Dark Clouds are seen above the Ajmer City in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India on April 23, 2020. (Photo by … [+]
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While it may be tough to focus on the silver linings when the news continues to splash the most dismal aspects of the current pandemic across the headlines, you may be surprised to learn that you’ve actually gained a lot of valuable things over the last few months.
The negative aspects of a given situation are more likely to shove their way to the forefront of your mind due to a human inclination toward loss aversion. Loss aversion is the tendency to weight losses more than gains of the same value. This causes people to act with more caution if they perceive a possible loss and was helpful for survival in the caveman days.
So, for example, if you found $20 on the sidewalk on the way to work, you’d feel pretty psyched until you got to your desk and became immersed in the daily grind. However, if you lost a $20 bill on the way to the office, you’d be distracted for hours, checking your bag, pockets, and even wasting time backtracking through your commute. The pain of the loss would stick with you, and you’d likely put extra time into ensuring your cash was in a safe place and accounted for going forward.
The phenomenom of putting more energy into avoiding losses is an evolutionary measure designed to keep humans out of danger, but today, it mostly means we dwell on the negative over recognizing the positive. To combat this, it’s worth being intentional about focusing on both sides of a situation. This can be especially helpful in times like we’re experiencing now since the drastic changes are causing us to lose a lot, and it’s compounded by the negative stories we’re hearing on the news.
While shifting your focus to the positive can be valuable for peace of mind, it can also help your career. In a time when jobs are disappearing and organizations are struggling to define what the future looks like, individuals who bring certain traits to the table will likely survive the downsizing or be the first to get rehired.
So it’s worth spending a few minutes reflecting on what you’ve gained over the past few months. Not only will it make you feel better, but it may help save your job.
RESILIENCE. Although you may have a long list of tasks you’ve not gotten to or are beating yourself up for certain coping behaviors, you’re much more resilient than you were two months ago. It may not feel that way, but you’ve built contingency plans, learned to operate in ambiguity, and found support in places you’d forgotten about. You’ve learned to manage the transition of working from home or taking extra precautions when in public and have changed your spending habits to align with the uncertainty of the next few months. While you may not like the changes and long for past, you’ve adapted and have raised the bar of your level of agility. As companies are facing many unknowns, they will be looking for employees who are able to easily morph with the transformations their businesses will undergo. You’ll be a valuable asset if you bring that quality.
RESOURCEFULNESS. Learning how to solve new problems can only come from experience, which means you need to face challenges to build your resourcefulness capabilities. The popular saying “necessity is the mother of invention” applies in spades here. While everyone has experienced their own unique challenges as a result of the pandemic, each person has had to discover solutions to these challenges. You’ve had to visit unfamiliar websites, ask different questions, research new topics, build strategic plans with less money and fewer options, and create novel ways to get things done with little data or guidance. As organizations tighten their belts and search for greater efficiency in their processes, they’ll value employees who demonstrate innovative thinking and creative problem-solving. If you can function effectively in ambiguity and aren’t deterred by limited resources or a lack of direction, you’ll be at the top of the hiring list going forward.
TECH SAVVINESS. Even if technology is not your thing, you’d have to work hard to not have gained new skills in this area over the last two months — and your career will be better off for it. Even before the pandemic, we witnessed new technology advances dominating nearly every industry. So, reflect on what you’ve learned and be proactive in taking it to the next level, even if it’s not being driven by a current work need. The ability to be comfortable with engaging technology in your role for communication, automation, engagement, transactions, safety and a variety of other reasons will become non-negotiable in the workplace. So, if you were winging it before the coronavirus became a household name, now is the time to step up your game if you want to remain marketable in the new economy.
CONNECTEDNESS. If you’re like many, one silver lining of the last two months has been reconnecting with people you’ve lost touch with or deepening relationships with individuals you’ve interacted with regularly, but didn’t really know well. In addition, you’ve likely had to interact with new people, collaborate with teams you’ve not worked with, reach out to new vendors and relate to coworkers in novel ways as they’ve been invited into your living space via Zoom. While the pandemic is impacting everyone differently, the crisis is a shared experience where we can find some common ground. This has paved the way to deeper relationships and re-bonding, which there never seems to be enough time for during the bustle of daily life. In your career, your relationships are your lifeline. They open the door to hidden opportunities, share critical insider information about the market and offer referrals that get you in front of the decision-makers. So, hang onto these new habits after life returns to “normal.”
CONFIDENCE. This may be hard to see since the future is still uncertain, but any time you manage through a trying situation, you build your confidence in your ability to do it again. Over the last few months, you’ve had good days and bad days (and perhaps some ugly days), but you’ve figured it out by tapping into a strength that can only be realized during the toughest times. The bar has been raised and there is no way it can return to the previous baseline. So when you’re asked in an interview how you managed through the pandemic, your brain will initially flood with the losses you experienced. But push past those and focus on all that you’ve overcome and all the ways you’ve evolved. There are many if you take the time to reflect on them, and they are continuing to make you stronger each day you take a step forward.
Even the most resilient, resourceful, savvy, connected and confident people make mistakes, get frustrated and lose their drive sometimes. The difference is, they get back up the next day and try again with a new lesson to reflect upon.
Reposted from: Forbes.com