HOW and WHY we will bring something NEW out of the crisisFeb 26, 2021
I don't want to downplay the fear and uncertainty that many people are currently feeling. I would like to show a different perspective: the opportunity for all of us to tackle. Let us also learn from the past and use the involuntary and rough push from our comfort zone to the development zone for the positive.
Today's daily newspaper format emerged from an epidemic in the 18th century. The SARS Virus 2002 had similar limitations that we are experiencing today. This resulted in an expansion of the Internet business in China. In 2020, too, we will experience global restrictions on what we are used to - in all situations - whether at work, at school or socially. It is on us to use this experience in favour of our future.
As soon as we leave the comfort zone - whether voluntarily or forced by external influences - we are in the development zone. If the situation overwhelms us, it can also take us straight to the stress zone from which we have to get out quickly.
- We feel safe in the comfort zone; we know the situation from previous experience and largely know what to do. We are surrounded by routine tasks that we can master without effort. But there is hardly any development here; in other words, we are not learning anything new. This is where we were 1 to 3 months ago.
- As soon as we leave the comfort zone, voluntarily or through external influences, we are in the development zone. Things don't always go as we are used to here. Our previous experiences give us little orientation. Here are new rules of the game that we first must decipher. When we face these challenges, our brain forms new connections. We usually experience this creative phase stimulating because the new is exciting and the experimenting motivating. Through trial and error, we can discover what is working and not working here. So here is where development and learning take place. This is exactly where we need to be now.
- However, if the situation overwhelms us, we are in the stress zone. We experience the environment as unsafe, the tasks as dangerous and the consequences as threatening. We experience an unbearable inner tension. Our body gives us clear signals: breath becomes shallow, hands sweat, neck is tense. If this stress causes panic, we are hardly able to do things ourselves that we do quite well in everyday life. Now our focus is bare survival. This is the place we will do our best to avoid.
The current situation brings us out of the comfort zone. Many of us now work from home; for some of us it's the first time. How does it feel? Our familiar structures have so far given us orientation and support. It was very simple things, so natural that we hardly noticed them. Driving to work more or less at the same time; to meet the familiar faces on the way; a regular morning routine over a cup of coffee with the team. None of these is there anymore. How do you redesign your everyday work without these simple things that guide you and make sure that you take the opportunity and spend most of your time in the development zone?
Apart from the reality that we are unable to perform our comforting routines, at the same time, we are constantly bombarded with irritating or even partially scary news. We have many things to worry about: our jobs, economics, health system, family and friends, children’s education, to name some of them. How do we manage to keep ourselves away from the stress zone at a time like this? So that, we will keep doing our best, to be productive, to stay healthy.
Here are a few thoughts that could help you to experience the new situation not as a stress zone but as a development zone:
- Keep a few of the simple rituals of your everyday work
- Start your everyday life consciously at the usual time
- Put on your usual work clothes
- Take your morning coffee with a few colleagues over the phone for a casual chat
- Design your routine stand-up meeting as a video conference…
Experiment courageously and find out what works well for you and your team. The development zone is the new terrain that you will discover and capture through your creative methods. Dare to step into the unknown and new!