The Covid-19 pandemic has hit so many people so badly on a personal and economic level that it may seem either academic or heartless to ask such a question. But it is worth asking ourselves what good has come out of such a cataclysmic experience, because these are the lessons that will carry us forward into ways of working and being for our future.
Talking to coaching clients over the past few weeks many have already been able to draw conclusions for themselves about how they want do things differently and take decisions that reflect new ways of thinking. Here are 3 lessons clients shared with me.
Lesson 1 – Lifestyle is more important than salary. A high potential lawyer turned down a very attractive offer from a rival firm after realising he would be taking a step down in independence. He chose potentially more security, working with the high performing, supportive team with whom he gets on well, and more time to pursue activities that mean a lot to him over more money. He chose a lifestyle. The decision-making process in the middle of the crisis was brutal, but it taught him a lot about what he really values in life. His work is certainly one of those things, but it is not the only one.
Lesson 2 – Growth is vital. A client who moved jobs in the middle of this pandemic faced a number of potential obstacles: a new job in a new organisation with a new boss and new team of colleagues in a new city in a new country. She could have decided that this was all simply too much in addition to the challenges of the pandemic (she is “working from home” in her original location and can’t even get to know her new working environment). It would certainly have been easier to simply refuse the offer and stay with the known. But after several years at one organisation, where she felt she had stagnated, she was determined to learn something new, to grow and develop. Despite the disorientation of her new situation she feels more alive than she has felt for a long time.
Lesson 3 – You need to be agile and flexible. During the crisis several former sources of work dried up for one of my self-employed clients and she could no longer rely on regular work coming in. She was forced to re-think the way she acquired new work, and freely admitted that she had become very lax about marketing her services. After a thorough examination of her situation she realised that she needed new clients to survive, and was able to consider several options and begin to make a plan for following these up. It had taken a crisis to jolt her into action.
Let me know what lessons you have learned during the crisis.