I definitely was not thriving, yet alone coping, in the early days of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Business was a disaster. My speaking gigs were cancelled, my development programmes indefinitely postponed and client team away days side-lined. My diary was wiped clean. Home was tricky too. My husband was called away to care for ailing parents, and we both felt lost and isolated in a socially distanced world. Old scripts bubbled up in my mind like unwelcome guests. I was alone, again. I amounted to nothing while I was doing nothing.
I turned to the research that has consumed the past three years of my life, grasping for something to break me out of this slump. I poured through my ‘9 Secrets to Thriving’ manuscript, and I started to feel calmer. My fearful response had been entirely natural, and nothing to be afraid of.
The first ‘Secret’ that dissolved my fear was that I needed to give and receive support and connection to thrive during the pandemic. My research had told me that giving support and creating connections pulls us out of discomfort and isolation and creates self-worth. I needed some of that, badly.
I wrote to all of my clients, those who have been loyal and supportive to me for many years. I offered to deliver free webinars to support their staff on how to build a resilient mindset, and learn some key self-care strategies to maintain their wellbeing during lockdown. My inbox swelled with appreciative messages, and my diary filled with opportunities to share the stories and insights of the ’50 Thrivers’ – those whom I’d interviewed as part of my research – to inspire others during this difficult time. I had a spring in my step again.
Designing the webinars sent me deep into my research, and I was reminded of how critical self-care is to thriving. I amped up my own regime by keeping a daily commitment to swim in the North Sea and to continue my meditation, journaling and exercise. I also sharpened up my sleeping routine to make sure I was fully rested and created clear boundaries between home and work.
The third ‘Secret’ that cemented my sense of thriving was finding meaning and purpose in all of this madness. I have delivered workshops and webinars online to well over 2000 people over the past four months and reading the testimonials and feedback has filled my heart with love and immense gratitude. I have seen time and again how the stories of the 50 Thrivers have inspired and their practical tips have provided much-needed hope and direction. I even had the joy of delivering a few ‘hugs’ to healthcare – aptly named sessions to those treasured medical and support staff on the front line.
Now I can say that I am thriving through the pandemic, at least most of the time. Some days I can allow myself to be thrown off balance by the dismal predictions for our economy and the fear of a second wave, with the death and disruption it will inevitably bring. In those moments I turn to another of the 9 Secrets, to ‘choose my perspective’, to focus on those aspects I can control and influence and engage my energy fully in that space. Thank you my beloved 50 Thrivers for your hard-won wisdom and the comfort of knowing I can turn to you in tough times to take the next step towards thriving.
I would love to hear if you have been thriving through the pandemic. Has it been tough? What has helped? What have you learned about yourself? Drop me an email – and let me know or post directly to our ‘Choose To Thrive’ Facebook Group.
Remember too, that you will be able to access the wisdom of the 50 Thrivers on 10 September 2020 when ‘9 Secrets to Thriving’ will be released as an Audible Original book. I recorded the main section of the book only a couple of weeks ago in a ‘Covid-secure’ studio. What an experience that was! I cried several times as I read the Thriver stories and felt hugely uplifted by the end. You can pre-order your copy here.