By Cat Gray, WeAlign Associate Coach

I thought it was about time I showed up and shared my thoughts on some things I’ve been thinking about as I’ve been coaching people and watching the world respond to a pandemic…

These are undeniably difficult times. We are mourning and adapting because of things and people lost, and it’s going to be hard for a while. However, that’s not the whole story, and I’m here to say that it is possible for grief and joy to share the same room. We are hearing about the good, kind, loving things people are doing for each other too, and I want to challenge you to not only join in with that, but to take it one step further.

What if you were completely clear on what you are skilled in, capable of and passionate about? Are those things related to the role you had or the way you viewed yourself before the world turned upside down or have they also changed? Last week, did you give much thought to the things that had been important to you in January? Were you still focused on the environment, homelessness, refugees, equality, helping small businesses or with local community needs or whatever else was on your heart? Don’t let these things go! People are still living without water or food or shelter. People still need advocates. And what are we going to do for all the people for whom home isn’t a safe place? For the carers without respite? For the people who can’t understand what’s going on due to disability or ill health?

A big pause button was pushed on life as we knew it and we will have to navigate a few new ‘normals,’ still, but what if we lifted our heads up from the internal fear and anxiety and let ourselves dream a bit about the future again? Because you do still have a future. The world is changing but it’s not ending.

So what are you going to be filling your calendar with going forwards? What will you prioritize, speak out about, work towards? What if we end up with a society that fully cares for and embraces the poor and the marginalized? What if we had enough food and shelter for people worldwide? It sounds outrageous to say, but I’m excited to see what happens. I don’t want to belittle or be insensitive to anything that we are going through. I’m not expecting an easy ride or to come out of this unscathed, but I am expecting us to unite on the important things, to run after the type of community we always wished ours was, and to fuel a better, re – evaluated way of living that benefits everyone. We are in this together.

There’s going to be pain and anguish, but that’s only half the story.  Seek out the other bit. Don’t be blinkered to it because it’s easier to be consumed by the bad news. Acknowledge the bad stuff. Notice what you feel and what you need but then tell someone that and go on to notice or find something good. Change the narrative that everything good has been taken from you and start telling people what you are grateful for, what you are dreaming for and pass the message on that we are all capable of bringing something useful and encouraging to the table.

What is it that you are uniquely placed to do at this time? Pin point it, research it, make wise decisions about it (including following government guidelines and advice!) but then just get on and do it! Don’t be afraid to try and keep some things normal – that’s good! Don’t be afraid to spark action into some things that have been lying dormant in you for a while – maybe they have been waiting there for such a time as this! Don’t be afraid to dream of a big big future where progress has been made in many things. And don’t be afraid of grief and joy being roomies for a while. They can cope with that, and so can you.