What will your dawn look like after the storm of the past 18 months?

We heard a lot early in the pandemic about how disruption would beget innovation, how we should never let a crisis go to waste, how we would all come out of this experience clearer on what matters most to us.

For many people, these ideas ring true. But as restaurants welcome more guests into dining rooms, offices reopen and travel kicks back into high gear, the new normal is nearly upon us. What will yours look like? Is it time to create a new abnormal instead, one that gives you more of what matters most in your life?

Your new abnormal

I stumbled upon the idea of a new abnormal when coaching. I spoke with many clients early in the pandemic – many but not all of them working in health care – who were ready for something new. Health care has not been an easy place to work for a long time. In some cases, the pressures of the pandemic pushed them over the edge.

For some people, this has taken the form of advocacy for change: Better working conditions, more time with family, less pressure to put profit over patients. For others, it means leaving clinical practice for academia. Or leaving academia for something entirely different. Or leaving whatever they are doing for a new adventure.

These issues are not unique to health care. People are leaving their jobs in droves. And it’s no wonder. As the working world was plunged into uncertainty and extraordinarily strange circumstances, abnormal became our new normal. Zoom after Zoom, commutes from the bed to the desk, the constant din of preschool-age officemates.

Some of that will be nice to leave behind. But we are all indelibly changed, and there is no going back to where we were before. This moment offers a singular opportunity to assess what worked for you and what didn’t. Then, you can build a new life for yourself, one that works better for you than anything normal ever did.

This is your chance to build a life that gives you more of what matters most to you.

Get your copy of the What Matters Most to You Workbook today, and start moving toward a more intentional life!

Building a better life

Start thinking about what is next for you by returning to my signature coaching question. What matters most to you? It’s a good idea to revisit this question periodically in ordinary times. In times of disruption, what matters most to you can change on a dime, knocking your life choices and priorities out of alignment.

As you create your list, you can examine how much you are actually getting from that list – and how much you expect to get as the world reopens. If, for example, time at home has become more of a priority, maybe it’s time to look for a position that doesn’t require so much travel.

Next, take an inventory of your life through the pandemic. There was a lot of bad, for sure. What are you beyond ready to leave behind? And what surprised you by becoming important or even essential? And then, looking ahead, what are you dreading as the world reopens, and what excites you?

As you look at the interplay among these lists, your new abnormal will start to take shape. If you notice you are dreading your commute but excited to get back to post-workday happy hours, you might want to look for a great office community that is closer to home. If you’re sad to give up Friday dinners with the neighbors even as you celebrate getting back to the classroom, you might want to explore a schedule adjustment that allows for an early finish.

A singular moment

We have lost a lot in the past 18 months: people, time, health, prosperity. Some of you are dealing with the consequences of fighting on the front lines – saving lives and seeing them slip through your hands. Recognize that you have suffered and will need time to heal before you can even think of lifting your head to the horizon.

For those who are able to look forward, being able to step into a new and better life now is a mark of privilege. But that does not mean we should not embrace it. Very few events in the history of the world have created this kind of opportunity for so many people at the same time.

As reopening accelerates, we are back where we were 18 months ago: on the cusp of great change. We can resist it, or we can make the most of it.

Now that we know what we can do to survive, it’s time to see how we can thrive.

Unlock your potential and align with what matters most to you. 

It’s that simple.

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