Surviving September Means Reframing The Storm
September. Such a special time… ordinarily. It can feel like the goal is to survive the beginning of any month—and sometimes the end for many of us. We long for the end of June, the beginning of summer holidays for some. A time to slow down, relax, visit with friends and family. Maybe even travel to a new part of the country or overseas. But the pandemic changed our summer, and it’s certainly changed our fall. Surviving September is wrought with shifting guidelines, rules, requirements. It can feel like we’re trying to stand on a water balloon.
So, how do we weather the September storm?
Surviving September: it’s different for everyone
I hear a variety of thoughts and feelings about this time of year in my work. Kids are heading back to kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, senior high and post-secondary.
As parents, we never stop feeling diverse emotions during these transitions. This school year is different, though. So much is up in the air. But, we look forward to a return to routines for our children and ourselves.
Some schools are restricting extracurricular activities. Others are going full steam ahead. And, we have to navigate the rules and make choices for ourselves and our families. It’s challenging—the perfect storm.
Some kids will thrive back in the classroom, regardless of the pandemic restrictions. The ‘sit-at-a-desk’ school is a welcome environment. They won’t miss the after-school activities.
Others thrive on the spontaneous interaction that comes from sports, drama and debate clubs. The interactions aren’t as scripted. And they require groups of people to interact in close proximity.
This September, that’s missing.
September in the workplace: new territory
Let’s be honest. Who’s had their fill of virtual meetings over the past year and a half? I know I’m missing face-to-face contact with my clients and colleagues. And I don’t feel like I got much of a chance to recharge this summer.
Surviving September feels like a stretch.
How about you?
There are workplace dynamics that have unfolded since the start of this pandemic. Some people have found a way to balance their work and home demands – they’ve mastered the art of compromise.
Others found it as the perfect alibi for their work to always get delayed. They made an art form out of using the chaos of their home office as their scapegoat.
In a tragic irony, this impacts other businesses and/or personnel, who then get upset because they have work to do, but they are waiting on this group or person to complete their work.
The ripples become waves and so the workplace boat is rocking.
Keep your head above water this September
Most of us have learned over this last season that some people do not handle stress very well. Their go-to approach is anger and blame as if that will motivate us to want to be more courteous and sociable.
Here’s an example from my summer: We had just put our boat in the lake and were going to park the vehicle and our trailer. There was another vehicle waiting to launch their boat. I told the couple to wait for just a moment while my wife and I grabbed our boat to move it to the other side of the dock.
The couple stared at us with a curious look.
We moved our boat and continued loading supplies while they launched their boat. They got their boat tied up. And then he looked at us with a smile and said, “I need to be honest. My wife and I just talked about what a different experience this was. It seems courtesy is in such a short supply these days. You really caught us off guard. Thank you.”
When in doubt, be gracious
Some people and organizations think things should start this month like it never slowed down or stopped. As if everything had continued unhindered and without interruption. Really?!
As workplaces, schools, and businesses, personal or home lives, start to find a new footing, start to define a new norm, we all need to find a way to do more than just survive but thrive. There’s got to be a way to do what we can without expecting others to do what we expect them to do.
There should be a way that we can do this nicely and not make things more fractious.
There is a simple, but not easy, solution to surviving September and the months and years to follow.
I’ll talk about those solutions in my next post. But if you’d like help navigating this challenging time, contact me. Let’s talk.
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