The stark reality of Covid-19 and its economic consequences are sinking in. This week, most opinions predict, will be hard. The health and life impact flashes red on our screens daily. Little evidence of containment is detectable. The world economy has slowed. Unemployment is soaring. Our lives have lost rhythm. Uncertainty and fear will rise. Anger and depression will surface. Rapid, skilled bounce is required.
Part 1 laid out the basics of caring for yourself and your loved ones. Part 2 urged for calm engagement and decisiveness. We must acknowledge and master freeze (sad/withdrawal), anger (fight) and fear (flight) reactions.
Here, I want to focus on bounce. McKinsey & Co (2020) advocate five leadership phases: resolve, resilience, return, reimagination and reform. It is the first two that are in focus here. In summary:
- It is normal and natural for resilience to fail
- Mental health challenges have already tested society
- Crises can accelerate and compound resilience failure
- Bounce is normal and natural – it will happen
- Shock, denial, bargaining and anger slow the bounce response
- Bounce accelerates when we confront reality with honesty and humility
- Bounce can be a deliberate and disciplined process of action
Bounce Practice 1: Know how resilience fails
Confront reality, acknowledge concerns and feelings. Recovery starts with you. If you are calm and engaged, you will be able to support others.
Bounce Practice 2: Enforce routine/daily disciplines
Working virtually with leaders through last week, one common experience presented. Testing their daily routines, it became abundantly clear that their routines were chaotic. Working from home, you might expect we have more control. Not true.
Sleep timing was disrupted. Exercise routines were dropped. Meditation and prayer (not all) had stopped. Meal times were irregular. Webinars and team calls had become continuous. Many hunched over calls in the early morning and night. There was scant rejuvenation time between calls.
If you have not already redesigned your daily routines, do it now. This is the perfect time to reflect deeply on what you need to do each day to be the best version of yourself.
- Sleep well: at least 7 hours, regular wake up and sleep time, good quality
- Exercise every day: secure at least 20 minutes aerobic activity out in nature if possible
- Stretch, practice yoga and breathe deliberately every morning
- Agree regular meal times; eat well and connect with loved ones
- Lock in recovery after every call/webinar; minimum 10 minutes
- Make time to relax, read and enjoy a movie
Bounce Practice 3: Maintain your presence
Reality check your physical presence. Notice the stubble, the grey (or dark) roots emerging, neglected hair, dirty t-shirt or slumped shoulders. Without the daily trek into social circuits, you may neglect yourself. At very least, do what you can to present yourself to your mirror each morning. Your family will notice. Your colleagues will see it on webinars. Sit upright and alert or stand through calls and webinars. Most importantly, you will feel better.
Bounce Practice 4: Establish connection rhythms
Prepare well for each connection. Be calm, respectful and gently optimistic. If you are part of a team, try to connect daily by phone or visually. Remember your friends. We have started a regular evening connection with close friends on various platforms. Consider a daily walk with a loved one. Take time to treasure the rebound of nature. Our bird-bath has become a daily joy.
Bounce Practice 5: Work structure and discipline
While many are stretched, others are searching for things to do. Take a good, hard look at your work structure. Use your diary and schedule carefully. Discipline mindless media surfing. Be firm with meeting times. Diarise preparation and recovery time around calls. When you engage in a call, proposal or communication do it with 100% focus for a defined period. Drive for finished product or outcomes. Acknowledge and celebrate them.
Over the next two weeks, your Bounce must be your primary concern. Economic reality will sink in and we will all be impacted. The slowdown will continue and the challenges of restarting businesses, services, jobs and income will come into focus.
Remember there is no ‘bounce back’, only ‘bounce forward’. Post traumatic growth is more common than post traumatic stress (77% of cases). Bounce draws on creativity, resolve and new meaning. Expect and prepare for a new reality. It might be a significant improvement.
Use the Bounce framework to assess yourself daily. Commit to deliberate daily practices as above.
Resources you may find helpful: