By Sid Madge, Meee
I don’t know about you, but I’m over Covid. I distinctly remember hearing about some unknown virus in China 16 months ago. It never occurred to me at the time that it would up-end all our lives.
I’m a great believer in ‘micro-moments’, the ability to change our life in any moment and how to use these tiny manageable interventions to gain positive momentum – even when things are challenging. I’ve written three Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work.
And I’ve applied the same idea here – only this time I’m up-ending Covid and turning the name of the virus into a handy acronym so that we can re-shape this year to be the best year ever.
C = Create a better situation for yourself and others
The pandemic itself has been a nightmare. But it has brought some stillness and reflection into many of our lives. Forced, at least temporarily to exit the hamster wheel of our busy lives we have been given a unique opportunity to stop, breathe and ponder our lives. And that stillness seems to have created a real desire for change. According to a YouGov poll only 8% of Britons want to go back to life as it was before the pandemic.
What’s shifted is that many of us have come to appreciate, perhaps for the first time in many years what’s really important. And it’s not been what we thought it was. Primarily that reconnection to what’s important has come from extended periods at home with family but it is also encouraging us to consider what life is going to be like after. C is an invitation to create something new or better. Something that works for all the parts of your life. Take a minute to consider your current situation. Imagine the pandemic is a distant memory – what is your ideal life like now? Forget about bold dreams and grand gestures, focus on the little things, the insights you’ve learned in this stillness about what makes you happy – go after more of that.
O = Optimism is opportunity
Are you a glass half-empty or glass-half full sort of person? Most of us believe we are one or the other and yet science has proven that actually we operate across a range that is impacted a little by genetics but mainly our environment and our mindset. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology suggests that pessimism is largely learned. Which mean it can be unlearned. The key is through what he called ‘explanatory style’. This is the way we draw meaning from events and situations that we face. Those with learned helplessness, i.e., uber pessimism tend to see things as personal, pervasive and permanent. In other words, when things go wrong it’s their fault and will ‘infect’ all other areas of their life. So, a lost job will spell doom for a relationship and lead to ill health – that sort of thing. Also, whatever is wrong or challenging is permanent.
Nothing is permanent not even Covid. Flip the switch for a while. See every challenge as beyond your control, that is certainly true of Covid. That’s not to say you avoid responsibility, we all still need to do our bit and stay safe. If things are challenging in one part of your life, don’t allow that upset to seep into other areas. Instead, be grateful for all the things that are still working and still going well. When we nudge our way to the optimistic end of our range, we will see more opportunity and feel better.
V = Values will keep you focused on what’s important.
Everything we do can be explained by our values. Our actions and behaviour are usually a living expression of those values. Do you know what your values are?
When I worked in the world of branding, we used to help organisations get clear on what their values were so they could understand the impact they were having on the business, behaviour, recruitment and culture.
When I started the Meee Programme I created something similar – a set of 56 values cards. We ask participants to look through the cards and pick five values that resonate with them or that they want to demonstrate in their life. Take a minute to visit the Meee website (www.meee.global) and take part in the values exercise – this will help you to identify what your values are. What’s most important to you in your life? Money? Family? Kindness? Honesty? What do you stand for? What are your ethics or code of conduct? Can you see evidence of these values in your life? For example, if you believe you value kindness, when did you last demonstrate kindness? If you really want to know what you value look at what you do. Use your values to keep you focused on what’s really important.
I = Involve those that need your help, love, support and leadership.
Humans are social creatures. This is a huge part of why Covid has been such a nightmare for so many. The threat of the illness itself is almost secondary to the loss of contact with those we love. No hugs, no meeting for a coffee or a couple of beers. But we can still get involved and stay connected. Maybe slip a note through a neighbour’s door to make sure they are OK. Can you do some shopping for someone who needs a little extra help? Pick up the phone and actually make a call. No WhatsApp or Instagram comment. Just call them. Have a chat. The Samaritans have been promoting a brilliant idea – Brew Monday. Instead of Blue Monday they suggest making a brew and calling someone for a natter. Just reach out, get involved. We might not be able to do all the things we used to do yet but we can still talk and stay connected.
D = Dial down the stress – this too shall pass.
Be gentle with yourself. Get out into nature if possible, eat well and do some exercise. Taking some exercise regularly will help dissipate any stress you may be feeling. You might want to give yoga or mediation a try. You’ll be able to find plenty of free resources if you look online.
With these actions you can C.O.V.I.D out of Covid.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.
To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.
Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.