How do we lead through uncertainty for the long haul ahead in these uncertain times? The good news is that we are all well equipped to find out!
The work ahead for our businesses, local and global, seems massive. The truth is of course that things were never entirely stable for anyone before this, as things are constantly in flux, changing moment to moment, now this pandemic but there is hope in the human operating system. We all have access to it.
2020 has been a tough and difficult year, even if 2020 has felt a bit gap year for you so far, it could be very challenging moving forward!
I thought we were doing ok until I lost it and kicked a cockerel in our garden on a break from working from home! To be fair he was going for me, but I kicked him so hard he did a double back flip in the air and didn't come back with his normal kung fu moves he boasts most mornings… (he got the message, I think… And so, did I…) I was glad I wasn't snapping at a client, colleague or anyone else! The emotional rollercoaster can for some of us feel quite difficult, stressful AND demanding.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has seemingly affected nearly all businesses and led to an adverse effect on the economy & mental health of people around us. A rise in anxiety, stress, depression. Some say we are seeing the tip of the iceberg in a mental health crisis. As an ex-mental health professional, I can see why. The fear, uncertainty and the COVID-19 crisis.
Many organisations are making tough decisions and 650,000 jobs have been cut in the UK alone over the last few months and many that are currently furloughed will not return. We are still living through the economic impacts of this pandemic and we will not know the full effects until financial support schemes end however unemployment has doubled since March and many jobs are unlikely to return. Some firms will disappear.
Half a million companies in the UK report “significant distress’ and a quarter of businesses are temporarily closed. Many big names in aviation, motor car, travel, retail and distribution industries have all announced redundancies. Business industry federations, like the CBI warn “this just being the beginning”. Most of us have been or will be impacted in some way shape or form. The economic impact is obviously huge but what about the personal impacts? Some seem wholly positive, perhaps you’re someone that has enjoyed the benefits of less work or increased working from home but some seem less than positive.
The last month has felt shocking. A friend had a ‘breakdown’ and was detained under the mental health act, other friends admitted they have contemplated suicide lately. I know of two that have actually committed suicide (one a promising high potential 31 year old, one a 51 year old businessman) and these are just the one’s I know about. Other friends lost their partners, families and kids to relationship breakdown during lockdown. Many are, it seems, struggling with changes.
The apparent pressures are numerous and varied. There is working from home, being furloughed, not being furloughed, home-schooling, non schooling, financial pressures, home pressures, being in lockdown with people you don’t want to be with, being locked down without people you want to be with, pandemic pressures, political pressures, career pressures, losing your job and income, being socially isolated, those working seem busier than ever with increased email traffic and endless zoom meetings before being able to deal with the workload, increased alcohol use, anguish and despair at the world and our society right now... The evidence of apparent human suffering goes on and on.
There is one thing that is reliable for the long haul, one thing that is always with us, predictable and sustainable. The human operating system. All we need is to accelerate our understanding of this and move toward eradicating human-made problems and boost innovation, productivity, creativity and wellbeing.
The good news is that we are human with the capacity for great love (and at the risk of sounding a bit like Donald Trump…), “GREAT THINGS” (great adaptation, great innovation, great creation) great joy and wellbeing.
We all have inner mental wellbeing built into our human operating system. Our psychological well-being helps us thrive and survive and have fun. However, we also have the capacity to lose sight of that and generate great suffering, for ourselves and others, through illogical thinking and creation.
Things can feel raw, personal, difficult, limited and tangible right now. It seems like we are all being called to question our lives right now, including what and how we work and how we run our companies. For the new future... toward a "new normal", whatever that may be…. What IS that anyway!? Who says what normal is!?
No two minds may think in exactly the same way but all human minds work the same way; there is a predictability behind the logic and illogic that runs through our thinking. There is a predictability to how we experience our human existence. As we see, learn and understand more about how that works we’re naturally less concerned with the detail and more aware with the ”Flow” and less likely to suffer for long with stress, anxiety, or depression. As Einstein allegedly put it “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” I have no idea whether he said that or not but the sentiment it points to is a good one.
As we gain new insights about what we are experiencing and where our experience is coming from, we free ourselves from our old thinking and some of the innocent things we do to ourselves which can result in low moods, stress and anxiety. We become more in the flow with life, grateful for how life unfolds through us, and less worried about whether what we’re feeling is fear or insecurity or joy or peace or why we are feeling a certain emotion. Who says what you are feeling is X, Y or Z anyway? This alone has the power to transform and lead us to greater connected, relationships, happier, more productive, lives.
The human operating system and our psychological wellbeing are one where what you are thinking or feeling is always changing, anyway. But how it works doesn’t change. We can unleash the powerful unlimited potential behind the human operating system in all of us. It can bring enormous peace of mind, wellbeing and contribution. It’s like having a compass, or inner GPS, navigating the way through all the stresses, uncertainty and challenges that we face in life individually, organisationally and collectively. Isn’t that useful!
It’s time we stopped looking in the wrong direction. Organisations and individuals who invest in this understanding and stop investing in coping strategies, “How To’s” and traditional old paradigm interventions and look toward a new paradigm of universal psychology and the Human Operating system can save time, money and efforts on interventions that do not last or fail to bring about sustainable lasting transformation and change and help us all through uncertain times.
It would be worthwhile to have an understanding of where our experience comes from so that employers and employees can coach and support each other. The ultimate sustainable solution is understanding that everything is a well-being and mental health issue, that experience comes FROM US… NOT situations or other people, NOT COVID 19 and pandemics. There are no hacks, how to’s or techniques for this there is simply understanding and insight.
Want to know how? Contact us for more information to continue the conversation now and discover how to truly empower your work force, colleagues and employee’s post pandemic.
Tim Gunner https://www.changeandbeyond.co.uk
August 2020 https://human-ios.com