The Advisor

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Developing Emotional Agility for Well-Being and Increased Productivity

By Susan Power, PowerUp Leadership


Since the pandemic started, I wake up each night at 2 o’clock, full of anxiety. As a single mom and entrepreneur, I have never felt this level of intense pressure about my family’s future and my children’s well-being. Some days I cannot help but ask myself, What is the point? This is an impossible situation. But then I catch myself, and say F*$%ck it!


Giving up is not who we are and certainly not the type of behaviour that we want to model for our families and children.

So, each morning, I get up, drink my three cups of coffee, do my exercises, and get to work, the best I can. Yes, right now, I am continuously interrupted with “Mom, can I have a snack?” “Mom, can you help me with this fraction assignment?” “Mom, can you put on a new YouTube video?” But each day I get up, put one foot in front of the other, and do the best I can—the best I can to coach and advise my clients, the best I can to be strong, the best I can to earn a living that I feel proud of despite a very trying situation.


I grieve the innocence of our old world gone. I feel immense guilt that my children are not currently experiencing the type of childhood that I envisioned. Rather than playing with other children outside, they are glued to screens. No more summer camps or birthday parties with friends: they are not engaging and playing with other kids. It takes a lot of emotional agility to be productive right now. Some days are better than others.


If you feel grief and are struggling to find your emotional balance during COVID-19, be compassionate with yourself.

Your grief may be due to a lost connection with someone who you care about; it might be for a vacation that you would have taken, a missed graduation, a cancelled wedding, a lost contract or opportunity, a relative you cannot visit ... Grief is an indication that something you care about, or someone important to you, is missing. If you are feeling the loss of a connection to a loved one, you may want to reach out to that person today to let them know you miss them.


To develop emotional agility during turbulent times, the best thing we can do is not ignore the emotion, but ask, “What is the emotion telling me? What is it telling me that I care about?” Emotions are valuable intelligence and can shine a guiding light.


What is resilience and how do we foster it in our lives?

“Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves ‘bouncing back’ from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth” (“Building Your Resilience,” American Psychological Association, February 2020).


Employees’ anxiety and stress levels have never been higher and will continue to skyrocket as workplaces and schools reopen. Employees are concerned about their careers, health, loved ones, and finances. They want daily updates from their employers about actions taken to protect them. Employers need to provide more support for employee wellness, resilience, and transitioning to this “new normal.”


Coaching has never been a more necessary service to support employee wellness and emotional well-being than today. Employees are telling us their productivity and performance are nosediving.

There are strategies to build resilience despite fear and to lean into a more values-focused reaction.


Compassion

is crucial in any difficult situation. Have compassion for your fear, your team’s fear, and how well you are coping each day.


Acknowledge and name

your emotions to create a space between the emotion and yourself. You are not your fear. Difficult emotions will pass.


Courage

is not the absence of fear but the facing of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty — be curious about your emotions and do not ignore them.


Values

are critical to navigating stressful situations: take the time to write down who you want to be and what is important to you. This will help guide you toward the life you want to build and put things into perspective.


We will get through this together and be a stronger community because of it.



By Susan Power, PowerUp Leadership


Susan Power is the owner & CEO of Power Up Leadership Inc, a boutique human resources company specializing in coaching and building leadership capability. Susan has worked in human resources for 15+ years building her consulting skills at the global management consulting firm Accenture. In 2016, Susan sold her first human resources consulting business (Higher Talent) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and is building another practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Susan is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) and has her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Calgary. Susan can be contacted at susan@powerupleadership.ca; she invites you to check out her and Tyler Bayley’s Inspired Leadership™ podcast and reach out to share an Inspired Leadership™ story.