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Charting a New Direction (REBOUNDing better than before part 3)

In the last fourteen months, most of us have had to scrap the plans we made and refocus our efforts to meet current needs. When that happens, it's natural to grieve the loss. But we cannot stay in grief forever. It does no good to fixate on what could have been. Instead, we must chart a New Direction, which is the 4th step in REBOUNDing better than before.

An important part of charting a New Direction is acknowledging how the struggle or setback has changed us. One leader I interviewed last fall observed how COVID has impacted his business, "For me, there's nothing that's really the same. It's almost like I can't unsee it....we've changed."

Before COVID, conducting business required a significant amount of international travel. "our core business was sending people around the world mobilized to all these other countries traveling back and forth every month internationally... so in March, that whole thing basically imploded."

Despite that, they choose to put people first. "We made tough choices not to lay anybody off...the analogy I use is we had our lifeboats at 150% capacity. Just put the people first and we made it." This decision went completely counter to the industry norm.

He went on to say, "We've hired six people in the last six weeks."

This success occurred because he set a new direction for the business. His mindset was, "Just find a way to grow, find a way forward, that you can quickly adapt the business."

And so, in addition to reorganizing what projects team members worked on, they started a new software business. It wasn't what they had set out to down at the end of 2019. But it was a way to meet customer needs within the restraints created by COVID. In the long run, this course correction creates new opportunities for the business that would not have been available if they stayed within the original model.

There are a number of components in charting a New Direction. One is clearly recognizing what's non-negotiable. For this leader, putting people first remained a top priority. This commitment guided all his other decisions. While many things changed, his guiding values remained resolute, as they are meant to.

The other piece in charting a New Direction is expanding your perspective and looking for opportunities that you had not considered before. In this way, there's an openness required in REBOUNDing better than before. Things will go differently than you anticipated and you may be pleasantly surprised.

This is where many of us get to the other side of the adversity, look back and experience genuine gratitude for the new and unexpected possibilities it created.

It might be hard to imagine that outcome if you're in the thick of it right now. This can be especially challenging because there remain so many unanswered questions, so much uncertainty when charting a New Direction. That is why it is so helpful to have your values as a compass. It is also the reason one must hold hope and trust that the answers will be revealed along the way as needed. Reflecting on times you've Bounced Back before often provides the evidence need to support holding such hopeful beliefs about the future.

Here are some reflection questions to help you use your journal in charting a New Direction and REBOUNDing better than before.

  • What New Direction has this setback inspired you to pursue?

  • What opportunities do you see available to you as a result of this setback?

  • What positive changes would you like to carry forward as a result of this setback?

  • What values will you continue to guide your efforts?

  • How might you redefine your future vision for yourself, your family or your business as a result of this challenge?

Are you ready to make forward progress? Would you like to learn how to use your journal to help you turn bold ideas into reality? Save the date for the next Journal Jam, June 8th at 8am MST. More information and registration is available online here.

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