Life lessons from lockdown

Life lessons from lockdown

Phillippa Hurrell

Phillippa Hurrell
7th May 2020

Only 9% of Britons want life to return to ‘normal’ once lockdown is over. Are you in the 9% or the 91%? This period of partial isolation has provided us with space and time to reflect on our lives.

This disruption, pause, shift of day to day life provides the perfect opportunity to take stock and to purposefully design the kind of life you want to lead going forward.

How will doing this help your business? Living a life that is more perfect for you, a life that helps you thrive and that brings you energy will support your business immensely. The five sections in this article will help get you started.

1. Understand life lessons from lockdown

Take some time to think about how lockdown has impacted your life and business, identify the highs and use them to help encourage change. Ask yourself:

  • What areas of your life have improved in lockdown?
  • What does this tell you about what is important to you and what you want to do more of in the future?
  • What small changes can you make so you get more of these benefits when life returns to ‘normal’?

Our behaviour is influenced by the environment we are in. When our environment reverts back so could our choices. Although the expectation is for us to return to our ‘normal’ way of living once out of lockdown, we do not have to.

To stop this from happening, you have to become aware of old habits and behaviours. Write down what you want to change and create a plan.

Include a ‘planned intention’ statement, for example, ‘every Tuesday I will work from home’ or ‘On a Sunday night I will plan our meals for the week’ or perhaps‘ I will drop the kids off at school and immediately go for a run before I start work’.  

A study by the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up achieving this as opposed to 35% of people who just stated their intention.

Using the above, now think about what your plan is for when you come out of lockdown. 

2. Design your life dashboard: Finding a balance that will help you thrive

We often talk about work life balance, like these two elements are battling and there is only one perfect balance. The truth is balance is different for everyone, it can be more useful to think about your life as a dashboard that includes four elements.

The Positive Psychologists at Stanford University tell us that these four elements are the key to thriving in life:

  1. Relationships: All the studies on the importance of relationships show that having positive, supportive relationships are key to our happiness and our health
  2. Play: How often do you do something for pure enjoyment? Doing something not because it earns money but because it makes you happy?
  3. Work: Of course this needs to bring you money, but the more meaning and satisfaction it brings you the better
  4. Health: Both your mental and physical health is important. What we know about successful business owners and entrepreneurs is that they are typically healthy

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • On a scale of 1 -10 how would you score each element of your dashboard? It’s your own scale, a 10 is simply what success and thriving means to you.
  • Which area do you want to improve?
  • What incremental changes could you make in this part of your life?

3. Understand what helps you thrive

You are unique. The activities that help you feel and operate at your best are different to everyone else. Have you designed your life to purposefully do more of these? Imagine how it would feel if you did?

Looking back on your life, do you notice certain moments in time when you felt great, you were thriving, you were in flow (time was going quickly) and you were getting big results fairly easily?

Understand the highs:

  • Get three or four of these highs clear in your mind
  • What do these tell you about what you need so you can operate at your best?
  • What is important to you (your values)?
  • What strengths were you using?

Understand the lows:

  • Now think about a few of the lows. What was missing at this point in your business and personal life?
  • How can you avoid this going forward?

With the above insights, ask yourself:

  • What are your strengths? Are you using these now?
  • What values must you have aligned to thrive? Are you honouring these now?
  • What needs to continue?
  • What needs to change?

4. Design your life plan

Now you get to pull all of this together and have a really good think about the kind of life you want to lead during and after lockdown. What parts of your life do you want to tweak?

Don’t worry about the structure or it making sense and don’t worry about it being realistic. Ignore your inner critic, put a timer on for five minutes and write from your heart. 

Imagine it’s one year in the future:

  • What is your business like?
  • What impact are you having at work?
  • What is the quality of your relationships?
  • How are you using your strengths?
  • How are you looking after your health?
  • What are you doing for fun?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • Looking back over the last year what makes you most proud?

The next step is to start thinking about and planning what actions you can start to take to move towards this plan.

5. Build confidence

If you had more confidence, how would your business and life change for the better?

Confidence matters, it matters to you and your business. When confidence is low we can experience the following:

  • We hesitate, we overthink, we stop taking action
  • We hide
  • We become hypercritical, we try to aim for perfection, not progress
  • We start to believe we are helpless

Confidence impacts the course of our lives and yet we spend little time understanding it and working on it. Often this is because we buy into three confidence myths.

Firstly, that you either have confidence or you don’t. This is not true. We can all work on it.

Secondly, that confidence is constant. It’s not, it is situational. It goes up and down for all people. A new, high stakes situation would create the same biological response in all people (adrenalin in the stomach, raised heart rate).

Confident people push past the feelings of discomfort and take the action. They make a choice to ‘try’ and not be limited by fear.

Thirdly that we need to feel confident before we take action. You could be waiting for a long time! Have you ever noticed when you need confidence the most is when it is at its lowest?

There are some simple things you can do to build your confidence:

  • Having confidence just means making the decision to try. Small actions and marginal gains build confidence, they create a feeling of life ownership and positive momentum.
  • Choose what you focus on. Focus on growth and learning. Focus on what you and your business stand to gain.    
  • Learn about the fear. What are the limiting beliefs that are stopping you from taking action? Are these 100% true? Are these helpful? What could you believe that would help you?

By taking some time to focus on what lessons you can learn from lockdown, you can begin to make positive changes to both your personal life and business to help you thrive not only now but in the future too, whatever that may look like.