Much of what people are going through right now is actually identity related. Our self-esteem and identity are so closely wrapped into what we do and produce at work. For those of us who are watching everything we’ve worked so hard to build disappear, it’s really difficult.
The hospitality industry has been hit really hard. We’ve literally been in a whirlwind of tornado strength . . . cancellations of all meetings, events and individual travel. Hotels and Conference Centers are literally shutting their doors, people are being laid off, and the travel industry has come to a screeching halt. We certainly aren’t the only industry being impacted, there are many industries being hit really hard right now.
What do we do from here? How can we utilize this time to regroup and pause. What direction will we go in when the slate has literally been wiped clean? My Mom often uses the statement “God wastes nothing.” In no way do I believe that God is responsible for Coronavirus, but are blessings possible even in these terrible circumstances? Are we capable of learning and growth in the middle of this chaos? I certainly believe we can create good in the midst of even the most difficult situations.
So, how do we regroup? What should we do now? How do we let go and then make room in our hearts and minds for possibilities?
In times of crisis there are opportunities that present themselves. Opportunities to show kindness and compassion, to practice gratitude and be free from the everyday muck that sometimes binds us. If we can lean into this temporary moment of severe difficulty and embrace all of what it’s offering we may be quite surprised by the gifts wrapped in brown paper packages. It’s often in the moments of lack when we can find the most clarity.
I was speaking with an older individual who has been forced to go in a different direction in terms of his career and is having a difficult time leaning into the change. In speaking with him I learned that he has a core value he can’t let go of. A core value that says “The moment I stop working I’ll start dying”. This nearly breaks my heart, but I’m realizing a lot of us feel this way. We are so greatly connected to producing, to working, that even when we are forced to stop for a temporary period of time we are presented with what we perceive to be truths like “I’m a failure”, “I’m not valuable”, “I’m not worthy” because we are no longer achieving in the way we’ve always measured achievement.
I feel like a farmer who planted her crops, worked the land and watched the produce begin to grow up out of the land. Excitedly expecting the crops to flourish and to have plenty to eat and sell at harvest. And now I’m looking out onto the empty fields after a major storm has hit and I was forced to rip the dead, rotting harvest out of the ground and toss it out.
It’s a terrible, awful, helpless feeling. There is a sadness and it’s okay to take a moment to mourn. But if we are looking into the empty field, then we aren’t dead. We are still worthy. We are important to someone. We have children or friends or family that need us. We have things yet to accomplish. We have love to give and dreams to dream.
Our identity, our self-worth, is SO much more than just what we produced or what we worked on today. If we can lean into these scary feelings and allow ourselves to be healed by the reality that we are more than our work . . . that healing will provide the source for new growth, insights and passions. It sounds crazy, but If we can take this opportunity to pause and evaluate, if we can separate ourselves from production for even a short period of time, if we can heal and let go of or evaluate the core values that are holding us back we will come out of this changed. If we take this time and moment of rest seriously and we dig deep and we allow ourselves to really feel and experience all of this (even the really hard stuff) . . . I believe we will catapult into the next phase of our lives.
How often do we wish we had a bit more time? What is it you’ve been needing? Open the brown paper package and take advantage of the gifts in front of you. Spend time with your children, spouse or self. Read a book, sing a song, paint, bake, hike, write the business plan, create your vision board, re-evaluate your department or business, meditate, sleep . . .
Do what’s necessary now because this season is fleeting. We are all hopeful to “get back to normal” as soon as possible, but when it’s time to plant the crops again will you know who you are and what seeds to sow?
Written by Jill Porter, Director of Sales & Marketing, MCC. Jill has 20 years of hospitality experience, ranging from limited and select service to full service properties (sales and operational experience), branded and independent hotels and conference centers.
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