March 31, 2020
Does academic work feel like a waste of time right now? It feels crazy to plan when you have no idea what’s coming. Ultimately, what’s the point? If these thoughts have crossed your mind, you’re not alone. Let’s dig in.
Let’s say we knew for certain that social distancing and this current upheaval would last for 5 years – What would you choose to work on? What would still give you purpose and drive? How would you build a routine?
Here is the truth – we are never “going back” to anything. We are only going to move through this and co-create this world during and post-Corona. If that is true, what work stays alive for you?
The reasons why you started your work is the secret to finding your motivation now. If your reasons have more to do with institutional culture, comparison, and external definitions of ‘hard work’ – it’s time for radical change. This is why aligning your work with your values is so critical – work without purpose can’t survive challenge, it crumbles under upheaval.
And – the opposite is also true. In the face of challenge, the work that you love is what you protect, fiercely. You don’t throw away months of progress, because come hell or high water, that’s the work that must survive this. You seize the opportunity to take care of yourself – against any resistance – because there is no better time to learn professional boundaries, how to manage your energy, and how to navigate your way to what you want in your career. If you can walk now, you will sprint when this is over.
I’m writing you today because when fear and anxiety take the wheel – nothing seems worth it. We can only imagine future disaster. We spend precious time in corrosive anger, exhausting ourselves. We put everything on hold, waiting for “this” to be over. We waste our precious time.
Fear and anxiety are real – but they don’t have to be in the driver’s seat. Put them in the backseat. They get to talk, and you can listen, but they don’t get to make decisions.
Your CEO makes decisions. Put her in the driver’s seat. The skies are overcast, it’s rainy, and the current pandemic is a serious and dangerous storm… She is the decision-maker. She is calm and resolute. Listen to her – she knows where you’re going. Trust her – she’s smart enough to adjust the route and still stay on course. Encourage her – now is not the time to quit.
On the contrary, this is when you find out just what your team has got.
The only way out is through. The only certainty is that change will continue. The only security is that you get to choose who is in your driver’s seat.