I will echo many other people saying that we are living unprecedented times.
Life as we know it has come to a weird standstill. Bars, restaurants and shops are starting to reopen after the pandemic, schools and offices have moved to our homes, and strikingly at odds with glorious, sunny summer days, an unseen enemy that doesn’t discriminate is plaguing the world: there are no poor or rich, no black or white anymore, because everyone is in the same boat right now, and at risk of the new coronavirus.
Those of us that work in sustainability have noticed the silver lining: Venice’s clear canal waters; clean air in previously heavily polluted areas; lots of bumblebees doing their job from flower to flower.
But lots of us have also started worrying not only about our own and our families’ health but also about job security. It’s pretty obvious that many people will come out of the global crisis without a job. Many companies live paycheck to paycheck, and we are already witnessing many causalities in the business world.
So, should we all bury ourselves at home and cry until it all goes away?
Although that could be a justified first reaction, I’d say you’d better use this downtime to build a glorious future career by taking action.
We always complain that we haven’t got enough time to stop and think; to spend with our families; to reflect and plan the future. Well, without the prospect of overseas vacations, we have that time now.
How can we use it wisely though, particularly if you work in sustainability?
The majority of us have now some time to think and reflect on our career until this point.
I invite you to ask yourself:
Was it incidental or deliberate?
Did I get to this point because I wanted to, or have I fallen from a job to the next?
Do I want to keep going to pay the bills, or do I want to feel satisfied and proud of my job and myself?
The next thing would be to understand what you really want to do next. What would make a real difference to your life and to the world?
Have you found your ikigai yet (i.e. that sweet spot between what you love doing, what you are good at, what the world needs and what it’s ready to pay)?
And finally, how can you get there?
The majority of us would look for that extra qualification or course we had in mind. Of course, this is a good time to add badges on your sleeve.
But think about the one skill we all really need at this point in time: resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back, which will make you stronger in the long run and teach you how to deal with those setbacks the next time.
Uncertainty seems to be the buzzword right now, and it will be for a while more. What do you need to do to become resilient at times like this?
In my book, SustainABLE: How to Find Success as a Sustainability Professional in a Rapidly Changing World I dedicate a whole chapter to resilience and grit. But to get you started, here there are some reflection points:
- Don’t take it personally. Sometimes setbacks are not due to a lack of experience or knowledge from your part. Now, for instance, a global crisis is pushing things to go pear-shaped. Many people are being made redundant. It’s not your fault.
- Find alternative ways to channel your anger and frustration towards the current situation. Can you find one thing that helps you express your negative feelings safely? Exercise, singing, dancing, meditation, screaming in a pillow…? Then think about how you can transform that anger into propelling energy to plan your next move.
- Channel it until you’ve built a strong enough approach to influencing others and driving them towards your goals. This is the hard bit. Understand what you need to do to move on with your life. It will take eating some humble pie at times, it will take asking, or it will take negotiating – all things you might be uncomfortable doing.
- Think about how you can shine your light at times of darkness like the one we are all going through. Every situation has in itself opportunities for you to change, learn and help. See which ones are there waiting for you to grab them.
As a business owner, I’m not alien to negative feelings or fear. But I have some good tools to make me move swiftly from fear and paralysed inaction to getting organised and move on.
So on the 8th of September, I’m launching a new cohort of the SustainABLE Mastermind to support YOU, my fellow sustainability professionals, in your journey towards success.
It’s an online group made of likeminded individuals with the aim of growing their soft skills collectively and support each other in the process, in a safe and confidential space.
Based on the key skills of a successful sustainability professional, as identified in my book, every month the group deep-dives into different aspects of the sustainability field that commonly cause issues: eco-anxiety, procrastination, why your clients aren’t interested, work overload, selling when you are not a salesperson, and many more.
Each month we address those challenges as a group and support each other to shift our mindsets to find solutions.
If you are a sustainability professional and want to:
- progress your career
- push the sustainability message further
- work on your skills to become more impactful, efficient and assertive
- expand your network
I have created this mastermind group for you, to support you in your sustainability career journey at a time of unparalleled global changes, during which soft skills are even more critically important.
A mixture of webinars, monthly challenges, eLearning, hot seat calls and one-to-one coaching will guide you to build the essential skills needed to make a difference in the sustainability sector.
I will coordinate the group and provide tips, exercises and learning content to stimulate thinking and change, but the value and success of the mastermind is in its community of like-minded people, supporting and holding each other accountable in this shared journey.
In between sessions, participants will be able to interact and support each other via our exclusive Slack group. This will provide a unique networking opportunity.
And I'll give you a copy of my book too.
For more info and bookings, visit: https://www.thegreengorilla.co.uk/sustainable-mastermind
Registrations of interests are now open.
Places are limited because we want to have a deep connection and confidentiality as key strengths of the group.
And because I want to make a contribution to the world at this difficult time, I’ll give free entry to the group to one person who has recently been made redundant.
Together, we can do it.