Monday, December 21, 2020

Five Tips For Dealing With Unexpected Change


"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings."

Lao Tzu

Seasons of change are understandably challenging, especially when the change is unexpected. It's one thing to know that change is coming, and you have time to prepare yourself and your team. It's totally different when you're caught by surprise.

Author and speaker Karima Mariama-Arthur says that your perception of change influences your response to it. How you view change can lead to a positive or negative outcome. In this issue. we share Mariama-Arthur's guidance on what to do when change happens and you must pivot with it.

1.    Acknowledge that the change is the new normal. Denying the existence of change doesn't do any good. The most rewarding course of action is to acknowledge its presence and effect on our way of life, says Mariama-Arthur. In the new TED Talk called Coronavirus Is Our Future, global health expert Alanna Shaikh shares insights on the global pandemic in a straightforward and approachable way. She makes clear that our collective, human experience is the new normal. She urges that while we cannot escape the multi-faceted impact of this crisis, we can admit our vulnerability to it and acknowledge its influence on our global ecosystem.

2.    Explore your feelings about the change. Mariama-Arthur says it's important to sit with your thoughts as you navigate change. Becoming intimately acquainted with what you feel will help you see things clearly and make better decisions about what matters the most. Because the enormity of the change itself can be so distracting, seldom do we take the time to self-reflect and explore our emotional well-being, which includes self-awareness and self-management.

3.    Prepare for it. Taking appropriate action in the direction of change will help make certain that things go more smoothly for you. And the earlier, the better, notes Mariama-Arthur. Preparation requires asking yourself key questions about where you are now and where you intend to be, as you reimagine yourself in the "new normal." What resources will you need? What sacrifices will you need to make? How much time will be required? Get clear on the strategy and tactics that will help you overcome any roadblocks to your success.

4.    Rely on your support system or create one. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remember that you don't have to go it alone, reminds Mariama-Arthur.  Managing change can be burdensome, but even more so when you try to do everything by yourself. Instead of flexing your misanthropic muscle, reach out to your support system—those valued individuals who are ready and willing to help in a time of need. Don't have a support system? Create one. Resources are everywhere.

5.    Give yourself grace as you move forward. Change is a process. At times, you may feel on top of the world—like nothing can stop you. During others, not so much. When you find yourself on the lower end of the totem pole, don't beat yourself up. Give yourself the grace to move forward even when you are not feeling or performing at your best. A bad day is not a deal breaker, but rather an opportunity to step back and begin again, says Mariama-Arthur.

Sometimes life is unpredictable, and you must confront difficult changes. Instead of denying the change, follow the steps above to get through it and come out better on the other side.


Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Karima Mariama-Arthur is author of the 2019 NAACP Image Award-nominated guidebook, Poised For Excellence: Fundamental Principles of Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond. Mariama-Arthur also serves in an advisory capacity on select corporate boards.    

Monday, December 7, 2020

Eight Ways To Stay Connected During Social Distancing


"The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next."

Mignon McLaughlin


In these days of COVID-19, social distancing is critical. To help prevent the virus from spreading further, everyone must do their part to avoid physical contact with others. While you need to adjust your normal routine, writer Jamie Friedlander says you can still stay connected to others during this time of isolation. 

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Friedlander's guidance for staying connected to others.

1.    Talk to one friend each day. Be sure to reach out to one family member or friend every day. While GChat and texting are perfectly acceptable, Friedlander says it's even better to hear someone's voice on the phone or see them through FaceTime. "You don't need to meet anyone to feel connected," says Viktor Sander, a social psychology consultant with SocialPro. "It's all about reciprocally opening up to each other, sharing experiences and making the other person feel heard. And that's something you can do over the phone or internet."

2.    Send someone you love a handwritten letter. Grab a notecard you have lying around and send a handwritten note to a family member or friend on your mind. Not only will the letter brighten their day, but it'll likely spark a conversation once they receive it in the mail, says Friedlander. 

3.    Foster connection with those in your home. It's challenging being confined to our homes. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we must avoid meeting friends for dinner or hanging out with co-workers at happy hours. Friedlander says it's easy to think of what we're missing out on, but we must also remember what we're gaining through this unexpected time at home. Take time to strengthen relationships with those in your home, whether you're spending time with your kids, a significant other or a roommate.

