Over the past two weeks, I’ve organized four free Sensitive Striver Support Sessions where members of our community came together to process the professional fallout happening around the coronavirus pandemic.
We had such powerful, vulnerable, real conversations. There aren’t replays (that’s part of the magic of why they worked so well), but I of course want to share insights that we had. Here are the biggest takeaways.
Be Mindful of How Much Content You’re Consuming
Sensitive Strivers are easily overstimulated to begin with. This has gone on overdrive with the deluge of corona-content bombarding us at all times.
Choose your sources wisely. Don’t keep the TV on at all hours. Staying informed is important, so designate certain checkpoints in the day to drop in and get an update. Limit your information consumption when you’re feeling raw or right before you go to sleep.
Focus on Acclimation, Not Resignation
All structure and normalcy were ripped away from us quickly. Sensitive Strivers like (and need) time to adjust to changes, so this may have been especially disconcerting for you. One day your life was humming, then the rest you’re juggling kids, schooling, work, cooking, and the anxiety of all that’s unknown. It’s a lot, to say the least. It’d be easy to let each day bleed into the next.
Attendees said that their habits and routines have been a saving grace at this time. Each day, make a conscious decision about how you want to construct your schedule. One attendee said she thinks about her days in terms of percentages (percent of work vs fitness vs sleep, for example), which I thought was brilliant.
Make Yourself Efficient
Most of us are actually busier now. Plus, the ways you can meet your needs are restricted. Many attendees are finding creative ways to fit fitness in, like pacing or doing squats on conference calls. Others are making time for gratitude by thinking of three things they’re thankful for while washing their hands.
Drive Towards Short-term Goals
Right now, the people around you need direction. If you lead a team, now is the time to be extremely clear about what your people should be focusing on. You’re not being domineering, rather you’re responding to their emotional need for stability, vision, and hope. The same goes for managing yourself. Create short-term, daily or weekly goals. For the time being, suspend pondering your life plans. You’ll only drive yourself to stress and overthinking.
Sensitive Strivers tend to want to be everything to everyone. Many attendees of the support sessions expressed feeling like they internalize other people’s emotions. They want to make sure everyone else is happy and taken care of, often to the detriment of their own well-being. That sense of responsibility is a tremendous strength, but if left unchecked can deplete your quickly and lead to resentment.
First, adapt how you show up as a leader and manager. With everyone being remote, it’s essential that you look for ways to empower your team to be more independent. This can be hard for Sensitive Strivers who want to be everything to everyone. they will come to over-rely on you, which creates learned helplessness.
Create boundaries with family members and friends. Be explicit about what type of support you can provide for them and be brave sharing your own needs / limitations. Some attendees said they put their phone on “airplane mode” during the day so they can compartmentalize the influx of messages from others and not get distracted or overburdened by them.
Adjust Your Expectations
As a sensitive person, you’re probably processing a lot right now. You’re processing your own emotions and what’s going on in your own family. I heard that a lot of you are struggling with questions around working from home like “am I doing enough?” or “am I working on the right things?” and “am I spending my time wisely?”
The fact is that you don’t have the same mental or energetic space available as you would normally. Instead of fighting that, accept it. Honor it and yourself by adjusting your impossibly high expectations. Productivity will look different in this season, and that’s okay. There can actually be joy and relief found in not experiencing so much FOMO.
Cultivate Purpose and Meaning
What blew me away during these support sessions is the heart each and every attendee has. Most talked about the importance of generosity and being of service during this time. Whether that’s by organizing a neighborhood watch for at-risk community members, using their skills to offer free training, or literally being on the front lines to fight this disease, our community is focused on channeling their energy into contribution.
Sensitivity is Cool Now
One bright side of this upheaval is that the world is finally embracing values we as Sensitive Strivers have embodied for so long — ones like empathy, compassion, and thoughtfulness.
See This Time Period as an Opportunity
You, like many attendees expressed, may feel like quarantine is amplifying your insecurities. It may feel like unhelpful dynamics and self-sabotaging patterns are magnified. Is that uncomfortable? Yes. Can you choose to do something about it? Also yes. I was so impressed to hear how many attendees are using this period as a chance to better understand themselves. They’re tackling their fears and self-sabotaging patterns head-on. Because they know now is the perfect time to reset and re-evaluate how they approach themselves and their work. One attendee even said she’s “reinventing” herself –– using this time period as a reset to let go of what’s no longer serving her so she can make room for what will.