Just who the hell are you?
It’s an interesting question.
Up until a few months ago you were probably a bunch of people. You probably had different personas that you wore throughout the day, either deliberately or not. You would have had your professional persona, you partner persona, your parent persona, and you might have had other personas as well.
You would have switched between them through the day, using the natural breaks afforded you by commuting and context shifting to move from one to the next, either consciously or unconsciously.
It would have been so natural to you that you probably didn’t know you were doing it until you inadvertently used some work jargon or phrase at home, which would have felt strangely jarring and out of place.
And then, overnight, all of that went away.
Our lives were flattened out, like layers of tracing paper being squeezed together to make an image. The walls of our silos disappeared, we were suddenly in an open plan life; one persona flowing into the next, suddenly you were all of these people at once, or if not at once then within minutes, or even seconds of each other.
A 40 minute commute that used to afford the space to transition from the work you to the parent you was suddenly turned into the time it took for a child to appear over your shoulder in a video conference.
Everyone is seeing every version of you. Which is fundamentally against the whole idea of there being different versions of you.
So, who are we now?
Are we all of these people at once?
Well, probably not, you’re most likely developing a hybrid persona, all of these different personas rolled into one.
So, should we allow this shift to be organic? We developed the previous set of personas without really thinking about it, so why not allow this new one to emerge on it’s own?
Or should we approach this change with intention, does this represent an opportunity for you to choose the version of yourself that you want to show to the world?
Is now the time to ask ourselves who we want to be? To reflect and take the time to meditate on the question of how we want to show up every day?
For me, absolutely, so now that everyone is seeing the same me, what qualities do I want that person to have?
- Intentional : I want to ensure that I’m making active choices about my time and my priorities. I’m not getting swept away be the agendas of others, and I’m not seeing life as something that is happening to me, rather something that I am in active participant in.
- Calm: It’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed with everything that is going on; anxiety and paranoia are on the up as people start to feel more and more isolated from the normal cues that they would pick up in the office. It is therefore essential that we all remain as calm as possible, and do our best not to get caught up in the doom loops that we play out in our heads.
- Flexible: Things are not going to play out the way we imagined them too. Things are going to be different to what we were expecting, and we all have to learn to be OK with that. Roll with the punches, ride the bumps, stay in the zone, and most importantly of all, stay flexible; in thinking and in approach.
- Vulnerable: Be honest with myself, with my colleagues and with my family. Let people see when I’m struggling, let them know when I’m not in a good place. And show others that it’s OK to be wherever you are on that day, because it is.
- Forward Looking: This isn’t going away, so we all need to approach it with curiosity and ask “How can I make this work for me?”, rather than “Why can’t things go back to the way they were?”. One of the keenest observations I’ve heard since the start of all of this was that people are still trying to do old things in new ways, and aren’t asking themselves if they should be doing new things.
This is a journey, we are developing ourselves every day, we are always in flux, in the words of Will Smith in Hitch, “‘You is a very fluid concept right now.”.