As the country starts to open back up and we’re starting to see a semblance of pre-pandemic normality, I’ve been reflecting on where we are mentally as a business, post lockdown three.
COVID-19 has decimated so many lives and caused so much suffering that has affected everyone. Yet from the small snippet of the world that I can see, I’ve seen a huge increase in resilience. As far as I can tell this stems from a pre-pandemic attitude of ‘the grass is always greener’. What I mean by that, and this is purely from a work perspective, is that with millennials there was an attitude that they could give up easily because there were simply so many options, opportunities or possibilities available around the next corner.
The idea that as soon as something, whether it be a job, a career, a partner, or a situation started to feel uncomfortable they could change. It seems to me that it was this attitude that bred the so-called ‘snowflake generation’ whereby it became natural to change when things became uncomfortable, rather than confronting attitudes or abilities within themselves, simply because it was easier and because there were so many choices available.
Lockdown changed this. What I found from work was that people couldn’t just quit and find a job the next day. All of a sudden there were significantly fewer choices available. Jobs that had seemed accessible suddenly weren’t anymore. So, what starts to happen is that when you’re in a situation where you back a deer as opposed to a lion into the corner, and the deer represents the instant gratification or ‘snowflake’ generation, it starts to crumble. This was prevalent across all the lockdowns as choices began to narrow significantly but everyone still had to survive.
For me, what shone through the most was that you began to see a lot more people thinking to themselves “well I don’t really have a choice here so I have to make this work”. When you don’t have a plan B or plan C to fall back on, and you’re telling yourself that you have to make this work, all at once your body goes into fight or flight response. Lockdown has made acute stress a prevailing situation across all aspects of life and the body’s natural psychological response to this is to either stay and deal with the threat, or to run away to safety. Yet there really wasn’t any safety to run to, which is one of the reasons why there has been such a decline in the nation’s mental health. The other side of this, the fight response side, through which you’re gearing your body and mind into success mode rather than giving up mode, is that people actually start to come through the painful period and out to the success period. And this is where the lion comes out swinging. So they found that they did succeed with that job, or getting that car, or survive that situation during such a difficult period that lockdown was.
The way I see it, predominantly it’s shown a lot of people how successful they actually could be. Or rather, it’s shown them how much more they have to give as a human being in certain areas. I think that’s quite incredible.
To my mind there is a renewed sense of self belief, capability and inner strength for many individuals knowing that when their back is against the wall, they can actually achieve. I know unfortunately this isn’t true for all, as some haven’t been able to go that way, which has increased mental health issues. But when people come out the other side, those people who didn’t give up and felt they absolutely had to succeed, those who went into fight or flight response, found a way through and succeeded in the end. For those people, they’ve found a renewed sense of self belief and confidence, which is something that I am seeing everyday with the people across my teams.
To survive as a business, we pivoted all of our sales teams to home-based telesales which was an uncomfortable, alien form of work for most and proved to be both difficult and isolating. Those who persevered throughout this complete upheaval of how we worked are now going into post lockdown three with a whole different mentality. They’re very positive and have additional self-belief and supplemental inner strength. Essentially, they now know that they can push a little harder and dig a little deeper, and that when they do, they have a lot more to give. That is resilience. Resilience is instrumental to a happier life because if you have strong coping mechanisms, you’re thereby able to put up with so much more which inevitably leads to a greater sense of happiness and contentment in your day to day.
Coming out of lockdown three I’ve seen nothing but positivity within my business and the people in my teams are actually achieving more now than they were pre-pandemic with these new attitudes, which can now be taken further in order to achieve more in every part of their life bringing out the lion within. And it’s all down to inner resilience.
Keep smashing it.
What I’m listening to:
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD.
- Rising Strong by Dr Brené Brown