Welcome to the Land of FOTU

Mar 14, 2020

Art by: Anna Kövecses

Take stock of your newfound survival habits and how a global pandemic requires your most vulnerable self.

We are in it. Many of us began this week with a growing awareness and ended it in a long line at the grocery store stocking up on frozen vegetables, canned beans or in my case; wine. There are a lot (billions) of articles examining the depth of this crisis — this is not one of those articles. In the next ten minutes I hope to make you smile, lower your shoulders from your ears and connect to some actions of hope and love. Yeah I said it, love.



What is FOTU

I just finished what will probably be my last in-person leadership program for a while. If I try to put a timeline on what I mean by “a while” I start to get very, very sweaty. Then I have to google virus symptoms in order to reset my mental and physical state back to a semi-functioning level.

You Are Here

The idea for this article began as tips for facilitating remote connections with your families and colleagues. Then I realized like any change, there is an ending, a shift period, and over time celebration. What I began to write was useful for the “shift stage” and right now we are in the thick of “endings”. With each day comes new infection statistics and timeline predictions. With each refresh of the browser we experience another ending — we need a moment to just be with what is, because it’s constantly changing.

Endings create a desire for an idealized past along with a deep urge to control a present that is changing with every literal breath. How many of you judged those who purchased extra toilet paper on Monday and by Friday, while staring at empty shelves, wished you had bought at least one extra package?We are in a state of constant vulnerability. Elizabeth Gilbert’s gentle reminder sums up the complexity of this moment perfectly:

Survival Habits

Your habits are already changing in response to present realities. Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Seamlessly using new terms such as flatten the curve and social distancing
  • Repeated grocery store visits for “just in case” items
  • Recoiling at the sound of a cough or close human proximity
  • Noticing how much you touch your face (why so much)

Calm Your System

This is your reminder to take a moment and refrain from throwing things. Get into a sitting or standing position and place both feet on the floor. Take a deep belly breath, not from your shoulders — from your belly. Inhale for 3 seconds through your nose and exhale for 6 seconds out your mouth. Repeat.

Human Contact

At a time when we are told to create distance between ourselves, we need connection most. While our fear driven survival habits help us during the short term, they come from a place of stress and will wear us down over time. We are in this for a long haul. Whether it’s connecting to yourself, your community or your team — now is the time to create new habits of vulnerability. Create a plan to support mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health with all the people in your life.

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