How do we keep our life and our work in tune when the world around us is so dissonant? The pandemic has forced us to adapt and shift in unexpected ways, and for an indefinite period of time. But have we really done so?
Yes, our work spaces and living spaces have become one and the same. Yes, we try and find relief from our stressful world in safe, social ways. And yes, we’re managing to homeschool and nurture our children while juggling a full-time job or directing a business.
We’ve managed, but sadly dissonance from clashing priorities has become commonplace. And if that’s the new normal, then we have not adapted very well.
I believe we have only reacted to the upheaval of Covid-19, and not truly adapted. I believe that many of us sit waiting. Waiting for Covid-19 to go away, for a vaccine to come out, for life to return to what it was before. Waiting for change to happen to us.
The reality is that change is not coming unless we create it.
We have to recognize that our happiness lies within us. By tuning the new realities of our life and work with our steadfast core values and purpose, we can clearly and confidently move forward. We can and will rediscover the joy that Covid-19 has sucked from our lives.
Think of it this way, imagine you hold a guitar in your hands.
Two of the six strings on the guitar represent your Core Values – non-negotiable principles that you live by. Each one represents a part of your essence and helps create the foundation of every decision you make and action you take.
The next two strings represent your Purpose. Purpose is your ‘why’, the force that gives you meaning and drives you forward. It’s your reason for getting out of bed in the morning.
The last two strings on your guitar are your life and work. They represent your professional goals, the people you care about, and your personal pursuits. If your Core Values and Purpose represent the guiding principles of your actions, these two strings represent the actual actions you take – your focus in business, time spent with family, or the skills you choose to develop.
When all six strings are in tune with each other, you create beautiful music. Soaring melodies, inspiring harmonies, happy, beautiful music.
But Covid-19 has thrown us out of tune. And when a guitar is out tune, it doesn’t matter how much we keep playing. It will never sound as good unless we make the effort to retune it.
We have to stop. We have to look at all six of our strings, and evaluate how they fit together. Realign our Purpose and Core Values with the new reality of life around us.
We have to make the change.
In my private consulting work, coaching, and mastermind groups, our leaders have retuned their guitars and are creating myriad ways to move forward happily, profitably and sustainably.
One whose Italy travel business was severely impacted by the pandemic has used this time to curate an e-commerce site of artisan Italian goods. This has allowed her to add an additional, long-term revenue stream while also helping in Italy’s recovery and revival by donating a percentage of proceeds to support charitable causes close to her heart.
A high-end, luxury linens and textiles boutique shifted to providing protective masks for her urban community while also working with individuals to create more peace and calm in their home surroundings. A necessity now that we’re spending far more time at home.
Another client, a wellness professional, hosts complimentary, virtual classes to help individuals strengthen their immunities and empower their self-care during a time that has made practicing self-care even harder. These classes have allowed her to generate business because of her giving. She did this out of a deep desire to give, not to get, but the rewards are all around.
And yet another, a product development & global sourcing entity has listened to the evolving needs of their stakeholders – clients, employees, communities, and vendors – to bring their strengths to bear to make the biggest difference for all of them.
Times like these, no matter how messy and insecure, can challenge us to bring our greatest selves. But greatness doesn’t come to those who wait, it comes to those who go after it. If we can make the effort to tune our guitar, we’ll discover that moving forward in harmony with our values and purpose may provide the greatest answers to all that we face.
“To keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn’t disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet