If you celebrate Easter or Passover, I hope the weekend offered an opportunity to reflect on the spirit and how this moment we find ourselves in fits into a much bigger story. If not, I hope the weekend gave you a reprieve and a chance to collect yourself.
A new week is upon us, and we now know more about what we are in for than we did a week ago, but still not enough to speak with certainty about it. We are still deep on our road of trials, learning the road by walking it.
Even though we don’t yet know enough to speak with certainty, that doesn’t mean some of us won’t try. And so, today we talk about how to deal with things people tell us about the crisis and most importantly, how we should be in it.
When I had my “oh shit” moment and began to grasp that nothing mattered more than preparing my family to weather this storm from our home, there was one thing I was immediately grateful for; my sobriety. For the last 500 days, I’ve steered clear of drinking to escape the stress of life and, more importantly, my emotional response to that stress.
The first two weeks of sobriety were difficult because, without a buzz, all I was left with was a series of stories in my head that justified my decision to numb. Over time, in therapy, those stories of external forces plaguing me were replaced with introspective ones. I started to see that the suffering of life was inescapable, but my power could be found in how I responded to it.
As the fog cleared, I noticed something else… I was allowing society to play a role in influencing how I responded to life.
When I stopped living by society’s narrative, I got better. When I started understanding just how much control I had over my response to what I was experiencing, I began owning that responsibility. And even though things were still hard, I felt much better about life. I learned that much of our suffering happens because we choose to act in ways that are socially encouraged, even when they hurt us.
The narrative we live by is often behind the rationale for our behavior. The question is, who’s narrative is it, and how does it serve you?
When the world is shifting as violently as it has for the last two months, you need something to anchor on. Here is what you can anchor in right now.
You can anchor in YOUR TRUTH.
You can anchor in wisdom.
You can anchor in what you can control, which is your response.
You can anchor in a narrative that has empathy for others but doesn’t make you feel ashamed.
To give you an example of what this looks like, I’ll share mine:
“I am here on Earth to inspire people to develop their Creative Power.
Never in my life has that purpose been more critical to fulfill than now. There is great pain in the world as many people are losing loved ones to a vicious virus that we have no immunity to. In our collective effort to save lives, we’ve shut down our global economy, causing millions of people around the world to lose their jobs and their savings.
Now more than ever, people need to focus on their Well-being. They will need it to get through this saga.
Most of what worked in society before is now broken, so we have to find new ways to live given the new realities. People will need to Innovate to create solutions to problems they never before considered.
People need a purpose to fuel their Drive because if they don’t have one, they can get overwhelmed and may give up.
In three weeks, 17 million people in the United States have filed for unemployment. Some of those jobs won’t come back. We need to embrace Entrepreneurship to create new jobs for the new world.
And we need openness. We need to be open to asking for help and offering to help. We need to be open to the idea that as devastating as this virus is, like every challenge we’ve faced in our long human story, it is presenting us with an opportunity to become a better version of humanity. We need to be open to the idea that each day, there is something we can gain from this.
I’m human, and I get to grieve like everyone else. But I am fortunate to have a clear purpose and to have been gifted with abilities that have made me resilient so that I can be here for others.
And that’s what I’m going to do.”
That’s the narrative I am telling myself right now.
And here is proof of that.
I’ve talked in the past about time budgeting. The idea behind time budgeting is that the most valuable thing we have is our time, but we rarely go through the exercise of budgeting how we spend it. I work on my time budget every six months or so. One of the hardest things about working on it, for me, is the variability that travel brings. It’s hard to be consistent about how you spend your time when you travel regularly.
One gift of this moment is I have a clean slate with no travel disruptions, empowering me to design a time budget that genuinely reflects my purpose, values, and goals. I had the time to work through it, step away from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes to find things that I missed. I made a Google Sheet with a breakdown of my time budget categories and hours allocated in case you wanted to take advantage of this time to do the same.
Going into this week, I feel clear on how I can take care of myself, spend quality time with my family, and get my necessary work done in a way that I didn’t before I made this time budget.
I couldn’t have made this time budget without my narrative.
I couldn’t have owned my narrative without a clear purpose, a sober view of what we are up against, and the courage to live without regard for society’s expectations of me.
We are living in a time of crisis, and it is also a time of opportunity. Every moment we are here is an opportunity, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Own your story and live it out.
I’m grateful you are here to help us right now.