Reimagining work will help lead us into a new chapter and beyond.
As some states begin to loosen their guidelines, many employees now will have the ability to move from shelter-in-place back to their offices. This remobilization has been referred to by many as “re-entry.”
But we will not be entering the same workspace in the same way; we cannot remove, deny or erase the experiences that have occurred due to the coronavirus. We cannot re-enter a world that no longer operates, communicates or works in the same way. As we have replaced old habits, schedules and projects, we have given way to new advancements, many of which bring positives we should hold on to. Let us not mourn the loss of the past as we look toward re-entry; instead let’s take the opportunity to look beyond what existed and reimagine the possibilities.
Finding the silver lining: Best practices from other industries
As we look around to how others handled the abrupt transition, there are models all around us of those who seized on new opportunities to survive and thrive. They took the time to look at what people were wanting, and used that as the catalyst to reimagine how to provide those services.
For example, restaurants that could no longer invite patrons to their dining room continued with pick up or delivery, but customized the service to provide a special experience that would reflect some of the ambiance of dining in. Some restaurants sold pizza kits so you could make your pie at home; others offered specialty cocktails to accompany their dishes; and still others put together kits of ingredients and held online cooking demonstrations for chef-inspired meals.
Likewise, conferences, weddings, and other significant events that were once limited by size, venue or cost are likely to eventually offer both a physical, in-person experience, as well as a virtual option for those with health or other constraints who in the past would have missed out.
And we can take those lessons and apply them to our own life situation. However, in order to reimagine, we need to embrace self-awareness. I see this in my work with clients as they define their goals—whether overcoming emotional roadblocks or ascending to top positions in business—as they embark on this process. In our work together, we define self-awareness as the ability to recognize your own feelings, behaviors and characteristics, and to best understand how your cognitive, physical and emotional self plays into each thought, decision and interaction you have. Curiosity moves this process forward by shifting our cognitive gears out of autopilot and into manual drive.
Moving toward a state of self-awareness
Many people, especially successful individuals, might believe they are self-aware—and in many cases they are. However, in her book, Insight, organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich shares her research finding that although 95% of people think they’re self-aware, only 10 to 15% truly are.
With courage, patience and deliberate intention, self-awareness can be attained, but it’s key to take inventory with insightful questions and be non-judgmental with your authentic answers. Ask yourself: What are the values that guide you in your personal and professional life? What are your strengths, skills, vulnerabilities, interests, fears and insecurities? How does your body communicate with you past the basic cues? What are your needs, compared with your wants? How do you practice self-care?
As self-awareness grows, emotional intelligence, capacity for empathy, decision-making abilities and interpersonal skills are strengthened. As leaders, these skills are imperative to build motivated, cohesive teams who work toward a common goal. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
We have a remarkable opportunity to change what was “before.” You don’t need to re-enter what was in the past. You can hold onto what you have discovered and work to reimagine even more for yourself.
Your work REIMAGINED begins with you.
Laura Hamilton is a therapist/executive coach who has over two decades of experience providing guidance and insight that allows her clients to take real measures to look within themselves leading to greater sense of independence and self-awareness. Laura has worked in many mental health and empowerment settings within professional service organizations, in-patient programs, forensic and psychiatric hospitals and in private practice. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.