By Jake Fishbein
When I started working from home on March 11th, I didn’t think I’d still be working from home today. I imagined being quarantined for a couple weeks, maybe a month, and then returning to seeing my friends, hosting workshops in person, and visiting my parents in New Mexico with relative ease. Instead, everything changed. And while I believe that one day all those things I took for granted will be possible again, it’s hard to imagine when that will be.
March was supposed to be a celebration. I officially co-founded my coaching and consulting company—Revel&Awe—and planned to facilitate four major workshops. Instead, I canceled or postponed everything, and what was supposed to be a celebration became a pivot point.
Of course, March was a pivot point for all of us. Everyone has been forced to make monumental changes in a short period of time. It would be easy to get lost in the disruption and to focus on all of the loss that has accompanied the arrival of the coronavirus. I’ve learned, however, that focusing solely on fear and loss, at the exclusion of opportunity and possibility, simply creates more fear and loss. It’s important to find a delicate balance—to acknowledge fear but not be ruled by it; to find opportunities but not gloss over reality.
Navigating this period is so much about accepting this duality and allowing fear and opportunity to coexist. All too often, I‘ve lived with only opportunity in mind, embarrassed to acknowledge my fear, my discomfort, or my uncertainty. I’ve felt obligated to see opportunity even when I didn’t. This period has solidified the necessity of honoring the humanness of experiencing fear and opportunity simultaneously.
As a coach, it’s my job to help my clients cultivate this delicate balance, learn about themselves, and develop their own solutions to the challenges they face. My work helps them build self-trust and resilience, find moments of joy and inspiration, choose and pursue a direction, and enjoy the process of exploration and learning. Ultimately, coaching helps people navigate life’s stormy sea in order to sail through the chaos and come out on the other side proud of the choices they made.
Human beings are resilient, and I have faith in our ability to navigate this storm and create something new and flourishing. It’s natural to hold on to how things were and to want to return there, but the past is gone. The future lies ahead, undefined and unmade. What we do today defines what tomorrow will look like. I try to remind myself of this daily. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s not. To live well, I’m learning, is to be present to all of it—the discomfort and the pleasure, the joy and the sadness, the fear and the opportunity.
Over the last two months, I’ve become more comfortable with this duality and have helped my clients become more comfortable with it as well. I see them and find myself experiencing more gratitude and having a greater willingness to celebrate every win along the way, no matter how small. The state of our world may be frustrating, but as I’ve learned myself, it is possible to be both incredibly frustrated and immensely proud of your choices at the same time.
Jake Fishbein is a certified professional coach and the co-founder of Revel&Awe, a coaching and consulting company that helps ambitious professionals build sustainable and impactful careers and lead fulfilling lives. Revel&Awe is currently offering a COVID Coaching Special—three hours of coaching for $295. Learn more at www.revelandawe.com.