Q: I'm becoming aware of how many skills I don't have during this time period. Cooking, haircuts, home repair and the alternative to toilet paper. I feel caught flat-footed by the absence of all the help I take for granted with too much to learn. Is there a way to come out of this shelter-in-place situation better than I went into it?
A: Yes, realize you cannot turn a switch and suddenly possess all the skills other people were contributing to your life. We all feel inadequate when we forced to see how much we don't know. Then again, we can now begin to learn those skills so we leave this crisis better than we went in.
Jokes are circling around the internet about going to the restaurant called the kitchen only to discover that it only has ingredients, and what is up with that? These quips are funny and true at the same time. Suddenly we are seeing clearly just how much we rely on food systems, restaurants and their workers.
As Americans, we often pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. We are the country that threw England's tea in the harbor for goodness sake! Yet we are learning just how much we are not self-sufficient during this time.
Many of my clients are for the first time cooking, doing their own laundry and making things they once bought, and it's becoming crystal clear how dependent we are on our modern systems.
We take these things for granted and rarely give a thought to what we'd do if there was no doctor, no dentist, no takeout and nothing on the grocery shelves.
Another true joke on the internet is that before COVID-19, most people thought preppers were crazy and now, well, prepping is looking like an intelligent activity. Keep in mind that even people who have been devoted to prepping for decades are not completely self-sufficient. The takeaway from prepping is that learning any self-sufficiency skills is like buying insurance for a challenge you may experience.
Rather than overwhelming yourself trying to become a gourmet chef, gardener, handyman and family medic or moving off the grid, contemplate just learning one new skill a week. Making laundry soap is surprisingly cheap, easy and healthier than most store products. You can find a recipe, experiment, and take 10 minutes on a weekend to do it.
Watching a YouTube video on cutting hair and then get to work. You will improve and maybe even save money in the future.
Deficits between what we know and what we need to know are obvious during rapid change. The good news is we have a new list of things worth learning. The bad news is we have to tolerate feeling overwhelmed by seeing just how much we don't know.
As your community returns to connecting, we'll have a deeper appreciation of all that everyone around us does for us. We will emerge from this challenge with a new appreciation for the ordinary paradise we enjoy.
The last word(s)
Q: I planned to leave my job this summer, but now not sure I want to venture out. Are you recommending clients look for new jobs during this time?
A: No, staying with your current organization, if you can, is your best bet right now. Most organizations have too much chaos going on right now to make job searching easy or effective.
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
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