Snippet – No.12: Resilience

Snippet – No.12: Resilience

“Nana korobi ya oki 七転び八起き”
Fall seven times, rise eight” – Japanese Proverb

I was exhausted this weekend. People commenting that I looked pale and I really did feel tired. I’ve been wondering ‘why?’

Lockdown has been a long slog – a mentally and physically demanding ride, which has taken its toll, even on those of us, like me, who have had it pretty easy.

10 years ago, I worked briefly with a lovely man who was returning to Japan after three years working in the UK. He told me they have a saying about the number 3: 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months and even 3 years – all of these are turning points where we have to decide whether to stay or move on, and at each turning point we will wobble and have our doubts. My children know that when they wobble about work or relationships, they have to check – is it 3 weeks, 3 months or even 3 years!

And we are 3 months into this strange world, where we have to decide if we keep going or break out of lockdown, with a totally uncertain future ahead of us. It’s like running a marathon where we don’t know the finish line. So, I am not surprised that I am wobbling: at least my Japanese friend could return to a world he knew!

Arabella Ellis
Founder & Director CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
Resilience is key to running this marathon. Not soldiering on, or pushing through pain, but rather paying attention to ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings and our relationships, and taking actions that will help and protect us now and for the future.   Making the focus sustainable.
 
Reflect
Are you looking after yourself in a way that makes you proud? Looking after your emotions, your health, your sleep, and your relationships?
 
Fix
Do you know which activities help you recalibrate and regain perspective? Are there ones that you have let slip in this lockdown world, which you would benefit from turning the dial up on again?

Snippet – No.11: Open-minded

Snippet – No.11: Open-minded

As an habitual optimist, I am drawn to all the new and exciting possibilities in any situation, so when lockdown began my thoughts were “there is so much potential to harness here.”

But my temporary openness and its accompanying high has so often come crashing down fast. A public figure falling from grace or a big company making a short-sighted decision, or even a friend adopting the narrative of ‘the enemy’ on whichever of the many public dramas was around, has surprisingly often catapulted me from a mindset of openness to one of harsh judgement in the flick of a browser screen!

Despite thinking of myself as an open-minded, compassionate individual, I have learned that especially when emotions run high, I too jump to premature conclusions and can be fixed in my judgements.

Clare Cohen
Consultant, Fan & Collaborator CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
People who are open-minded are receptive to new and different ideas and the views of others. They care about reducing the bias or distortion in their own views and beliefs and are good at listening to others with an unprejudiced mind and respecting their views and beliefs.
 
Reflect
How can you suspend your own judgement for a little while longer? How could you invoke more of your curiosity whenever you feel you are “so right” about something?
 
Fix
Experiment with assuming that ‘the other side’ has something important for you to hear – whether you agree with it or not. Your job is simply to seek that out from the rest of the ‘noise’ in their argument that could be distracting you.

Snippet – No.10: Optimism

Snippet – No.10: Optimism

When I think back to March, when our worlds changed completely, I remember feeling a huge sense of worry, dread and fear – there were so many sleepless nights! I felt anxious about all the people who would become ill or lose loved ones, those on the front line, our economy… but also in a selfish way – how would I get through it on a personal level, trying to juggle work, home schooling our 7 year old while entertaining a 2 year old. It was hard to feel optimistic with so much uncertainty ahead.

Although it’s only been 2 months, it feels like a lifetime ago, and here we are now with a sense of our freedom returning and life resuming to a new kind of normality. And I’ll admit: I will miss lockdown. When will I ever get the opportunity to spend such a huge amount of time with my husband and our 2 daughters without having to share them with anyone else: no visitors, school run to rush for, or plans to make. I still don’t know what’s ahead, but we made it this far… and as much as I love being with my daughters, I am looking forward to having some time to myself soon!

Victoria Harflett
Customer & User Engagement CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
As George Harrison wrote in his song ‘All things must pass’ – “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, a cloud burst doesn’t last all day… It’s not always going to be this grey.” Our mood and feelings are not permanent things – even if they feel it at the time. Thinking of the positives in a situation, even when it feels very bleak, can turn a negative into a positive.

Reflect
How has your mood changed during lockdown? What are the positives that have emerged for you?

Fix
If the you now could talk to the anxious or bleak you from the start of lockdown, what would you say? How can you use this wisdom the next time you are feeling anxious?