4.    Reach out to friends who have depression or anxiety. Social isolation is hard for everyone, but especially for those facing anxiety or depression. Friedlander recommends texting friends and family members to let them know you're thinking of them. Even if you don't get a response, don't stop reaching out. When it comes to your anxious friends, Friedlander says it's important to avoid talking about anything coronavirus-related that will worsen their anxiety.

5.    Have a family member read your child a bedtime book through FaceTime. If your children are used to more social interaction with family members and friends, Friedlander suggests having one of their grandparents, aunts or uncles read them a bedtime book from afar.

6.    Host a virtual watch party with friends. To keep your spirits up and stay connected from afar, try watching a show or movie with your friends. Through Netflix Party, you can stream a show at the same time as your friends. Then, do a group video chat once it's over to talk about it. If you're not in the mood to binge-watch a show, try hosting a virtual book club instead.

7.    Stream a class. For many, daily socialization involves not only chatting with co-workers and spending time with family and friends, but also heading to a barre class or a running club. Keep the socialization alive through a virtual class. Many fitness studios have begun offering remote exercise classes, so hop online and see what's available.

Social distancing and social isolation can feel uncomfortable, especially when you're used to being around lots of people in your day. Whether you're spending time in solitude or you're working while caring for your family at home, look for ways to reach out to others. Aim to do something each day that keeps you connected to the world outside.


Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among other publications.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Nine Lessons To Learn From COVID-19


"You don't have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you."

Dan Millman


The global pandemic has changed the way we live. Contained in our homes, we must reorient our approach to our colleagues, clients, family and friends. While you might feel a massive loss of control, there are some important takeaways to learn from this moment in time.

Kristen Lee, Ed.D., LICSW, lead faculty for behavioral science at Northeastern University, says there are nine lessons we can draw upon for individual and collective fortitude.

Lesson 1: Intellectual humility is vital. We are not all public health experts. We are an evolved civilization with extraordinary advances in science and medicine and access to information. Dr. Lee says we must all consider the sources we rely on and how we transmit information across our spheres of social influence.

Lesson 2: Time-outs are not always punishments. We are creative, innovative, agile creatures. Moments of distress call us to rethink our typical routines and identify new strategies for coping and living. Dr. Lee says this pause might prove to be a return to creativity for many who might find it has been squeezed out during typical routines.

Lesson 3: We are more resilient than we realize. Humans are wired for resilience. Dr. Lee asserts that resilience can increase even during difficult times when we focus on activities that help to cultivate it. Join forces with people who co-nurture and provide reciprocal support.

Lesson 4: Kindness is contagious. While fear and illness itself can be contagious, so are acts of love and kindness. When we focus energy on helping those who are most vulnerable in times of crisis, the positive effects spread and strengthen our collective well-being.

Lesson 5: Challenges help us discover our strengths and resources. Dr. Lee reminds others that we have a host of internal and external resources to harness, including strong analytical and problem-solving abilities and people and places that provide solace and grounding.

Lesson 6: The basics are not basic. The elements of air, water, earth and fire are unparalleled. Spend time appreciating nature and get outside as much as is safe and possible, recommends Dr. Lee. Watch sunrises and sunsets from your window. Find ways to take in the elements.

Lesson 7: There are no wrong emotions. Pandemics can evoke powerful emotions, including fear, anxiety, shock and panic. Don't stress about being stressed. This is human, says Dr. Lee. Take time to name what is happening and consider what resources you can access to help you.

Lesson 8: Self-care is essential all the time. Crises can show us that we were previously running on fumes. There's no health without mental health. Proper sleep, nutrition, hydration and exercise can go a long way towards boosting our mental reserves, notes Dr. Lee.

Lesson 9: Mindfulness helps us combat mindlessness. When we focus on the now and engage in a non-judgmental stance, it strengthens our resilience and capacity to enjoy what is and cope with what isn't. 

As you continue to adapt during these times, reflect on the lessons above and consider how you can help share them with your team members.


Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Kristen Lee, Ed.D., LICSW is lead faculty for behavioral science at Northeastern University. She is the author of Reset: Make the Most of Your Stress and Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking. Dr. Lee has also given a TED talk called "The Risk You Must Take."