The pendulum has swung. The grass is now greener on the other side. What used to seem like a dream come true is now your living nightmare. You roll out of bed and instead of putting on your power pants, you put on your power slippers and walk down the hall to your “office”, that old playroom with its primary colors and cartoon characters smiling down from the walls. The blessings of work from home (WFH) have been replaced by the fatigue of boundaryless-borders; you can’t figure out where work starts and home stops, and where home life begins and work ends. And while we all love our kids, let’s not kid ourselves, they are like wild animals removed from their habitat, they always find a way back to their natural environment, often at the most inopportune times.
To add insult to injury, according to Dr. Fauci, a return to normal may not happen until the end of 2021. The reality is, this new normal is now the normal and you better figure out how to deal with it. For some people, this is the excuse they’ve been looking for to start blaming others: their boss, their company, the government, the healthcare system, the system in general, even the heavenly hosts above. If you’re going to do that, that is your prerogative, but that won’t change the situation, it will only make you feel worse and impact your performance. What’s the outcome of that attitude? You will be looking for a new work from home opportunity.
The other option is to face the facts and get your (state of) mind right. Our state of mind is a choice. You get to choose every single day how you are going to approach WFH. Over the last few months I have read dozen’s of articles about how to maximize the experience and change your setting to make it work, but the reality is, those are temporary elixirs, not a true vaccine. The only thing that will make it a place you can embrace is by getting your state of mind right, and that is a choice.
I have two suggestions for jump starting the right state of mind. First, let’s do a quick exercise I adopted from Tony Robbins (hold your judgement people). Stand up. Right now. Stand up. Seriously, get up. Now jump up and down and smile as big as you can. Now clap your hands together as fast as you can. Smile even bigger now and imagine yourself on the top of your game, winning, feeling the flow. Clap louder. Jump higher. Keep smiling!
Now stop. What’s happening? If you did this (be honest) I know for a fact you feel different. You likely have a residual smile on your face, your heart is beating a little bit faster, and your mindset is a bit different from when you started reading this article. This is a state change and it is completely in your control. You can’t control the fact that you work from home and there are going to be a host of inconveniences, but you can control your outcome by jumpstarting yourself physically, which will automatically impact you mentally.
The second way of changing your mindset is to focus on gratitude. My wife and I were struggling last night. My wife had a tough day – we have a two-year-old, four-year-old, and 13-week-old puppy, enough said – and we both got dragged down into the darkness. Then our neighbor stopped over and during the conversation she told us about her battle with cancer. Boom. Immediately both of us got yanked from our darkness into a deep sense of gratitude over what we had and didn’t have…cancer. Our neighbor’s optimism through her battle with cancer was beyond inspiring and she modeled for us in minutes the mindset we needed to focus on every day.
You will continue to experience the highs and lows of WFH, but the experience of working from home is a choice. Lean into that choice. Embrace the fact that sometimes you’re going to have to stand up, clap your hands and fake it (that smile) until you make it. Don’t let your frustrations become the defining emotions of your life, take a look at those cartoon characters on your walls and embrace the fact that your mindset is a choice, and that choice is yours.