Your New Normal: How Will it Look?

By: Caroline Dowd-Higgins

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You may have seen them on social media…the memes and articles about how our lives will be forever changed due to the Coronavirus.

One of those memes, from Brené Brown, recently appeared in my social media feed questioning the whole idea of “normal,” and pointing out that “normal” in the current age has had a very low bar.

Brown observes:

We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate, and lack. We should not long return my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment…one that fits all of humanity and nature.

[Related: You Can Save Us From a Leadership Crisis]

Another newsfeed article, along those same lines, caught my attention, as well. In his powerful essay for Medium, writer/director Julio Vincent Gambuto implores us to resist the pressure to get back to the numbing escapism of pre-corona days, and to “Marie Kondo” our way to more authentic lives.

Gambuto observes:

This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred opportunity to get rid of the BS and only bring back what works for us.

So given that, any way you slice it, life going forward is going to be different, what does the “new garment” Brené Brown suggests you “stitch” look like? Now that we’re collectively back to square one in so many ways, how can you put Gambuto’s advice to work to start “Marie Kondo-ing” your life to better reflect your true self?

[Related: Spring Cleaning: Letting Go With Gratitude]

When we stop all the running, consuming, and general noise in our lives, suddenly we can see all the things we’ve been running away from, how much we’ve been over-consuming, and how loudly we’ve been turning up Spotify in order to avoid facing the aspects of our lives that haven’t been working, ie: the job that’s become toxic, the marriage in need of repair, care and connection with family and friends that’s fallen by the wayside, or perhaps simply the realization that there’s been no time for ourselves in our own lives.

Examining all of this, as well as the very real threat that this pandemic brings, can be scary and incredibly painful. Know, however, that out of the fear and pain can come incredible growth and a new awareness about what’s really important in our lives. Out of the Phoenix-Rising energy can come the motivation to create something far better, not only for us individually, but for our world as a whole.

The pandemic has shattered “normal” in a way that hasn’t happened in generations. Hitting this worldwide pause gifts us with a golden opportunity to turn inward in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, and ask ourselves: What do we value? What do we want our lives and our world to look like going forward?

To that end, I wish you a journey that brings clarity, empowerment, and a new grounded-ness as you navigate this historic change. Here’s to your good health and safety, dear reader, and here’s to a kinder, gentler, more authentic and equitable “new normal” for us all.

[Related: Why Learning to Fail is an Important Step in Succeeding]

Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book “This Is Not the Career I Ordered” and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community College system and contributes to Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Ellevate Network, Medium, and The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana. Her online video series about career and life empowerment for women is on YouTube. Caroline hosts the three-time award winning podcast, Your Working Life, on iTunes and SoundCloud. Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. Her TEDxWOMEN talk about reframing failure and defining success on your own terms is available on YouTube.

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