Since the COVID 19 pandemic started and everyone who can work remotely started using video conferencing tools and screenshots taken to virtual meetings (I don’t know what’s the point), we started hearing the phrase “adjusting to the new normal”. Here is the thing, this is not normal so it can’t be the new normal.
According to William Bridge’s model of transition, which was published in his book “Managing Transition”, there are three phases that occur when people experience change:
Phase one: Ending
People in this phase are mourning the old way of doing what they do, with feelings of denial, stress, fear and anxiety. They are likely to believe the current situation is temporary.
Phase two: Transition
Individuals get confused about what they need to do. Their energy is undirected, and efforts can be put randomly, more of trial and error. People know things are not the same, but they still can’t figure out what’s needed.
Phase three: Beginning
Individuals adopt the new way, they absorb change and the norming starts. People start accepting the new situation, see clearly the way forward and energy comes back.
Looking at the current situation, we are probably swinging in between the transition and beginning phases. We are still uncertain for how long the emergency measures will continue, while we know we have to absorb the change and adapt to the current situation. But, are we thinking about life post the pandemic? What will life look like? What will socializing look like? Is anyone going to feel comfortable shopping at the grocery store with someone less than six feet away? Are we going to push the elevator button with our bare figure tip? Are we going to trust that the machines at the gym are sanitized? Are we going to have the same views about life as we know it?
What will life look like after the pandemic?
From a work perspective, are we going to keep on referring to working virtually every time someone needs to be off site? Are we going to convert every learning program to a webinar? One thing I am sure of, I would never complain about getting stuck in traffic back home every afternoon.
The “New Normal” will be defined with what life will look like post the pandemic. It starts after phase three in Bridge’s model ends. What we are trying to adjust to now, is the “Global Temporary” which is to keep on doing what we are doing pretending it will last for a long time but be nimble for what is coming next.
Keep in mind two things:
Let go of certain assumptions or ways of doing things, to make room for new ideas. Ask yourself, who is the “new you” you want to become, and how you should approach the change?
This time, the change you want to make is not a choice. You are neither choosing whether you want to change, nor when are you going to start, but you can choose what you want to make out of it.
There will be "New Normal", will there be "New You"?
Embracing the change is a big thing because it is accompanied by mixed feelings and affected by emotions. It is a step out of the comfort zone into the fear zone, but let’s have a positive outlook. There will be a “new normal” and there will be new opportunities. The question is: will there be a “new you”?