It’s Marianne here – your free range thinking guide in good times… and in uncertain ones as well. And for many, the latter is what right now feels like.
Coronavirus news is all over our screens, in our conversations and running through our heads. And whatever you think of what is going on – in some way we are all feeling it.
So while I’m not here to tell you what to think, I do want to share some thoughts that have come up over the last week of watching, talking, getting advice and more.
These aren’t about the medical side of the virus – there is plenty of that out there (and we alllll know to wash our hands, right?)…. but it’s about us.
It’s about You. And Me.
And how we choose to show up through it all.
How do we show up as our best selves and move forward in this time?
Here are a few thoughts:
👉 Social Distancing. Is important. And it’s also completely mis-named.
I’m reaching you here via email. We aren’t socially distanced. Today I spoke with my dear friend in London via FaceTime. She was defrosting her fridge, and I was wondering whether to send this, and we spoke deeply. We were not socially distanced.
So let’s call it what it is: physical distancing. It isn’t about isolating from human contact – it’s about isolating from physical proximity.
This isn’t splitting hairs – it’s such an important distinction. Because right now more than ever we need each other, and likely will more and more. So let’s not socially distance – let’s physically distance as needed, but come together in every other way we can.
👉 Get creative. In the 1665 when Cambridge University closed due to bubonic plague Isaac Newton had to work from home… and used this time to develop calculus and the theory of gravity.
This doesn’t mean bubonic plague was a marvellous thing!
It means that Newton used that time to develop calculus and the theory of gravity.
What could you do in this time? In this time that none of us would have chosen?
Because (as I say so often) creativity (and movement) comes through constraint. I’ve worked with enough people to know that it’s the imperfect circumstances that get us to get creative think differently and to move.
This time isn’t what we would have chosen. But here it is.
So let’s see how we can use this time inside, not fight it.
👉 Lockdown. Another word I’m hearing, that strikes fear into people’s hearts. Lockdown makes me feel: fight or flight. Or: Freeze.
A lock down is when you’re locked in place, eyes wide in the headlights 👀. When you slam the gates against marauders. Lockdown.
…. Right. Can we maybe switch out that word to reflect what it actually means in this case? It means “take the steps to create your cocoon and stay in it” (if needed of course!). Nest. It means, gather your crew and love them through the internet rather than face to face. It means be realistic but stay open.
You might not be moving around physically at that time – and I’m not for one second saying that doesn’t suck – but your head, your heart and your soul are not locked down. So don’t let them be.
👉 Be kind. Please.
I know free rangers are some of the kindest people out there, but it breaks my heart to see comments like “well won’t it only affect people who aren’t fully healthy?” (Putting aside the fact that it kind of does) – let’s remember those are real people – like Jodi who used to travel the world but has been living with a chronic condition for a while now (see her excellent post on this today).
There are many around us who move and do things and create so much in the world… but who live with hidden conditions.
These people are not a faceless crew labelled “those with pre-existing conditions” those people are my friends, and your friends and some of your inspirations too. They are real . So let’s be thoughtful with what we do and how we show up when people are scared.
And if we don’t know what to say? Then focus on the things we can do with what’s in front of us.
👉 Take in the news (but don’t let it take you over).
Yes, we need to stay up to date… but not every minute. Or even every hour. Once a day is more than enough to stay in the loop and know what’s happening (ok, twice if you’re an info junkie!).
We’ve never had so much information at our fingertips, and while that’s amazing and wonderful in SO many ways – it’s also addictive. It can stop us from moving and seeing things as us. So let’s take back control of how we take things in at this time.
BTW I know I’m biased in all of this.
Because for years I’ve been working ‘remotely’ and yet… it never felt remote. (Not after I learned how to harness it). So yes, I’m used to connecting with friends, family, opportunities online and over the phone.
I know from experience that physical distance isn’t necessarily social distance, I know what it’s like to move and create amid constraint. And while I don’t want to minimize what is happening… I do want you to see how much possibility there still is within it. Not the technical part. But the bigger part of how we move forward, as us, no matter what.
There’s this thing I say in the new edition of my book that feels more apt now than ever:
This isn’t about perfect people doing perfect things… it’s about real humans doing what they can with what they have. There will be breakups and families, breakdowns and highs, global events and loss, and still amid all that – we do the work.
So what can we do in this time? How can we switch away from the constant news and use this to focus, do the thing we know we need to be doing more of? How can we show up as our best selves in this time? These are the right questions to be asking.
Because the world needs a lot of things right now, and one of them it needs are leaders.
Even in the smallest ways.
I know I can count on you to be one of them.
Over and out,
PS: please note that yes, I know this virus will disproportionately impact those on the lowest incomes. I’ve thought about that a lot. But I also know that staying locked down in fear, and shutting off and isolating will not change that. Nothing gets created that way and nothing moves forward.
Let’s control what we can, with what we have.