Balinese street signs conveying caution or danger say “Hati Hati”, translated “care care”. What a loving sentiment-to “care” rather than recoil from danger. My dad always said, “Have fun with care,” which I have echoed to my children. And we have!

With today’s pandemic, with offices and schools shut down, businesses closing and the stock market plunging, we may be focused more on “danger!” in the “jungle” rather than “fun”. Instead of listening to our brains’ “danger” alarms going off during all this change, how can we shift to “care” and even moments of fun?

One of my mentor coaching clients said that her learning from me and practicing the care with “bookends” of coaching has lead to her relaxing more in her coaching sessions. Coaching bookends include starting with a clear agreement, tying it to energizing vision and measures for success and ending with asking about your client’s accountability team as well as discoveries and take-aways. As I review her client recordings with her for competency feedback, I can hear the resulting laughter and lightness as she has relaxed and is having more fun coaching with those clear practices in place.

In today’s uncertain environment, what structures are you putting into place so you can relax and have fun with care? What bookend practices do you have for beginning and ending your business day when you are suddenly home officing?

The leaders and teams I’m coaching are finding ease and even fun with “care” practices, including bookends:

1.One of my coaching client transitioning to working from home decided, like Mr. Rogers, that she would continue to change clothes at the beginning and end of her work day to help mark the boundary between work and play .*

2.Teams may have fun rituals for beginning and ending meetings, like sharing and applauding successes.

Teams also always function better with clear expectations about communication and roles, including each team member’s role in fulfilling the team’s inspiring vision. Our team coaching starts with a check-in and moves to an agreed upon agenda, frequently involving clarifying one or more of these areas: expectations, communication, roles, and vision, and wrapping up with take-aways which can include mindset shifts, action plans and accountability. Moving to virtual work increases the need for clarity. Change requires more frequent and clear communication. Good news: systems in the midst of transition are more open to positive change.

Team leaders are wisely checking in with a caring coaching question like this one from HBR,“What can I do to make sure that this sudden and quick transition is working for you?” as well as scheduling virtual coffees and more informal check-ins.

3.Consider care practices including bookends that can lead to greater ease and fun:

  • Going outside: “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.” Anne Frank. How she must have longed to be outside when she was in forced isolation, hiding from the Nazis. I am going outside and walking with friends and family, from a social distance, to also fulfill my need to physically be with others as well as exercise.
  • Journaling
  • Prayer and/or meditation, centering, holding an intention, diaphragmatic breathing, laughter, movement, looking away from screens: proven by research to have a positive impact, with bonus benefits when practiced more frequently than the beginning and ending of the day! (The Institute for Stress Management recommends taking one minute an hour breaks) Note: these activities contribute to:
  • Living moment by moment, to stay fully present rather than fear of what could be
  • Inspirational reading
  • Gardening, cooking, crossword puzzles
  • Taking time for your favorite coffee or tea; even a little chocolate! (Confession: I am allowing myself 3 rather than 1 chocolate per day now!)
  • Music: I have binaural beats on while I am working, some use it to fall asleep. I switch to Aretha Franklin for cooking and household tasks, incorporating some dance. What is your favorite music?
  • Declutter to create more space while in isolation. You might discover a treasure!
  • Care for your family, neighbors, pets: doing something for someone else (whether or not you feel like it) raises our endorphin levels, the “feel good” chemical in our bodies.
  • Drink water, wash your hands. Again, bonus benefits for doing this frequently!

Note: most of these are drawn from my Renewing Your Spirit workbook. What would you add?

What needs extra “Care” in your life, team, organization right now?

2020 update: what seemed challenging six years ago adjusting to Bali pales in comparison to what we are facing now. And I see how my three month journey helped prepare me for today’s pandemic. What experiences and care practices contribute to your thriving through this pandemic?

Apply for an Unlock Potential Strategy Session with me to explore how you, your team, your organization are practicing care in light of our VUCCA challenges.

The rest of my 2014 blog from Bali: My favorite book in high school was “Lost Horizon” about the fictional Shangri-La “paradise”, “a permanently happy land.” I feel like I am there in Bali! You saw the video view in my last blog.

And even in Paradise here in Bali at our just completed coach training program, there are things to “care” or “take care” about, like the lizard that lives in our bathroom (eating bugs, I reassure myself), the shiny light green poisonous snake that has passed my path in front of me several times, and the passing vehicles on curvy mountain two lane roads. Not even the ambulance could get through! Not reassuring when you consider the poisonous snake.

Lizard

Lizard

A bat that flew in our bungalow one rainy morning and the 100 steep slippery when rainy steps we climb from our river valley bungalow 100 slippery stepsand the village music waking us at 5am as this is cremation ceremony season round out the “Hati Hati” Care list. (And all so worth it! I “simply” increased my focus of where I stepped and adjusted to a new setting and culture)

It can also be a jungle inside, as we experienced in our transformational coach training program. We discovered our own polarities and patterns and how to work with our coaching clients’ and their organizational patterns.

What needs extra “Care” in your life, organization right now?

To our success, we are in this together! (I have been closing my messages like this for a few years now, and it seems even more significant in our “collective isolation”)

See you next week!

Marilyn O’Hearne, MA, MCC

#unlockallpotential Culturally Intelligent Executive, Leadership, Team and Mentor Coaching; Supervision

*I was quoted in a magazine on this topic. Now that I’m home and clearing out my office, maybe I’ll find it!

Update of blog originally published August 11, 2014 on my three month “untethering” journey in Asia Pacific