Just because the world has changed doesn’t mean we have changed.
Learning to work from home over twenty years ago pulled back the curtain on my inner world unlike almost anything since. After leaving my job at a downtown bank, in an instant, my commute went from traffic and tall buildings to the living room.
Every morning, I showed up in my living room office, ready to impress the boss with how hard I was working.
Except the boss wasn’t there.
He lived two time zones away and didn’t really care what I looked like when I worked. All he cared about were the results we delivered to our clients.
It wasn’t until I left that job and started my own company that I realized how many of the “old ways” I had carried into my new world of working from home. Some of those old ways were really useful; most of them were relics that actually prevented me from doing good work.
One of the useful artifacts I kept was my morning routine.
Back then, it consisted of waking up with the alarm, turning on the news, getting dressed, eating breakfast and getting in the car to go to work. Over the years, I’ve come to recognize my morning routine as an incredibly useful part of my daily architecture. It sets me up to be grounded and focused from the start.
I’ve modified it significantly over the years as I’ve learned what works and doesn’t. For example, what doesn’t work for me is to start with the news. Doing that just feeds my mind fuel to run away with me. What does work is to meditate before I do anything else. I’ve found that sticking to my routine has made a huge difference in helping me get through the kind of uncertainty we’ve experienced in the last month.
Perhaps the most “non-useful” relic I carried with me for years was the proving mindset that ushered me to my desk every day. You would have thought there was a video camera with a direct screen in the boss’s brain. Every move I made was with a consciousness that I was being watched. It wasn’t until 10 years and two offices later that I realized even realized that’s what I was doing.
Even though my world had changed, I had not changed at all.
I still brought the same limiting beliefs and thoughts into my new office every day.
It was time for me to work on an improving mindset instead and that meant solving the problem in front of me, not trying to prove to someone else that I was competent and working hard. Ironically, I did better work when I started acknowledging that I didn’t know everything and had a lot to learn.
What’s maddening for me is how often I find myself slipping back into the proving mindset. Change is hard!
We almost always do better work when we are in a learning mode. Taking things one step at a time, listening, watching and reflecting creates ever better outcomes – and we become more whole as well.
I’m feeling a lot of loss right now, and it’s tempting to focus on what I don’t have at the moment. Some of that loss is temporary and recoverable, like staying connected with friends through other means. Some of that loss is real and permanent, like the passing of my dad. Yet even in the loss, I’m seeing such beautiful moments of joy and connection. I just have to remember to open my eyes and heart.
As we all are learning to deal with the new reality of this teeny, tiny virus with all its power to move among us, make us sick and turn our world upside down, what happens if we start looking at how it can change us for the better?
Never before has it been more important to take things one day at a time.
What tiny moments of joy are you finding? What little graces are helping you get through the day? What ways are you finding that your heart is breaking open? What routines do you use to stay grounded and focused?
If you are interested in creating a daily architecture for these times where our daily lives are turned upside down, just hit reply to this email. I’ll be happy to send you my Daily Architecture Tool. It will give you a jumpstart in creating a great routine for yourself.
Also, I’ve been doing a series of short daily videos on how run your mind, instead of having your mind run away with you. You can check it out on my YouTube channel here.