Fear, uncertainty, and discomfort are your compasses toward growth. We must let go of the life that we had planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
Has there been something inside of you that’s ready for a disruption or change? Maybe not a huge one, but a tweak to what you’re doing that will cause a ripple effect in everything else in your life? Well, you just got your chance.
When the pandemic hit, most of us weren’t ready for it. In fact, when I realized how serious it was, I was in New York cheering on Xavier University at the Big East Tournament. Within four days, everything changed. I started working from home every day. My husband who travels for his job was not going anywhere. Our son, who was a manager on the XU basketball team, came back home to finish his senior year of classes, with no NCAA tournament travel in the future. Our other son chose to stay at his home in Columbus and work from there.
In the beginning, I was really busy and emotional, trying to figure out how my family was going to do this and praying that none of my family and friends would get sick. I also worried about my colleagues’ well-being and wondered how our company was going to do this. How could we keep the ship afloat, everyone busy, and all of our clients happy in a remote-work environment? There were lots of calls and meetings (some tears and headaches on my part) but we all realized that there was no way to plan for this 100%. We’ve had to accept that things are rapidly changing. We’ve had to continue to pivot and shift our focus to meet the needs of our families and, from a work perspective, the needs of our team and clients.
Now that we’re all in our groove, it’s time to change it up again. I didn’t set a goal to lose weight, get in shape, rearrange all of my furniture, clean up every file in my computer, or plan exotic trips in the future. Instead, I’ve spent time reflecting, and I’m working on what’s next. And in the process, I’ve become more self-aware.
For starters, I’m embracing my fear. I’m afraid, but I refuse to let it own me. I’ve gotten closer to my family and realized that, in the past, I’ve spent so much time focusing on work. Moving forward, I want to focus more on my family. While the work is an important part of my life and I take joy in it, I also love having this extra time with my family. My goal is to find a new work-life balance that will work as I move forward. But for it to be successful, I can’t be so hard on myself with unrealistic expectations and high standards that are hard to accomplish. So, it’s time to restart and realize I’m not perfect but that I can change things up and transform myself from this point on.
How am I going to begin this new work-life balance? My recharge really took hold when I started walking to clear my head. If I’m going to shift and pivot my own focus, now would be the time. Recently, I talked with my friend, Barbara Shuck, and shared my fear to change. She said these things to me that I hope will help all of you:
Be nice to yourself.
You’ve always been doing the best that you can and now you have the time and inclination to be open to transformation.
Working harder and longer may not suit you anymore.
What may have been a strength in the past may be a hindrance now.
Life has a way of allowing us to learn and pivot just at the right time.
And if we don’t get it all this time, we’ll find opportunities down the road to keep learning.
Barbara’s words really resonated with me. The universe has put us in a time out, whether it’s for a reason or not, and now’s the time for me to own this and transition into what’s next. I’m taking it day by day. And, I’m not forgetting what I learned during this time:
I enjoy the time with my family and we need to continue to grow together.
Working like crazy doesn’t suit me anymore.
Setting boundaries is important.
Health should be a priority.
Relationships with family and friends are golden, and we should embrace them.
Sitting quietly and listening to mother nature is a blessing so enjoy and welcome the silence.
The heroes and helpers, those essential personnel, should not be taken for granted.
Flexibility is crucial.
Uncertainty is okay and helps us grow.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you done any reflecting? What have you done to own your experience through all of this? Have you pivoted and shifted your focus at work or at home? Please reach out and let me know.
SMPS President Melissa Lutz, FSMPS, CPSM, is principal of Champlin Architecture in Ohio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.