The last year’s pandemic pushed us into unforeseen situations and presented us with unprecedented challenges. It reminded us of some basic values and needs that we may have been taking for granted, such as the importance of face-to-face interactions in our professional and private lives, small freedoms we daily enjoy without noticing, the power and beauty of humanity and nature. It highlighted our interdependencies, inequalities and deprivation. A huge learning lesson packed into several months.
The ‘lost year’ as 2020 is dubbed also provided us with an opportunity to reflect on our lives, careers, direction we are pursuing, goals and aspirations. Many thought about things they had not had time to think about in the past. And for some, the challenging year was a conduit for a change.
When the first hard lockdown hit Germany in March 2020, I began working from home and have been since. A couple of months into the lockdown I began thinking how I could utilise this situation to my advantage – I concluded the best way to cope with this new reality is to evolve with it.
There is no right way to make a change, the most important thing is to make it purposeful and keep moving forward. While some changes can be small but meaningful tweaks to our lives, others can equal a larger ‘reinvention’. I took a decision to acquire additional skills that may come handy in the future, either in my job as a communication professional or outside it.
The three internationally accredited online courses I signed up for – Life Coaching, Neuro Linguistics Programming (NLP) and Nutrition – include modules with a test after completing each. You can work at your pace and there is no deadline to complete a course, only your own.
I finished the Life Coaching course a few months ago. Life Coaching is about helping people see where they are now and how to get where they want to be. A coach is no counsellor, psychologist or therapist; in fact, a coach is an enabler, a facilitator, accompanying clients on their journey to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
People can be coached on different goals they want to reach, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, getting a promotion, or simply taking their life to the next level which can come in different shapes and forms.
The most important thing is to take that decision for change. Change is hard in principle and people tend to come up with excuses why they cannot do it. But – change is 80% mindset and 20% action. This also means that we could be doing the action but without the correct mindset at the beginning we are not going to succeed to the level we want to reach.
Needless to say that all lasting changes involve some degree of change in old mindsets and habits to unleash our innate power and creativity, which in turn enables us to tap into wisdom we didn’t know we had.
Following the decision and commitment to a particular goal, it is necessary to make the goal SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely). The SMART concept is nothing new but the goal also needs to be broken down into interim goals so that the main goal does not look too overwhelming. And then individual steps can be put in process.
Change of course is not achieved overnight. Maintaining the trajectory and staying the course is not always easy and failures should not crush our spirit. Instead, it can be productive to examine failures and perceive them as something to learn from.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”Henry David Thoreau