Are we still talking about Covid?

It’s been three years since the first lockdown in the UK. I often look back to those times with mixed emotions, ranging from optimistic to taxing. It was a time where the word ‘uncertainty’ was given its full credit.

So why bring it up yet again? Isn’t everyone tired of talking about those ‘unprecedented times’?

As the UK (and world) gets ready to celebrate the coronation of a new King, I look around the room feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment for the team around me, and I reflect on all the change – both positive and challenging — that the world has seen in the past few years. I’m taken back to those ‘uncertain times’ that were Covid, and I contemplate how it was this team who created some emblem of certainty during those months of lockdown. It was the energy and pragmatism of the people, now sat around me, who kept our brilliant business going.

I found it much harder to inspire people during the months of lockdown – while I’m more naturally introverted, I get my energy from being around people, so it was tough not feeling connected to my team. I realised how important communication was to me then, and still is now.

But as I sat at my desk reflecting back on those days, it struck me while it was an extremely challenging time for so many, we need to remember the positive things that came out of this otherwise tragic period. Afterall, it would be even more tragic not to have learnt from such a big world event.

On a personal note, it put many things into perspective. Life is precious, it’s demanding, and it goes by so fast. I’m very grateful for the time I got to spend with my immediate family during lockdown.

From a professional perspective, it taught me that we all need to be more caring – more human – and we need to look after our own physical, mental, and developmental wellbeing, as well as being mindful of what others may be going through.

On the talent front, a big, but overdue change is the need to have more purpose in the work we do. For many, work is more than just work. More and more, people want to work for businesses that will take care of them in challenging times, they want a place that will offer flexibility to differing life circumstances. They want to be surrounded by people with similar values, and a business that wants to protect our world for the next generation.

Life really is short – we can’t abuse time like so many of us did before. Knowing what is important to you and make sure you prioritise it is essential:

  • Reach out to your loved ones whenever you can – make sure they know they are important to you
  • Set boundaries for yourself – focus on selfcare and know what is achievable. You won’t be able to do it all
  • It’s okay to ask for help – it might not feel like it, but people like to be asked
  • Celebrate the good stuff
  • Remember we’ve only got one chance at life, so make it count

The world comes together

During the pandemic we experienced some immediate and incredible change. As I list off these items, it serves no further purpose than to remind myself of some of the amazing feats we can achieve when people come together:

  • Advancements in technology that allowed us to connect both personally and professionally, which meant many businesses were able to keep going. It was this technology that also made the annual review of London Scottish RFC possible with patron, Princess Anne.
  • There was a realisation that it was possible to move at a quicker pace for creating modern medication that had previously taken years to pass through
  • There was an incredible and increased appreciation for our key workers who took care of us during this period

Building stronger nations

While I feel optimistic about the future, the last 18 months have seen further disruption with ongoing geopolitical instability, multiple changes to the leadership of the UK, the war on Ukraine, and cost of living crisis. We’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, and I truly believe we’re more adaptable and resilient, and therefore stronger to be able to deal with what life brings.

But the need to continually learn and adapt is critical. No longer should we accept things because of what they were before. Let’s positively challenge ourselves more to ensure we get the best out of life, work and everything around us.

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live”

Robert Kennedy

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