青年園地: Self-Leadership During Lockdown

Andy Lee

It has been 55 days since the UK government announced lockdown. Lisa and I have just finished joining our church’s online service for the 9th week in a row; I’ve spent more time on Zoom calls in the last two months than I had in the previous 12 months combined. 

Jeans have been replaced with joggers, and I miss Dim Sum.

I’ve had friends who had contracted Covid-19, and others sharing their tales of the strain they’re under as a frontline worker. Things have shifted pretty significantly over the past few months. Whatever happens, the world as we know it is gone. Things will never go back to the way they once were.

That’s not me saying things will never be as good. From what I’ve noticed personally and from a distance, we’re all – at some level – redefining for ourselves what good actually means.

This pandemic has shifted the world on many levels: economically, politically, socially ,etc., although I won’t discuss in detail how. What I do want to talk about ? However, is how exposing this whole thing has been for each and every one of us on an individual level.

Whatever we’re feeling, whatever we’re thinking, whatever change we want to see out there…it all starts with us. As in you. As in me.

There has been a myriad of emotions during this time. I’ve seen people react with fear, stress, a sense of loss, uncertainty and nervousness. Others with hope, excitement, peace and even boredom.

These feelings that we experience are all acceptable and normal. We’re created to feel, they’re natural and are part of the human experience.

But the missing link here, the bit that we need to wake up to, the part that starts and ends with us, is using our feelings to justify our decision-making.

Our feelings can explain our actions, but if we use them as the cause for what we do then we’re slaves to our emotions.

This rationalisation can be the reason why we feel out of control, out of our depth and overwhelmed by our circumstances.

Absolutely, it’s a scary time. I have felt unsettled and have been in a state of worry over my finances. I have at times felt a little lost, without the set structures and routines that dictated the rhythm of my days. I have been sad not being able to meet up with family and friends in person. The majority of us have had zero physical contact with anyone outside of our own household for months – that’s crazy!

It would be very easy here (and naturally) to point the finger at our government, our employer, even at the virus itself for MAKING me worried, anxious, even bored. You can do that. Millions have and are doing so. But what good does that do?

Opportunity is all around you if you just look. It’s not even about knowing where to look. It’s about making a conscious and intentional decision that you can do something, and then as if by magic opportunities start showing up everywhere!

I’ve seen many comments on Facebook about people being bored, and are struggling to fill the time- especially if they’ve been furloughed. I get it. But at the same time, I don’t get it.

We’re bored because we don’t have structure. We’re bored because we don’t have an employer giving us targets and telling us what to focus on. This is quite revealing, isn’t it?

It exposes how well we lead our own lives.

When we’re left on our own, when we don’t have instructions to follow (think about the recent criticism on the government for not telling us exactly what we can and can’t do), we struggle under our leadership of self.

During this unprecedented (“Word of the Year” so have to include it) time, we can wait or we can act.

If you’re sleeping in, then choose to sleep in. Don’t default to being a couch potato because there’s nothing else to do.

If you’re binge-watching TV, then choose to do it. Don’t say it’s because you’re furloughed.

If you’re eating more and exercising less then own it. Don’t say it’s because you can’t go to the gym or run for the bus like you normally would.

The key difference is taking ownership of your actions.

You cause your actions.

It’s a deeper level of self-honesty that might be uncomfortable for you. But if you choose to admit your ownership of your actons, you’re increasing your self-leadership because if you don’t like what you see, you can decide to go in a different direction.

In case you think I’m speaking from a pedestal here, I’m not.

I’ve yo-yoed with my sleeping patterns, added more TV series to my Netflix watchlist, and accused my scales for being broken (it’s electronic!).

What I’m personally pursuing, is becoming the person I need to become to fulfil the bigger mission that God’s called me to.

What are you pursuing?