and igniting the love of learning again.
What have you always wanted to do but have been ‘too busy’ for?
If your regular work requirements have been turned outside down – ask yourself – what have I always wanted to do but I used busyness as an excuse? Maybe a craft like baking, painting, gardening, writing, that old guitar that’s been stashed away for ages? If you feel depleted by the work situation, what can you do to energise yourself and tap into a creative outlet? Maybe you have a skill you can teach others during this time that is completely unrelated to your traditional work?
Perhaps you are an excellent writer – can you reach out to clients to assist with proposal writing or scripts for online videos? What skill do you have that you probably never thought about monetising because it wasn’t you ‘real’ job. In times like this, you need to get creative and really dig deep about how you can repurpose your life right now.
I am by no means minimising the devastation that is caused financially, emotionally and mentally by this epidemic. I am merely trying to provide a new perspective and tools to help people through this challenging time. So I hope I have been of service to you and request that you send this onto someone who really could use with some inspiration and hope.
Here’s to all of us,