Finding the winning spirit in our collective discomfort

Each of us re-invented, found new comfort in our own way

The manager needs to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, mentioned a news report on the skills talent hunters are looking for in the potential candidates. Incidentally, this weekend marks one year of the Janta Curfew – India’s first national lockdown to fight Covid-19. Since last 12 months we all have become ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’ – what was once a discomfort became our own comfort zone.

The Lockdown

On 22nd March 2020, I stepped out of the hospital to empty, eerie streets of Dadar in central Mumbai. The busiest junction, usually buzzing with morning walkers, vegetable vendors settling in, people thronging the breakfast and tea stalls, was dead silent.  The 5 min walk to my house took to me back to 2005 – the morning after the 26th July deluge in Mumbai. Perhaps, only two occasions in my memory when Mumbai stopped working.

Janata Curfew - First Lockdown, Empty streets of Dadar
Empty streets of Dadar on Janata Curfew – Made us pause & reflect

Urban India first learnt to befriend this silence, which opened many more uncomfortable moments and also forcing some deep reflections:  

  • Appreciating nature, birds chirping
  • Valuing our neighbourhood – kirana stores, milkman, vegetable vendor, doctors, people around
  • Respecting our support system – our house helps
  • Gratitude for our own family members – for the respective roles they play and responsibilities they take

The New Order

The same uncomfortableness pushed us to discover ourselves better –

  • Learn new skills
  • Focus on health & wellness
  • Adapt to a new way of life – hygiene, digital tools, etc.
  • Manage resources – from groceries, health to finances

This turmoil and challenge gave birth to many new ideas and platforms

  • Online classes / workshops
  • Webinars / Online entertainment events
  • Rise of the Home chefs / solo entrepreneurs
  • Instagram Lives, Online gaming
  • Zoom celebrations /weddings, etc.

Pangs

As we all became Corona warriors, it did not spare us the pain:

  • To see plight of the migrant works, people trying to  survive marginally
  • Pangs of not seeing / meeting our loved ones one last time
  • Job losses
  • The emotional & psychological effects of dealing with the loss of life around

We, the managers, still continue to embrace this uncomfortableness in our own unique manner. What matters is the lessons we have imbibed in this process and how are we implementing them:

  • Do we choose to sulk or be courageous and face the situation?
  • How do we reinvent ourselves to befriend this uncomfortableness?
Vegetable vendors were back
Happiness – the Tamarind Man was back after a year

Befriending the change

Personally, 2019 prepared me for 2020. Wearing masks, using sanitisers and oximeter had become a routine. Unlike rest of you, for me the lockdown started sinking much later. I was struggling to understand WFH when Zoom, MS Teams had become familiar work day terms.

Looking back it has been a grateful year of:

Last and not the least – Satisfaction that my small attempt of sharing The Winning Spirit touches someone’s heart, thus connecting me to all of you.

What are your reflections of befriending this change?

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