REFRAMING 2020: Finding Light In the Darkness
When it comes to our plans, life can often have “other ideas.” That scenario has certainly been playing out in 2020 as the whole world has been turned upside down by the Coronavirus Pandemic. So often we have very specific ideas about how our lives are supposed to unfold – feeling like we have control over the situation. The virus has come along to remind us, in no uncertain terms, that we are not. In addition to putting an enormous spotlight on the value and fragility of human life, the virus has called on all of us to let go of control…to let go of the many plans, goals, “should’s”, must-have’s and must-do’s that keep us running, often at a non-stop pace. The virus has slowed us down in myriad ways, and not always in ways we think of as positive.
If you’re feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under you when it comes to this “letting go” as it relates to your career and professional ambitions, I understand, and suggest that reframing your situation – and 2020, as a whole – could be helpful.
Reframing is looking on the bright side. It’s focusing on the donut and not the hole…it’s making the best of things in these uncertain times. In a TEDX Women talk presented earlier this year, I harkened back to the disheartening, dark days I experienced shortly after leaving my career as an opera singer when I was completely at loose ends. At the time, I knew I wanted to step away from the world of professional opera, but I had no idea how I would do anything other than music. Gradually, by reframing – by looking at my career-limbo through a new lens (with the help of a lot trusted champions) – I began to see the value in the skills I’d developed as a result of my training and performance experience, and began to see how those skills could be transferred into a new, non-music-related profession. I started to focus on what I had rather than on what I’d lost.
I encourage you to focus on what you have if your professional life has downshifted more than you would have liked during this pandemic. Economic pressures may go hand in hand with these COVID days, but often, out of adversity, comes valuable insight, growth and creativity that can propel you into even better circumstances in the end. You may realize you’ve been in the wrong profession all along, or decide you’d like to go back to school. Maybe this unprecedented pause in our lives will inspire you to write or paint or flesh out an idea for a new online venture – enabling you to earn a living in a whole new and more desirable way. I can only imagine the new inventions, books, films, plays and businesses that will result from these Coronavirus days.
A number of my coaching clients have shared that they’ve been reframing what being happy or feeling “successful” really means. For many, that definition has changed in the wake of COVID-19. Priorities are shifting…new pathways are being created. If this is true for you as well, I encourage you to keep the faith and carry on as we move into the new year. COVID has been the great re-framer for so many of us.