Snippet – No.9: Other awareness

Snippet – No.9: Other awareness

What I learned from 5 days off in lockdown with a broken phone!

Could I really keep sane without all the distractions I’m used to: 9am check-ins, 2x weekly Zoom pub quizzes and an endless stream of WhatsApp video suggestions, all out of access for the foreseeable future and all normal day-out activities closed down during lockdown.

Walking around the empty streets of central London without music, podcasts and the ability to instantly connect or share my experience with other people felt alien, but after a while I guess I found it refreshing.

I began to notice what was around me: on one particular day when I was walking on Primrose Hill, I am convinced an escaped rare parrot landed next to me. I didn’t and couldn’t take a photo and the parrot flew away. Was this a missed opportunity? Or maybe the image sent to my 25-person chat, would have confirmed “It’s just a Parakeet. Did anyone see the Bundasliga yesterday?”

Angus Hopper
Marketing Lead CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
Lock-down without my phone meant I noticed things I would otherwise have missed – the sounds, smells, sites of my hometown. There is so much to like in these simple daily pleasures.

Reflect
What details of your life have you noticed recently that you may have taken for granted before? Is it the sound of birds, or the crack in the plaster that needs fixing, or something else?

Fix
Choose an app that you use on a daily basis. Don’t open it for 24hrs and notice what you feel, think and do differently.

Snippet – No.8: Resilience

Snippet – No.8: Resilience

When I think about my next development goal, I am torn between choosing ‘Resilience’ (my anxieties are not about death, but rather about job losses and poverty – my family after all were Jewish war refugees) and ‘Influential’ (can I use this time to find my influencer voice?).

Choosing Resilience is driven by a desire to understand and change the anxiety inside myself about money, because I know it is not based on fact.

Choosing Influential is for the future, an opportunity to add something specific to my repertoire, to project my voice outward.

I realised as I was out for a walk at the weekend (walking works really well for me as a way of getting perspective) that this choice reflects something I’ve been writing about and working with my coaching clients: what is the source of our impulse to want to develop? Does it come from within or from without?  

Arabella Ellis 
Founder & Director CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
We can think of our development goals as falling into 2 categories:

a) learning to thrive in a changing environment (new job, new role, new boss, new city, new relationship etc). These are all external change factors, things that happen to us that require a change of us or present us with an opportunity to change.

b) a desire to change myself because I am not thriving, whether it’s in my life, my work or my relationships. These are internally driven changes based on noticing personal discomfort or having this pointed out by someone else, even when it’s hard to hear.

Reflect
What information do you pay attention to that indicates you need to change? What signs do you miss or avoid? How open are you to the idea that change is an opportunity?

Fix
Learn to identify goals from both categories. Pick a goal that you’ve already set yourself or one that you’d like to set. Identify whether it’s driven from the inside or the outside. Now choose an additional goal that is driven by the opposite. Which goal are you more likely to achieve?

Snippet – No.7: Perspective

Snippet – No.7: Perspective

When I’m feeling the strain, I usually take a task in front of me and focus it down, throwing all my attention and effort at it until it’s done. But, as a consequence, I lose track of everything else that is going on around me. I lose track of the context behind why I’m doing that task, as well as the feelings and objectives of other people in the team; I lose perspective.

Over the last few weeks I’ve delivered big upgrades to our platform to host the new teams content; however I have felt frustrated because I don’t have a solution for that sense of ‘losing perspective’, and I feel I ought to have one.

However, the process of writing this snippet and going through it with my colleagues has helped me realise something new – I don’t have to have a solution!
Development isn’t an either/or process – it’s not like you have it or you don’t. The first step toward change is awareness and taking the time to talk about what is going on.

Daniel Huggins
Founder & Systems Architect CharacterScope

Snippet, Reflect, Fix

Snippet
Awareness is a vital first step in a change process. Being aware of what you know and don’t know, do and don’t do, feel and don’t feel, helps us tune in to the opportunity for growth.

Reflect
Is there something in your life, or in yourself at the moment, where you are out of sorts or not feeling your usual calm – or even where other people tell you “you are out of sorts” (however hard that is to hear)?

Fix
Share your reflections with at least one other person, to hear their thoughts and broaden your perspective.