Observation, Reflection, Inaction

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

We traveled to Lake Tahoe this past week, and over the weekend, we attended an arts festival filled with musicians, artisans, and little kids dancing their butts off. Some people were wearing masks, but most were not (including us), and I could feel a collective sigh of relief from the crowd that we were getting our lives back. But as I watched people move among each other, I could discern a cautiousness about whether all this was for real.

While it might be desirable to just forget about the past 2+ years, I hear from my clients and others that the aftershocks and pressures of new demands continue to reverberate through our lives. This transition continues to raise questions about work, career, and even lifestyle for many of us.

There is no safe return to the old ways, no clarity about the new routines, and even uncertainty about the present. It may be time to step back and take stock of what’s happened to us and evaluate its impact on our future. And this summer season may be a good time for that exercise

I’ve encouraged my clients to consider a quick exercise of Observation, Reflection, and Inaction, or what I call the Triumvirate of Perspective:

  1. Observation: One client tells me he is dog tired; a friend tells me that she wants to look for a new job, and a third thinks his business has learned nothing from the Pandemic. What do all these messages have in common? There is a recognition by these folks that they are exhausted, dissatisfied, and frustrated. Recognizing our feelings and honoring them is not a difficult task to undertake, but it requires listening to ourselves and embracing what is happening in our lives. It very often leads to a discovery of not just the challenges but the successes.
  • Reflection:  This is one of the more challenging tasks to undertake as it requires taking time rather than responding and acting. One question I ask clients to consider is not what the Pandemic did to us but rather what the Pandemic did for us. This question usually gives people a bit of pause since so much of our energy has gone to thinking about the worse outcomes. This question of reflection usually leads to some surprising answers. How do you respond to that question? 
  • Do Nothing: Resilience requires restoration, and our tendency is always to believe that we must act on our ideas and thoughts. During this time of rebuilding, it may also make sense to take no action and allow our observations and reflections to seep into our lives. In doing so, we can discover what is gained from the perspective of time. As my teacher and colleague, Cynthia Winton Henry, shares, “more will be revealed.”

We are in a time of change, and we’ve done magnificently over these past several years. Of course, there is criticism, angst, and aggravation (all signs of the negativity bias), but we’ve done more than survive. We are thriving.

This fits the model of the Resilience Advantage. If you or your organization need help in gaining this perspective, please reach out, and let’s have a conversation.

© Richard Citrin 2022

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