So, who am I now?

In almost every coaching conversation I’ve had in recent weeks, I’ve heard some version of “I’m not sure why I’m finding all of this so hard”.

What’s interesting about that observation is that I hear it across the spectrum, no matter how well, or badly, coronavirus has changed our circumstances.

One factor that’s worth exploring in this regard is our identity – how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves when we show up in the professional world.

This crisis has shaken our belief in who we are. Most dramatically, if your job has disappeared or your business has evaporated then your role in the world isn’t the same as it was two months ago.

Even for those of us with less obvious displacement, the nature of our working lives has altered significantly. Maybe you were used to spending several weeks a year traveling internationally? Maybe you spent most of your time out and about meeting clients and colleagues? Maybe the time you spent up close with others was what brought you most joy?

If we’re to believe what the scientists are telling us, then that world is gone – either for a long while or for good.

So, who are we now?

As the answer to that question begins to unfold, it’s important for us to acknowledge the loss of who we used to be. We need time and space to process that loss.

If a colleague recently lost a loved one, we wouldn’t encourage them to shake it off and try harder. Yet, that’s what we seem to be doing to ourselves and others right now.

All forms of loss generate grief and more suffering is inevitable if we try to ‘hack’ or suppress the grieving process.

We will still work. We will still thrive. We will continue to serve and to create value. But we’ll do it best when we acknowledge our humanity rather than deny it.


This post was adapted from one of Aodan’s Sunday morning newsletters, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of readers. Give yourself the gift of that weekly wisdom by signing up here.

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