Let’s Talk About…Being OK


When thrown into chaos, notice the positive and make the big picture smaller, offers Davina Greene.

“Hi, my name is X. I come from Y. I work as Z”. How quickly we identify ourselves by our work and, consequently, how quickly people will have felt lost in recent weeks when their job has evaporated, been paused, or even just deemed “non-essential”. It seems we didn’t have to wait for the robots to show us who’s important: we have been reminded with a huge jolt that access to proper food and maintenance of health eclipse everything else. Basically, the same things that have been important since the beginning of time. This is a tough lesson for many people and industries.

As frequent readers will know, I tend to break behaviours down into five headings: Resilience, Humanity, Communication, Perspective and Responsibility. They’re very relevant at a time like this.

Right now, we’re learning a lot about Resilience, our own or others’. Many are experiencing the ‘grief’ of loss of a work routine and/or pay – that’s completely natural. Others are charging through this without batting an eyelid, holdings others up (or frustrating them immensely with their calm!). We’re seeing wonderful displays of Humanity: the offering of help is growing and deepening communities. In work communities, staff who were given some leeway to adjust, rather than being beaten down by talk of ‘continued need to hit targets’ have quickly – and healthily – found their feet again.

Communication is proving vital. If you are still working, consider how to bridge isolation, especially for more extroverted staff who get their energy from having colleagues all around them. Tools like Zoom, Teams and Skype create opportunities for connection – let those pets, kids, pyjamas, and imminent hair disasters play a role in adding fun and length to the conversation. Use those same tools if not working; it’s amazing how quickly a person can slip into despair, so keep in touch.

Maintain Perspective: the economy is man-made, it can be fixed, but you can’t take on that worry alone. No, your employer didn’t know a global pandemic was about to hit so, yes, maybe you’ve had a muddled few weeks, but let it go. Manage the size of your world: Is your problem a ‘maybe’ or a fact? Is it your problem or a global problem? Don’t worry about solving what isn’t yours to solve.

Be Responsible for following medical guidelines so that this period ends as soon as it realistically can. And for keeping your own head above water: keep at least bits of your usual routine, stop for lunch and breaks, get some air… We all joke at times that we wish the treadmill of life would stop – well, now it has, so use that.

That said, during this pandemic event people have felt overwhelmed by Life Coaches (and celebrities who stick their toes in those same waters): the pressure of the online quotes and grandiose statements about the endless life-changes that should be tackled RIGHT NOW, the endless calls-to-action in the Learning and Personal Growth space. You know, not every quote is for you, just like not every product marketed online is aimed at you – there is no obligation whatsoever to “do all the quotes/motivational musings on the internet”! Be responsible about closing down your social media for a while…stop being a ‘good little follower’ and start actively ignoring whoever you need to. That’s responsibility, resilience and humanity rolled all into one!

Lots of people ‘avoid’ life and reality through Work and Consumption, maybe even you. For many of those people, that ability has now been stripped away, or severely impeded. That’s no small adjustment. Let people find their “OK”, and make sure you prioritise finding yours.

Change requires some of the old and a lot of new. Stop, look around, breath…then calmly adapt.