Although I was avoiding this blog topic, writing about it has been a gift.
March 2020 I was sitting on my patio with a close friend discussing that there was clearly a problem. Hell, a problem? An actual Pandemic. Well, well – I didn’t see that coming. A few smart people did. Clearly, I was not paying attention.
During the onset of this revelation, I felt frozen. To melt that internal freeze, I needed good information and data that I could rely on. There were mixed messages being espoused. I needed to understand the data and find credible experts, not wishful thinking. As an Enneagram Six with underlying conditions, I felt it smart to err on the side of caution. Taking a stand on how I was going to handle the risk wasn’t easy at first. A handful of friends wanted me to come out and play, to not “hide away,” but their requests became background noise as I leaned into trusting myself. I felt solid in my decisions, and no number of good-natured invites and subtle shaming was going to shift my position. Data and expertise would sway, not social media posts.
After the shock, the work. Transform would make it – we always have, and the PPP helped. Early on, the conversations with clients revolved around how and if they should pivot services, as well as all the rest of the unknowns facing them and what it would take to keep moving forward. Yes, keep moving forward in the uncharted seas was the refrain. Here at Transform, navigating the first round of the PPP application process, or lack thereof, changing banks and making that happen was intense. We had faced the first hurdle, and we breathed a little deeper having jumped it. As far as pivoting, we took a look at our services, adjusted a bit, and kept our heads down delivering for our clients. Luckily, we’ve operated virtually for some time, so while we needed to learn more, we started from a good place.
Being a great resource and partner to our clients meant that I needed to keep my head on straight so I could be present for them. Being a supportive and solid partner for Theresa and Chris and Tib was a top priority. This focus was a godsend for me. I’ve always found it easier to do for others than for myself. Personally, my anxiety could be at full tilt one day, and then I could be totally calm the next. I had to work really hard to manage myself. I lined up my resources: therapist, spiritual community, mentors, friends. On some days, I was experiencing a high level of stress in my nervous system, so I attended a virtual Somatic workshop to understand how to better work with that energy. Then, I found a Somatic coach to support and guide me, another godsend.
Here are a few other lessons that came my way:
• I see heroes where I missed them before.
• The word “essential” has taken on a new meaning.
• I learned that resources matter. Use them – they work.
• I found places of hope in the darkness. I tried to bring hope into the darkness whenever I could.
• I learned that work is a wonderful refuge. I’m so lucky to have work, colleagues, and clients I treasure.
• I learned to trust myself on a whole new level. While my personal choices might be evaluated – and perhaps judged – by others, that needn’t sway me. Staying true to myself is always a good decision, and I’m grateful for those friends who honored that.
• My listening skills improved. I said less but understood more. Therefore, I became more effective.
• Of course, I acquired a whole new level of respect for science and vaccines.
I am fully vaccinated and that feels great. I feel even better as the percentage of people vaccinated grows.
There will be more as this story unfolds. I’ll check in again soon and fill you in. In the meantime, let us know what lessons are changing your life as we create a new normal.
Mary Anne Wampler
PRINCIPAL, TRANSFORM, INC.