New opportunities. Greater joy. Deepening relationships and community. These are three ways my clients and friends have experienced the past two plus years since Covid entered our lives. Are you surprised?
We’ve heard a lot about the negative impacts Covid has had, and there are plenty to be sure. We’ve all experienced them. The worst of these has been losing family and friends, a business or job, or a sense of stability and security, and the deep grieving and shifting that demanded of us.
And like the proverbial coin with two sides, we’ve also learned to navigate new territory and grown new strengths and skills. Now, we are emerging into a changed world.
The pandemic put a magnifying glass on what matters to us, both collectively and individually. Each one of us was called upon to reflect on our priorities and make changes to accommodate them. Some of us made huge changes, others small ones. Regardless, we were all impacted. How we engaged this powerful force — how we responded to the loss and embraced the learning — was up to us.
Here are a few examples of how my connections took it on:
Mary Westheimer shared: “I still don’t want to shake hands. I do, but then I make sure not to touch my face and go wash them as soon as I can. I am making a point to be with people I care about both personally and professionally, and am focusing on building community. Community and connection are the antidote to fear and hate.”
Lisa Jane Vargas shared: “I joined a business coaching firm, Assured Strategy, and am also teaching more yoga. Life is good!”
Jenn Duff shared: “I’ve found that when I let go of what my saboteurs are saying (which she identified through the mental fitness coaching/training I offer), I have more capacity for joy and love in my life. And life is so much less complicated without judgments for myself and others! I tend to complicate matters. Doing my PQs (mental fitness exercises) has taught me how to unwind and find calm in presence.”
What have you experienced? What have you learned? What are you looking forward to?
Prior to the pandemic, my business was flourishing. My weeks and months were full of travel to present workshops on speaking and storytelling, fronting a big band, and coaching clients in person at an executive suite. When Covid hit, all that stopped. No more travel. No more big band performances. No more in-person coaching. Almost everything came to a screeching halt. I was able to transition some of my coaching and training programs to this new miraculous thing called Zoom! We started to do performances on Zoom as well. But, as you well know, we were all just flying by the seat of our pants for a while.
While I have been able to weather the storm, as a speech coach and trainer, a lot of my income depends on speaking to groups, so something like a full blown pandemic is going to have an impact. So, in addition to coaching and training in presentation skills and authentic leadership by Zoom, I spent my time getting an ACC credential from the International Coach Federation, obtaining a certification in mental fitness coaching from Positive Intelligence, and coaching staff in humanitarian organizations throughout the world through the Humanitarian Coaching Network. As a Phoenix Sister Cities Grenoble, France committee member, my friend and jazz pianist Pam Morita and I performed virtually to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau and Bastille Day!
On the other hand, I experienced more than one day of great heartbreak, had times of sadness and loneliness, and wondered how we would get through this. And, as my mother often said, this too shall pass. I would remind myself of that simple yet profound wisdom, and do my self-care (I hope you have a self-care program, too!).
Covid introduced us to so many changes. I’ve noticed most people are much more comfortable working virtually (which also allows us to work with people practically anywhere without having to fly!), or at least tolerate it. The distinctions between work and home life have blurred — we get to see into each other’s living spaces. Casual Friday has become “casual every day.” Getting into business attire for a meeting is no longer the norm at all times. I do like to get dressed up sometimes, and get tired of wearing the same casual clothes over and over again. I don’t miss the high heels, though!
Now that we’re no longer shut down, sitting or standing six feet apart, or fighting for toilet paper, it seems we’re past the worst of it. It feels right to take a moment to reflect on what doesn’t change — our human vulnerability and our deep capacity for love and connection. We are all together in this thing called life. At our core, we need each other.
Whatever you might have experienced during these past couple of years, I hope that when you applied the pandemic magnifying glass, you saw that your life matters. The way we show up matters, more than we know. We are powerful beings who make a difference with every breath and every choice.
At heart, I am an idealist, and I know there is a gift or opportunity hidden in all things. It can just take some time and effort to find it. If I can support you to find that gift or opportunity, I would love to. I can be reached at Andrea@AndreaBeaulieu.com.
Be well, my friends.