Covid-19 has cast a wave of uncertainty across the world, and the impact on daily life for ambitious women has been wildly varied, depending greatly on personal circumstances and home life set up. For some it has meant endless hours of personal alone time often leading to apathy or despair. For mothers - throw a few young children into the mix - it has created a cycle of frustration and guilt. And there are some who are sailing through social distancing with no more than a blip and a bump every so often. But despite our differing circumstances many women are known to self criticise when under stress.
So when it comes to being ambitious during this global pandemic - what can we realistically expect of ourselves?
We asked some of our DrivenWoman Group Leaders to share their wisdom - They continue to run their member groups each month via Zoom and have their fingers on the pulse of how women are coping. Here is their advice on how to stay focused and prioritise right now.
Jenny McConnell is a Group Leader in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership development.
You are not working from home.
Note to self: you are NOT working from home. Instead, you are at home during a pandemic and trying to work! Normal WFH principles do not apply. To help you reset in moments of overwhelm, remember this acronym.
“WIN" - What’s Important Now?
The next time you want to create calm and focus, do this. Pause. Close your eyes. Breathe. Then ask yourself, “WIN: What’s Important Now?” The answer will come to you. Within seconds, you’ll know if this is the time to crack on with that project, go for a walk, be present with your loved ones or simply zone out with a cute kitten video.
When you use WIN, you reset. When you reset, you WIN!
Liliana Dias is a Group Leader and Corporate Ambassador in Lisbon, Portugal. She is an occupational health psychologist and managing partner at Bound Health.
As a Psychologist, I stress the importance of looking at these times as extremely challenging and even traumatic.
To instil now more pressure around productivity or the achievement of goals (that previously we didn’t have time for) can easily counteract and lead to decreased motivation, performance and mental health. Most advice we see online is based on the assumption that we are remote working but actually we are in emergency worklife integration and the situation needs to be addressed as such.
Reducing the demands and adjusting expectations is extremely important during and after this period. Personally, I would recommend lowering the expectations on what you can achieve during a day or week but never lose sight of your goals in the mid and long-term, and fully use this time to develop your resiliency muscle. Finally, compensate your efforts with self-care activities, taking time to rest and be offline as much as possible.
Mojca Henigman is a Group Leader in London and an NLP Master coach supporting women to overcome negative patterns, build emotional confidence and live more mindful, joyful and successful lives.
In uncertain times, what we need is a sense of clarity and trust.
Clarity about what's important, what to prioritise, and trust that we'll be able to deal with whatever the future brings. From that place, it's easier to connect to what we want to create in our future, and stay focused. Clarity and trust don't come from giving into fear and panic. They come from:
- Mastering our thoughts and emotions, by still-ing our mind daily and connecting to our inner wisdom – either through meditation, deep relaxation, walking, or anything mindful that helps you still the inner-chatter. Be kind to the fearful parts of you, but don’t give them the reigns to your life.
- Leaning on our internal resources such as courage, self-compassion, creativity and re-framing our experience from “Why this? / Why me?” to “ How can I grow through it? How can this be an opportunity?”
- Focusing on our core values, that which is truly important, to guide the way. Act out of your values, not your fears. Know that you always have that choice, and you'll come out of any crisis stronger than before.
Brigitte Hair is a Group Leader in Harrogate UK, Marketing Consultant and aspiring coach:
Now’s not the time for navel gazing.
A phrase my Grandmother would have used. It’s advice I return to a lot, especially now. Whenever I sat with her and wallowed in my woes with too much self-indulgence, she would put those capable arms around me and say “Now’s not the time for navel gazing, it’s time to start getting on with some jobs”.
Simplistic maybe, but it always worked – being practical, finding pleasure in everyday tasks like polishing the silver, tidying the pan cupboard, or my favourite (in the right season) shelling peas together. Taking time to find pleasure in the small day to day tasks, by yourself or with those around you, really helps you stay present and focus in the now.
Katrin Sturm who is a Group Leader in Dublin and the founder of The Best Possible You.
In uncertain times it is even more important to remind ourselves of our circle of influence and circle of concern.
We naturally tend to spend worrying about the things we cannot control, allowing fear to make our brain live through worst case scenarios appearing real.
Let’s focus on the things that we can actually control. Starting from the basics on how we structure our days, what we eat, how much we sleep, practicing gratitude to keep our thoughts positive and ensuring regular exercise. Our health is our new wealth. So be kind and gentle to yourself. As ambitious women we are often our own biggest enemy putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
The present moment is all we have. So let’s make the best out of it! What’s your silver lining?
Karime Abib is a Group Leader in Zürich, Switzerland, and a designer of prosperous, fair and regenerative businesses that contribute to an inclusive economy and founder of AdvantiKA GmbH.
What was your purpose in life before the virus? Which were your three dearest values? What in essence brought you happiness so far?
Look at your answers; check if they are sincere.
On a new page answer: “What is your purpose in life today? Which are your three dearest values? What in essence brings you happiness now? Be fearlessly authentic.
If you realise it is time to change something, embrace the opportunity. If your answers match, you have validated yourself. Be thankful for the hindrances, as they make you better. Do this open heartedly. Meditate on it. Your priorities will be evident.
Now, make it fun: reward yourself every day you keep focused. Laugh at yourself when you don’t.
Katie Adams, a Group Leader in Edinburgh, is a Life Coach & Consultant.
The key to staying focused and prioritising is nurturing our wellbeing.
It’s easy, with the restrictions, juggling work with childcare and/or supporting others, to think it’s not practical, or we shouldn’t allow ourselves time for it. However, investing particularly in self-care and self-compassion, will ensure we can cultivate clarity to inform our decisions, help us consistently show up in the way we’d like, AND maximise our creativity and productivity in the time available to us. So, it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
And, here’s the thing. If we focus on small actions personal to us it doesn’t have to take much time.
Penney Megginson is a Group Leader in Geneva and the creator of the Megginson Method, a mind body methodology.
Morning visualisation before getting out of bed is a great way to help you see how your life would look and feel once you have achieved your goals.
The morning is a special time for this because many of us find that we get caught up in the to-do lists of the day and getting things done that we often leave time for spiritual growth to the side. If you either set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you would normally wake up, you can simply continue to lie in bed whilst performing the visualisation.
You do this by seeing yourself in 5 years-time as if everything you wanted to achieve has already happened. Make it as big a dream as possible and in real-time. Pay attention to how you feel, who you are with, and how others respond to you.
DrivenWoman is a female-only empowerment platform and accountability network, that helps ambitious women to achieve their goals and dreams by creating positive habits one step at a time. Thousands of women around the world have joined our program and are achieving their life goals, which range from entrepreneurial dreams to career change or simply being more confident in their own skin and enjoying life in the present moment.
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