Prepare for the Newer Normal — a Post Covid World

peek thru blinds at sun

As we look at the positive news of the day (and we sure deserve some good news), our thoughts move ahead to the people we will connect with and the places we will return to.  It might be family we have not been able to see for a long time. It might be a job that will bring its employees back together in one location. It feels hopeful and pretty exciting as well as a little scary! There’s an imminent change in the air.  Are we ready for it? How can we pivot once again and feel like we are in control?

Start with Yourself

A good place to start is to look back over the months spent navigating the pandemic. We are not out of the woods yet, but we have had time to adapt to what is called “the new normal.” So, how did you spend your quarantine time? There is no doubt we were caught off guard by the sudden, required changes in our lifestyles. How did you react?  What character traits did you and those around you display? How did your relationships go?

I know…a lot of questions.

Well, this is the perfect time to pause and ask questions and do some self-reflection to decide how successful we want our lives to be as we move forward. We need to examine where we are at this moment so we can be more confident about handling the changes ahead. I would not go as far as Socrates did when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” However, the unexamined life is often stuck in a rut and wanting for more. Since the only people we can truly change in this world are ourselves, the time is ripe to look inside and recover what is most meaningful.

Before being thrown together in a “reunion” atmosphere, we can actively think about our relationship with self and the other people we are about to encounter. We are coming back together after being deeply affected by the Coronavirus. We have been in self-preservation mode for a long time. Our perspectives on life, other people, and the world may have changed. Some may have become more cynical. Others may have truly embraced their altruistic side. It’s all highly personal.

We need to do the work now to understand and accept ourselves where we are at today before we can successfully empathize with others and appreciate where they are coming from, as we move back together.

How Do I Check In With Myself?

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”

– John Dewey, American Philosopher

Observing self is a lifelong process. We are in a continuous state of change. This makes it imperative that we look at and experience our ‘current’ selves. Are we disappointed that we did not get more done during lockdown?  Were there tense moments where we took our frustration out on those in our homes? It’s okay. We are human and we are flawed. It is time to grant ourselves forgiveness by taking these difficult lessons and learning where to improve from them. Observe what has happened in the past and really consider what you can change in the future.

Come Back Better

I believe that getting our “newer” normal in line with our goals will center around relationships. How we understand and relate to each other is critical during the easing of the pandemic constrictions. We cannot hide out at home or behind a Zoom screen. We will be face-to-face again and we can embrace this time as one of true growth and personal development. What a great opportunity lies before us!

In my soon-to-be published book, Five Senses for Success: Strategies to Thrive in Any Arena,  (coming this month!), I present many pathways to alleviating the stress and trauma that are inherent in our journey of personal development. I have developed practices using ‘5 modified senses’ (observe, listen, feel, engage, appreciate) to help us acknowledge our own biases and shed patterns that don’t serve us, while enhancing our trust-building and influencing skills. You can apply these senses to personal reflection as well as to the conversations and connections with others.

Emerge as a Leader

Connecting again with others goes beyond talking. Connecting with others engages all of our senses. Preparing yourself through the practices in the book can be particularly successful for those who are in leadership positions. Co-workers may be in a totally different frame of mind than when you last were in each other’s company. How you reconnect and how safe you make it for those around you will establish trust. For example, by intentionally using senses such as observing and engaging in active listening from the start, you can have more effective conversations. Being totally present as you reconnect will make barriers that may have formed during isolation less formidable.

Best of all, you can practice this right now with the family and friends who are currently in your bubble. Give them your full attention. Let go of past or preconceived ideas and really listen. Let them speak without interruption by your words or in your own thoughts. Engage with and appreciate the totality of who they are. Watch as the other person blossoms in the safe environment you have created to communicate with them.

Bring it Back to You

“Make space and time for yourself to sit in silence and acknowledge the emotions that cropped up with your recent experience.”

– Juli Geske Peer, 5 Senses for Success

Before we come together in the physical sense, let’s ready ourselves to come together in the emotional sense. First, let’s stand in our own shoes and recognize what we have been through and how it has affected us. After that, we can stand in another’s shoes and have healthier, revitalized relationships as the world makes its latest pivot to the newer normal.

Won’t it feel wonderful to be prepared?


My book, 5 Senses for Success: Strategies to Thrive in Any Arena, is soon to be published and you can reserve a copy now by following this link:

Juli Geske Peer is a leadership and relationship practitioner whose professional credentials include two academic degrees, mediator training, train-the-trainer certification, two coaching certifications, and numerous other learning and certification accomplishments.

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