BLOGLeadershipNetworking

How to remain connected in times of isolation

By March 17, 2020April 15th, 2020No Comments

7 ways to nurture your network from home to avoid isolation

On Tuesday I ventured into the supermarket with my 11 and 16-year old sons, Carter and Flynn. Fifteen minutes in and I could feel my anxiety levels rising as I absorbed the panic around me.  Flynn became increasingly vocal about why people were buying more than they needed – “Why can’t people just buy what they want, Mum, surely then there would be enough for everyone”.  Err…Yep.  And Carter’s anxiety levels started to escalate out of control as he fearfully asked “Why? Why? Why?” It took a lot of digging deep to not throw my few items back on the empty shelves and shout to the heavens, “I’m One Very Anxious Parent…Get Me Out Of Here”

This got me thinking about the increasingly uncertain times we are all living in right now.  Adults, children, the older generation; entrepreneurs, small business owners, service providers, executives and leaders – every single one of us is affected by the daily unravelling of Covid-19 and its implications for ourselves, our families, our businesses and our futures.

From ToiletRoll-Gate to empty shelves in supermarkets; from managing the anxiety amongst our teams, clients and for me children to trying to remain as calm as possible as I create plan A, B and C for our business; from should I stay or should I go, should I venture out or isolate?

The questions are many and the answers are few. 

The only certainty that we all have is uncertainty.

Gabrielle Dolan earlier this week said to me, “Janine, we are a living and breathing example of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs”.  And how right she is.

Abraham Maslow proposed the theory of hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review.  He suggested;

  • our first need is the Physiological need for food and water – the evidence today is the self-perpetuating panic buying resulting in empty shelves and people’s fear of going without.
  • our second need is Safety – this is playing out in our demands on leaders to put our collective duty of care before all else, the self- isolation and the cancellation of group events to protect our health.
  • and the third need is Belonging – a sense of connectedness and togetherness.

This third need, a sense of Belonging, is one that I think is at risk right now.

Belonging is a pure basic human need. If we forget to intentionally reach out to network, connect and nurture the important relationships around us, the resulting isolation and disconnection will have further reaching ramifications on our individual health, well-being and personal success.

In a 2018 article published by the World Economic Forum titled Loneliness is a much more modern phenomenon than you might think, author Amelia S Worsley states, ‘Modern loneliness isn’t just about being physically removed from other people. Instead, it’s an emotional state of feeling apart from others — without necessarily being so’.  She explains that now loneliness is more difficult to overcome because it has moved ‘inward’—it’s now in our minds.  A lack of support, a sounding board to debate and discuss, a feeling that everything rests on our shoulders and a sense that there’s no-one there for us often fuel these feelings of isolation.

During these times of forced isolation and disconnection we need to intentionally nurture our Inner Circle and network.  Here are 7 ideas on how to remain connected in times of isolation:

  1. Be Intentional – Create a weekly plan and block out time to reach out and check in with your network – this isn’t about hustling for sales but more about building relationships with care at the core.
  2. Go Face-to-Face Virtually – Lock in virtual hook-ups so you can see people’s faces (albeit via a computer screen), look them in the eye so you can get a real sense of what is going on. Go virtually one on one and what about a virtual hangout of one to many? My own community of Thought Leaders have set up a Friday 4pm drinks hang-out via zoom to do just this.
  3. Be Accountable – Managing distraction and avoiding procrastination is hard at the best of times let alone when you are working alone from home with no-one keeping you on track. Why not set up a 15-minute weekly accountability call with your personal Butt-Kicker to review the good, the bad and the ugly from the previous week and share your three big commitments for the week.
  4. Put Care First – Ask people how they are really feeling? Explore what is really going on for others, listen deeply and be interested in finding out what you can do to help.
  5. Give Unconditionally – Share your ideas and insight with no expectation of anything in return. Create opportunities that matter for others. Share business opportunities. Be prepared to invest your time and energy and get curious about what you can give to help others through this time.
  6. Keep learning – A life of continuous learning is essential to growth, ongoing inspiration and a feeling of belonging to the moment. Harvard professor Linda Hill says, ‘You can’t think of something new unless you are being pushed to think in new directions, and you can’t do that unless you are engaging with people who have a different viewpoint’.  If you are looking for some learning opportunities check out this awesome initiative from Julia Steel – an on-line Global Conference running across 19 days with 336 speakers – of which I will be one on Thursday 26th March at 11am. https://vid19conference.com/
  7. Be Courageously You – Going it alone won’t sustain you into the long term. It’s not about hiding or pretending everything is ok. We all need help.  Have the courage to be vulnerable, to reach out, to ask for help. Share openly what is really going on for you, your fears and your concerns.  Surrender and allow your trusted network to help you.

It is our sense of belong, of connectedness, of togetherness that matters.

In this time of isolation and disconnection, we all have to work that little bit harder to connect with intent.

Do you have the right people in your network?  Download this complimentary PDF explaining the Critical 4 key people you need to know.  

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