To say there’s been a lot of change in the world lately would be the understatement of several centuries. Between a global pandemic and the inevitable aftermath, and recent eruptions around racial inequality, it’s probably safe to assume we’re all feeling a little overwhelmed right now. According to The Washington Post, the stress caused by these circumstances we’re in could even cause mental health repercussions beyond what we’re currently seeing.
Luckily, our friend Bryan Kramer, author, executive coach, and TED speaker, has some spot-on suggestions for how business leaders can manage that overwhelm, both personally and in their companies. Bryan shared five suggestions for all of us to try to help bring us, and our businesses, back to center.
1) Take care of YOU first.
Bryan’s first suggestion is as simple as it gets, but may not always be easy. He reminds us that taking care of ourselves is always the first place to start when we’re feeling overwhelmed. “We need to be kinder to ourselves right now with everything that’s going on”, he says. By being mindful about what we need as individuals first, it gives us what we need to better show up for the people around us who need us, like family, friends, and team members.
2) Connect, connect, connect.
During a time when we’ve been mandated to stay at home and to limit, or in some cases eliminate, contact with the outside world, Bryan says that prioritizing connection is critical. Scientist Matthew Lieberman agreed in a 2013 interview with Scientific American where he shared, “Across many studies of mammals, from the smallest rodents all the way to us humans, the data suggests that we are profoundly shaped by our social environment and that we suffer greatly when our social bonds are threatened or severed.” So how do you stay connected when our normal channels aren’t available? Bryan suggests to get creative by using platforms like Zoom to interact live virtually, picking up the phone and calling an old friend to check in, or simply walking outside to have a socially-distanced conversation with your neighbor. The most important thing is to set an intention to connect, and then do it.
“This world just got way more complicated. We just got way more complex. So we’re going to need to pull back and simplify our approach much, much more.” – Bryan Kramer, executive coach, author, speaker at BryanKramer.com
3) Create routines and follow them.
Working from home may have started out seeming like an unintended benefit to the lockdown, but after several months at home the days can start to get long, monotonous, and uninspiring. Bryan suggests that creating consistency in activities that feel supportive to our well-being can help with this. He says, “Routine is really important right now, even if it’s a light routine.” Incorporating mediation, a morning practice involving movement and nature, and even adding in rituals to ordinary activities – like hitting a sound bowl before and after a teleconference to signify shifting from one activity to the next like Bryan does – can be immensely uplifting.
4) Be a good listener.
Many of us are grappling with how to respond to the recent uprising in tension over racial inequality with little to no understanding of what we can do to help. Bryan’s advice is to practice active listening. By opening ourselves to other people’s stories and experiences without judgement or fear of our own, we’re truly able to empathize and respond in ways that matter. Bryan suggests to ask friends, clients, and community members what they need and how you can help. And be willing to hear what they tell you and act on it where possible.
5) Make small shifts.
Since the landscape keeps changing, seemingly minute-by-minute these days, it’s tricky to follow our standard practices for visioning the future. Rather than looking at the new future we’re moving towards and trying to lay out a new five-year plan, Bryan recommends making small, incremental shifts in the general trajectory of where you’re intending to go. Like turning a rocket, a one degree shift can mean a monumental change in direction – the same can be true in life and business. Stay nimble, make small shifts, and continue to respond accordingly as the results unfold in real time.
How are you taking care of YOU during these crazy times? We’d love to know – reply here with what’s working so everyone can benefit.
For more insights from Bryan Kramer on why and how communication today needs to be adjusted to keep up with our ever-evolving digital world, read his book “There is No B2B or B2C. It’s Human to Human: H2H”.