Is there a positive side to Covid? I can almost see your aghast expressions but before you stone me, if you really think about it, there are some positives to come out of this horrid pandemic.
Here, I am sharing an article by Sid Madge who is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) helping people achieve extraordinary lives. Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people from students, teachers, leaders of large corporations to SME’s as well as carers, unemployed even prison inmates.
ABOUT SID MADGE
Sid Madge is a brand strategist with over 30 years’ experience setting up his own agency back in 2009. Since then, he’s crafted brand identities for countless companies, and held workshops with over 1,000 businesses and 3,000 young people every year. It was during one of these workshops that Sid developed the idea for the Meee Programme, realising that he could channel his branding expertise to help people believe in who they are. After asking a group of school pupils to pick one word to describe themselves, Sid was horrified that 15% used terms like ‘freak, ‘weirdo’ and ‘misfit’. These words would come up time and again – not just with students, but with adults of all ages.
During the last two years, Sid Madge has been creating tools to help people feel more confident in themselves and to recognise and believe in their abilities. In March 2015, Sid was invited to Number 10 Downing Street to present the Meee Programme to Lord Young, who endorsed it as ‘a great initiative’. He’s now working with Job Centres, rehabilitation centres and educational establishments across the UK. Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work or family life in 60 seconds.
5 micro-ideas to help you work your way out of C-O-V-I-D By Sid Madge, Meee
We all heard about the unknown virus in China 16 months ago but who realised just what a profound effect it would have on all of us? I’m a great believer in ‘micro-moments’, the ability to change our life in any moment and how to use these tiny manageable interventions to gain positive momentum – even when things are challenging. I’ve written three Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work. And I’ve used this approach here – only this time I’m recycling the word Covid and making it into a handy acronym to help as we re-shape the months ahead of us.
Create a better situation for yourself and others
The pandemic itself has been a nightmare. But it has brought some stillness and reflection into many of our lives. Forced, at least temporarily to exit the hamster wheel of our busy lives we have been given a unique opportunity to stop, breathe and ponder our lives. And that stillness seems to have created a real desire for change. According to a YouGov poll only 8% of Britons want to go back to life as it was before the pandemic.
What’s shifted is that many of us have come to appreciate, perhaps for the first time in many years what’s really important. And it’s not been what we thought it was. Primarily that reconnection to what’s important has come from extended periods at home with family but it is also encouraging us to consider what life is going to be like after. C is an invitation to create something new or better. Something that works for all the parts of your life. Take a minute to consider your current situation. Imagine the pandemic is a distant memory – what is your ideal life like now? Forget about bold dreams and grand gestures, focus on the little things, the insights you’ve learned in this stillness about what makes you happy – go after more of that.
Optimism is opportunity
Are you a glass half-empty or glass-half full sort of person? Most of us believe we are one or the other and yet science has proven that actually we operate across a range that is impacted a little by genetics but mainly our environment and our mindset. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology suggests that pessimism is largely learned. Which mean it can be unlearned. The key is through what he called ‘explanatory style’. This is the way we draw meaning from events and situations that we face. Those with learned helplessness, i.e., uber pessimism tend to see things as personal, pervasive and permanent. In other words, when things go wrong it’s their fault and will ‘infect’ all other areas of their life. So, a lost job will spell doom for a relationship and lead to ill health – that sort of thing. Also, whatever is wrong or challenging is permanent.
Nothing is permanent not even Covid. Flip the switch for a while. See every challenge as beyond your control, that is certainly true of Covid. That’s not to say you avoid responsibility, we all still need to do our bit and stay safe. If things are challenging in one part of your life, don’t allow that upset to seep into other areas. Instead, be grateful for all the things that are still working and still going well. When we nudge our way to the optimistic end of our range, we will see more opportunity and feel better.
Values will keep you focused on what’s important.
Everything we do can be explained by our values. Our actions and behaviour are usually a living expression of those values. Do you know what your values are? When I worked in the world of branding, we used to help organisations get clear on what their values were so they could understand the impact they were having on the business, behaviour, recruitment and culture. When I started the Meee Programme I created something similar – a set of 56 values cards. We ask participants to look through the cards and pick five values that resonate with them or that they want to demonstrate in their life. Take a minute to visit the Meee website (www.meee.global) and take part in the values exercise – this will help you to identify what your values are. What’s most important to you in your life? Money? Family? Kindness? Honesty? What do you stand for? What are your ethics or code of conduct? Can you see evidence of these values in your life? For example, if you believe you value kindness, when did you last demonstrate kindness? If you really want to know what you value look at what you do. Use your values to keep you focused on what’s really important.
Involve those that need your help, love, support and leadership.
Humans are social creatures. This is a huge part of why Covid has been such a nightmare for so many. The threat of the illness itself is almost secondary to the loss of contact with those we love. No hugs, no meeting for a coffee or a couple of beers. But we can still get involved and stay connected. Maybe slip a note through a neighbour’s door to make sure they are OK. Can you do some shopping for someone who needs a little extra help? Pick up the phone and actually make a call. Not a WhatsApp or Instagram comment. Just call them. Have a chat. Set up a quiz and get all your friends on it by Zoom. Now that we have a little more freedom, go for a walk, get out into nature. Whatever you do – reach out, get involved. We might not be able to do all the things we used to do quite yet but we can still talk and stay connected. Hugs should be coming soon. Can’t wait!
Dial down the stress – this too shall pass.
Make it a priority to focus on selfcare, offer kindness and hope to yourself and others. Be gentle with yourself. Get out into nature if you can and make sure you eat properly. Take exercise or do some activity a few times a week – this will help to discharge any stress you feel. And perhaps wind down with meditation. You’ll find masses of free resources online.
If you’re suffering with your mental health, please see a professional for advice. Here is an article that I wrote back in 2019 which has lots of useful tips to help brighten up your mood.