Our hearts are heavy these days. Yet, there is that small voice in us that are witnessing and contributing to history telling us to “advance despite adversity”. Lately my 80-year old mother and I have been reflecting on how she (who is stuck in India) and I, can be prepared despite the distance. Having learned resiliency planning 20 years ago when I was in College to being part of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) at work, I had not spared a minute to educate my family especially my mother to be prepared, no matter what. Here is how we did it!
—- Exploring ‘If’ and ‘Then’ Scenarios: At first, it was tough preparing her for situations where something may happen to me. The vice-versa was easy as there was an innate hypothesis because of her age. I am an only child. But we got over that premonition and have a plan to emotionally and financially cope in the event if I were to go first. We revisited our ‘Will’ (a document that established who should receive the assets in case of death). Our suggestion is if you don’t have one, this is the time you must prepare one. We were in a lurch when my father died, and we hope never to go through that again. Neither of us are rich but there are some things we’d both like to see happen and there are some legacy keepsakes that we’d like to preserve. I had to have a separate conversation with someone close to our family who can swing into action if I am unable to get to my mother’s rescue.
—- Redefined Surviving Mechanisms: We had to tap into our ability to drive thought process through extreme recreations. Not because we are pessimists or cannot see life in positive light. Where life is not assured, it demands that we envisage novel surviving skills. From defining escape routes to having a ‘contingency bag’ which contains all essentials if we were to leave our homes, as-is. We went through it all. It is crazy but after my mother had a near-death experience from a gas explosion in her kitchen on the 8th day of lockdown, we were left with our imagination to strategize better.
—- Day-to-day Cataloging: We brought our parsimonious middle-class behavior back into our lives. For the first few days of the lockdown, we went through every supply in our pantry and got creative with basic food preparations. The goal was to have at least two meals a day without having to compromise and be able to avoid going out for groceries often. The mantra was simple. To keep ourselves and the communities we interact, safe. Because we are incapable of foreseeing anything these days.
—- Nurturing the Heart and Soul: We have no choice but to accept change (aka new normal), keep the learning on-going (be aware, be engaged), reflect (to empower ourselves and anyone else that we can) and rejuvenate (by healthy food habits, working out, meditation etc.) however or whichever way possible. There are so many that do not have that privilege, but we have decided to give it our best shot along with countless others on this very same journey.
Professional resiliency has grown beyond table-top exercises and systemic contingencies. And we are testing our thresholds daily to exhibit some above and beyond behaviors while adapting continuously to changing dynamic.
—- People First: We now put our people first. Thanks to the ERT Preparedness Team, I’ve learned that the American Heart Association is encouraging people to take action with hands-only CPR. Because people have become apprehensive about the breaths during mouth-to-mouth when it comes to strangers. Watch this video to experience how we’ve adapted culturally, socially and to cater to the present situation. Mask and gloves should be part of our body when we leave our homes – no excuses.
—- We’ve Adapted Workplace to Better Success: Teams are looking at success differently. The emerging circumstances have made us cohesive and smart working than we were before. We have begun to invest in building trust, being authentic, keeping in real and ensuring we are there for each other whether be at work or moral support. Conversations have become important and are beginning to happen more. We have begun growing together as individuals, teams and communities.
—- Work-life Harmony: It is increasingly difficult especially for teams like mine, but we have been improvising every day on how to strike that work-life harmony. There are days where are spending more hours than we should because of issues but we are making sure we take time for ourselves.
—- Aligning to Futuristic Skills: The learning has become rapid. Whether be Digital Transformation or Cloud, teams are putting their best foot forward. Some have used this opportunity to get a string of endless certifications to their credit. And we are very proud.
—- Mental Health is No.1 Priority: In addition to building personal resiliency, we as leaders are ensuring that the team members give utmost priority to mental health. As Arianna Huffington said, “If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world.”