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Reconnecting is Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

As we emerge from this pandemic, I’m surprised by the many emotions I’m experiencing as we move into a new phase of reconnection. I have felt relief, optimism, and excitement, blended with fear, foreboding, and a side serving of judgement. I have had moments of feeling socially awkward, exhausted, and stressed about navigating larger group settings and deciding what I am personally comfortable with. Do these feelings resonate with you?

As a coach, trainer, and mentor to educators, business leaders, and high-performance sport coaches and teams, I’ve had to listen to the advice I often share with others and embrace what I call ‘The Power of 3.’ Our collective goal as we emerge from this pandemic needs to be reconnection. Our pandemic pause has caused all of us to be ‘out of practice’ on the relationship continuum.  

Like you, I’m at the start line and ready to move forward with different confidence, curiosity, and courage.

‘The Power of 3’: Feelings, Focus, and Friends

There is power and perspective in practicing presence (say that five times fast!).

1. Feelings - “Name them to tame them” - Dr. Daniel Siegel, author of The Whole Brain Child. Feelings are messengers. Pay attention to your own feelings, as well as being attuned to the feelings of those around you - feelings are a collective weathervane of sorts. Our distressing emotions send signals that something doesn’t feel safe or okay. Our more positive emotions say, ‘I’m open, confident, and feeling safe to explore.’ Whatever the emotional landscape - for yourself or for others - validate it. Make it okay to be where you/they are right now.

Ask these simple yet powerful questions:

  • What am I /are you feeling?

  • What is the cause or the trigger?

  • What do I/you need right now to feel better? 

Emotions are energy and wisdom. When you listen to them, you can learn and consciously decide what your next best move might be in the present moment.  

2. Focus - W.A.I.T - What Am I Thinking? The pandemic and its chorus of negative news and uncertainty fired up our survival networks and negativity bias. We actively scan for social and physical risks, threats, what could go wrong, and we tend to have more negative than positive thoughts. The result? We tend to react versus respond and resist versus reach out or in. In short, we tend to lean on comparison and judgement of self and others when we are feeling fear. When we focus on validating our emotions, points of view, experience, and the moment at hand, we all feel seen, heard, known, and understood. This is an act of compassion.

Focus on creating your pause or W.A.I.T moments when you feel some level of stress and uncertainty.

Consider:

  • What am I thinking? 

  • Is it true?

  • Is it necessary?

  • Is it kind - to myself or to others?

3. Friends - Find those who want to play by the same rules you are comfortable with right now. We are hardwired for connection. Find those who give you energy and meet you with curiosity instead of advice. Who has compatible ‘rules’ or COVID comfort levels as you? Find those friends who make you/your family feel safe, accepted, and whose company brings out the best in you - not the stress. Do the things that you love and want to do, not the things that you should do or that everyone else seems to be able to do at this time. It’s okay if you (or your family) are just not there yet. Put your phone down and find space for some real conversations and curiosity.

My last ‘Power of 3’ move are three reflection questions: 

  • Did I do my best with what I knew in this moment?

  • Did I do the right thing for me/my family in this moment?

  • Did I show others that I care in this moment?

When I answer no to any of these reflection questions, I know I get to have a ‘do over’; a ‘do better’; or create ‘repair.’ We are all rookies as we emerge from this pandemic. Noticing and naming our feelings and thoughts and surrounding ourselves with supportive friends are key.  Let’s show ourselves and others a little grace and gratitude. We can and will figure it out.  Together is better - one curious, connected conversation at a time.

Judy, Founder of Connected Leaders, helps people discover, define, and become the leaders they were meant to be, personally and professionally. Connected Leaders offers coaching training, facilitation, and program design in leadership, emotional intelligence, strategy, and organizational and team performance. For more information, visit connected-leaders.com. Feeling Social? Follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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