Will we go back to normal in 2023? Well, to say that we've all been through the wringer would be an understatement. Who would've thought, back in 2019, that we were about to live through a global pandemic that would change everything? It's almost been three years...
Some things have gone back to normal, sure. But there are so many more that will never go back to how they were in the "pre-pandemic" time. I've heard it called the Great Pause, which I think is a great way to put it.
Now, whether you're in the corporate world, in management, sales, service, whether you're self-employed or unemployed, there's no way your life has not been affected in a significant way by the pandemic. In fact, I'm willing to bet that some of you have had your professional lives turned completely upside down, and that you may even still be waiting for your feet to land firmly back on the ground.
Well, unfortunately, that ground is not there anymore, not the way that it was. I know we're all tired of hearing about the new normal, but that's what I mean when I say that this old solid ground you're waiting for isn't coming back. "Once everything goes back to normal". How long have we been saying that now? There has been some fundamental changes to the way we do business on all levels.
How about a quick image review of some of the way our careers may have been disrupted?
A lot of industries had to completely close.
And then reopen.
Then they closed again.
And closed again.
And reopened... But at what cost?
We started bathing in hand sanitizer.
Some of us had more alcohol on the outside of our body than on the inside!
We became full-time cleaners.
Directional stickers that somehow, most people completely ignored...
..to the horror of Ms. Bolton, who started a fight at the grocery store in aisle three.
Short staff. Oh no, did I say short staff? I mean shortage of staff. There's nothing wrong with short people. They're just concentrated awesome. Shortage of staff everywhere. Looking for help.
Of course, we remember the big toilet paper rush of 2020 too...
And we had to do all of this without breathing. Breathing's overrated anyway, right?
And then when we were closed, we had to learn how to face the online world, right?
Your living room became a public place, and you had to reorganize your whole space.
You saw some weird stuff, because I guess some people didn't know you could see them on Zoom.
You saw some very bad camera angles.
You heard some stuff you shouldn't have.
You had to become a professional DJ to try to figure out the lag with Zoom, and how to mute and unmute yourself.
With everything that we've been through, I bet that at some point, your confidence may have wavered. And although the "old" normal is not going to come back, what can come back is what's inside you. Your confidence. The way that you are able to face everything. Let's think about the inside instead of the external things that we cannot control.
These funny examples were just a silly way to illustrate 2020 to 2022. Of course, the list also includes supply chain issues, staff jumping ship and never returning, inflation, making overheads impossible, barely being able to pay the employees, lockdowns, lockdowns and more lockdowns killing the bottom line... Pivoting as well. Isn't that a fun new word that we all hate by now? We've all been pivoting so hard that we don't know which way is forward anymore. Not to mention moving parts of or entire operations online, working from home in less than ideal conditions, and dealing with all the personal problems that occur from it. The list goes on and on and many businesses did not make it. Even some decades old establishments crumbled under the pressure of the new normal...
...But you are here. You are still here because you adapted, and all these changes may have stressed you out, which gnawed away at your confidence. Every challenge that you had to go through in your daily life, really tapped into your confidence as well. And of course there's the hardworking achievers, because that's who we are. We strive to show up every day with a smile on our face and pretend that everything is okay. "Oh yeah, the pandemic has been really good for me. I've learned so much." Well actually, maybe we're freaking out inside and our confidence has wavered.
I bet that there were many, many times when you laid awake at night worrying about if you would make it through, and how you would deal with a decreased income or less employees or what regulations would be announced the next day. There's a new hurdle for you to jump over every day.
For the most part though, we have more likely faced the worst part of it. We should look back on everything we've accomplished and say: "Wow, I have been absolutely amazing." Instead of worrying, we should look back to say: "Wow, I rock. I'm pretty awesome. I'm still here, I'm still in business or I still have a job or I still am alive, I have my health still and there is still time."
No, the old normal is not coming back. But you can come back just by looking at everything that you've been through. And now you know that yes, there's still some changes to come, because change will never stop. But you are pretty awesome and you got through it. So give yourself a big pat on the back and tell yourself: "I am awesome."
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