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Creating a New Normal

Creating a New Normal

BY Jon Sanchez

We have a choice to be swept up in the changes others are making, or to be a change-maker. Which do you choose?

There’s a familiar expression you’ve likely heard or even used: “It’s darkest just before the dawn.” The quote is attributed to a few different authors, and we’ve come to use this expression as an encouragement to keep hope alive. Dawn is coming.

In U.S. Navy SEAL training, about 90% of trainees lose hope, and they ring the brass bell that proclaims, “I quit.” Most trainees quit within the first five weeks, typically on Mondays and Tuesdays, and most often in the morning. Notice anything about those timeframes? Five weeks isn’t even halfway to completing the training. Monday and Tuesday are the farthest days from the end of the week, Friday. And morning hours are the farthest from the end of the day, which was often 11 p.m. The trainees who quit believed that the conclusion of their training was too far away. That hope was too far off.

Have you felt that way recently? That the hope for normalcy was too far off? Have you wanted to quit, or check out? Clearly, we can’t quit our families, and many of us can’t quit working. But we have wanted to quit in other ways — to give up hoping, to give up creating, and to give up leading.

Be Part of the Change

If we give up now, we’re giving up our opportunity to create change — to essentially create the future that we want. Are you going to be swept along with the changes that other leaders are making? Or are you going to look to the future and create change for your team, for your company, for yourself? Which will you choose.

What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

While some of us wonder when things will get back to normal, many of us realize that things will never be the normal that we knew. Instead, a new normal will develop: A new way of doing and conducting business online. A new way to pay. A new way to work. A new way to relate. This “Great Pause” has slowed us down. With some mindful thinking, we’re able to look around and see what was working for us, how it won’t work for us in the future, and how we can create new processes, new products, and new platforms. What of your old ways of doing things won’t work going forward? What have you noticed that you can live, and maybe even thrive, without?

Move the Finish Line

There is power in goal-setting, but there is also failure. From year to year there are varying statistics, but usually about 77% of people who make New Year’s resolutions quit after one week. I wonder what their goals were? Some goals were probably: get healthy; lose 50 pounds; get a new job. The goals were probably mostly undefined, or maybe too large. I wonder how successful they would be with a goal like: Lose 1 pound a week for a month? Or, drink eight ounces of water four out of seven days a week for one month? The key to making big achievements is setting incremental goals that get you to where you want to go. If you want to lose 50 pounds, move the finish line to five pounds every month until you get there. What changes do you want to achieve or develop? How can you break up your big plans into smaller, achievable goals?

Assess Your Operating Gauges

Much of us spent our former “normal” days burnt out and flying through life. This “Great Pause” has afforded us an opportunity to slow down and pay attention. Are we using this opportunity? I hope we are. According to TPI coach Bridget Ruiz, If we think about our mental and physical health as having gauges — green is good, yellow is caution, red is danger — then we can begin to assess where we are on the gauge. TPI uses Ruiz’s technique in coaching because if we’re able to check-in with ourselves daily, asking “where am I on that scale?” then we can take measures to get ourselves closer to green. As you read this, where are you on the gauge? What can you do to move yourself closer to green?

Your New Normal

As you think about creating change, how far away now does hope feel? Knowing that we won’t ever truly go back to normal, but we have the chance to create a new normal in many ways, how energized does that make you feel? You can make changes that propel you forward into leading the creation of the new normal. You can break down overwhelming goals into achievable goals that make a difference. And, you can assess your mental and physical gauges to keep yourself functioning at a healthy level.

Though this has been a challenging time — and still will be for many people — it is also a time of tremendous opportunity. We can be change-makers. We can build a better normal.

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