Packing and preparing to get out of the apartment was a slow, arduous process.
I used to be a lean, mean, packing machine. But for this work trip, my first in two years, I put my suitcase out three days before I had to leave because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to remember all I needed to pack. Back when I traveled all the time, I was able to do this in about 20 minutes.
Instead of getting all crazy and frustrated with myself, I knew I had to practice what I preach: I had to embrace the discomfort and give myself the space to rebuild the traveling muscle memory I hadn’t used in a while.
After a few stressful hours getting my stuff out of the apartment and into a rental car, I did make it just fine to Louisville. I was prepared to teach two live workshops at this conference and lead my Zoom yoga class remotely from the hotel room.
I was definitely feeling awkward and nervous about being in a room of people, many of whom were familiar but I hadn’t seen in a long time. Once I embraced the moment, took a deep breath and led a workshop that first afternoon, my ability to lead a group of people through content, reflection, discussion and mindfulness practices all came back to me. What a joy it was to see faces reacting in real time!
Cocktail hour each day, even with the slight awkwardness of wearing a mask, became more routine. Sharing meals and listening to speakers in large rooms was a little anxiety provoking in my COVID-consciousness. But eventually I was able to settle in and enjoy seeing and hugging people in real life. (NOTE: COVID-19 vaccinations were required for all participants at this event.)
This first-time-in-a-long-time experience reminded me of what I’m all about: Empowering leaders (even myself!) to thrive in change. Change is so hard, and yet it is completely normal and constant. COVID is helping us develop these muscles for change in incredible ways. Look at it this way: We are all going to be ripped!
Here are some of the muscles I invite you to work out as we make a transition through more change:
- Lean into discomfort: Doing something for the first time in a long time is awkward.
- Take your time: Don’t add to your stress by being rushed.
- Offer yourself grace: You are re-learning to do something you think you should know how to do. Cut yourself some slack.
- Prepare for the unexpected: Things are NOT how they used to be, nor will they ever be. Take time to be curious, ask questions and do research.
- Feel the joy: You’re getting to do something NEW! Embrace it. It might just be fun.