We’re a few days into lockdown, but somehow I seem to be busier than ever. Those quick ‘pop by someone’s desk’ chats have become full blown telephone meetings – calls are book-ended with conversations about how we’re all feeling, the challenges we’re facing, how we are trying to comprehend the scale of a situation that is reshaping our world.
I’m trying desperately hard to be productive and to get through my to do list, so inevitably I’m feeling a little disappointed when I reach the end of the working day and I haven’t crossed through everything I wanted to do.
Lots of you might have seen that meme doing the rounds, reminding you that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while he was in quarantine #nopressure
Right now, the world is full of noise.
So many of us work in industries where the key sign of success is to be seen to deliver, deliver, deliver. Unless we are creating some kind of ‘product’ – a performance, a painting, a funding bid or a spreadsheet – we fear we are not being seen as being productive.
Now, I’m not going to downplay the seriousness of what is going on around the world right now. People are dying, and it doesn’t get much more serious than that. But for those of us fortunate enough to be safe and well, to have a roof over our heads, food in our cupboards (and toilet roll in our bathrooms), this could be an opportunity. A chance to take a breath…
Yesterday, I responded to a tweet by the fabulous leader and theatre-maker Natalie Ibu talking about this very thing. About this public health crisis as an opportunity to really listen. To listen to what the world will need when it re-emerges into the sunlight, what our employees and our leaders need, how the structure of our societies may change.
Perhaps most of all, we need to listen to ourselves. What do we need?
Natalie prompted me to recognise the pressure we are putting ourselves under, the pressure to immediately switch to finding new ways to look outwards, to engage with our audiences, customers, and beneficiaries. Switching one form of busy for another, instead of pausing to listen.
My Tweet got a bit woo-woo towards the end: “Trees may look dormant in winter when the leaves drop from their branches, but that’s because they’re taking the time to nourish their roots.”
All very Zen.
For a long time, I’ve seen myself as a facilitator, an enabler (hopefully not in a bad way!). Possibly that’s why I’ve been drawn to things like fundraising and producing. I love helping others to realise their vision. I get excited and enthused by someone talking about their big idea, and I want to help them find ways to make it happen.
I took that impulse to what is probably its logical conclusion last year, and I qualified as a coach. I wanted to properly dive into supporting people in setting their goals and envisioning ways to achieve them. I wanted to find ways to hold space for people to explore their behaviours and beliefs, or maybe just to talk.
Before this public health crisis threw everything up into the air for everyone, I’d wanted to explore ways of using my new-found coaching skills this year.
But now I find that I actually have time to properly develop my ideas – to ask what kind of support people would find most useful, to help people find new ways of thinking, and to support them to build the resilience and the tools that will help them transition into the new world we will inevitably encounter on our doorsteps.
Now, the likelihood is that we’re all going to be a bit skint over the next few weeks and months, so I thought maybe I could offer some free places, some cheap starter packages, some group sessions. I’m not sure – I’m pretty much thinking this through as I write. Bear with me.
Drop me a comment or a message and tell me what you think people need right now. Or indeed if you’re interested in hearing more about coaching for yourself.
It’s time to nourish your roots.