We are all shifting our paradigms every day and challenging ourselves in new ways. I would like to share an epiphany I had that is temporarily shifting how we approach our workdays during this time of upheaval- giving myself and my team permission to go “back to school”.
When I was taking my morning walk- a daily ritual now replacing my morning gym routine, I realized that I needed to explore some new streets in my neighborhood (practicing proper social distancing all the while) to add variety to this routine. Seeing my town in a new way reminded me that, even in the familiar, we can always look at things with fresh perspective. As we are all having our routines and typical paradigms shifted in so may ways, we can either complain about it or take the opportunity to find positives.
In a busy executive search firm such as ours, we typically spend our days frantically making connections, finding talent to fill positions, scheduling interviews, following up, always chasing. Our noses are down, focused on completing everything that we need to accomplish, seldom looking up, in order to fill our client’s needs and meet the expectations of our candidates. Now that the world has taken a “pause” to “flatten the curve” of this horrible pandemic, you can imagine that the pace of search has backed off a bit.
If you are in a production-oriented job, always focused on achieving your metrics every day, it’s hard to give yourself permission to take dedicated workday time for learning. It is drilled into us that we must always be productive and hit our goals. During this morning’s walk, contemplating this slowdown as so many of our clients have temporarily closed their retail stores, I realized that it was a good time to shift professional perspective as well. That’s when I had this epiphany- my team and I can use this time to “go to college”.
Think about the discussion that you, as a parent or mentor, might have with a high-school aged child debating college or going straight into the workforce. As a college grad myself, I would always strongly recommend that the delayed entry into the workforce to gain an education, learn additional skills, and earn a degree is a worthwhile investment that will more than pay off over time. It’s ok to delay “making money” for a few years if you can; “Advanced education is an investment in yourself.” Now, 30+ years out of college, I am giving myself permission to “go to college” and see time spent during the workday researching ways to improve our process, exploring new niches, honing our skills as that same worthwhile investment in our business. It really is a paradigm shift that we can all benefit from, as our professional lives are temporarily disrupted. I am finding myself excited and motivated to go to work every day and learn, explore, build connections -positioning myself and my firm for a higher level of success once we are on the other side of this (hopefully) once in a lifetime situation.
I would challenge you to shift your paradigm as well- find the joy in exploration and learning that you once had as a student, and allow yourself time to become that student again. Use any free time that’s available due to your new work-at-home flexibility to invest in yourself- thanks to the online universe, we have a wealth of resources at our fingertips. Adversity is teaching us a lot about our resilience, adaptability and, in the end, ourselves. Let us come out of this situation as smarter, more agile and more aware humans!
Rob Bowerman is President and Founder of The Bowerman Group- a leading executive search firm for luxury brands in the U.S. and Canada. Rob is also President of The Pinnacle Society, the premier consortium of industry-leading recruiters in North America.