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It's been weird

It has been a weird few days. (I just opened a new tab to check the news so I can calibrate this newsletter according to exactly how weird it is right now.)

The streets and sidewalks in my neighbourhood are empty, but the back alleys are full of children cycling and skateboarding, and the ravines and footpaths of Toronto are full of workers getting exercise two metres apart, worrying and wondering.

My inbox is also full — I have never before been invited to so many webinars, Zoom hangouts, and extra meetings. A lot of people moved swiftly and with purpose when this crisis hit. A lot of people probably panicked and just did something, anything, and a lot of people – including me – froze.

I've been thinking a lot about how to show up right now, and that's what this bonus newsletter is about.
This fox knows how to show up.

How to Be When the World is Watching

For some folks, it has been very clear what to do in the COVID crisis: the same thing as before, but harder. I'm thinking about doctors and nurses, delivery people, the folks who work at Zoom and Slack and other telecommunications companies, transit system workers, and everyone else we depend on. If they didn't feel needed before, I guess they do now, for better or worse.

But the rest of us don't have the same clarity. Some folks are suddenly idle, unable to work at all, and others are able to work from home in a kind of alternate-universe version of their normal routine. Except this is the AU, and the question is, who am I in this AU? How do I show up?

The thing is, people are paying attention now. Nine (or six, or three) weeks ago we were all doing our own thing, heads down, eyes either on our goals or on the rut we'd settled into. And then the world shook, and now we are all on a new road together, an unmapped road in new territory, and so we are looking to each other to figure out what to do and how to be. Suddenly it matters what you do and how you are. And the more people whose attention you captured before – clients, customers, social media followers, blog readers — the more people are watching you now. 😱

So what to do?

The answer is the same as it always is: be you. The best, most unique, most important thing you have to offer is you. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says in Full Catastrophe Living, "It is impossible to become like somebody else. Your only hope is to become more fully yourself."

So who is you? The better you know yourself, the more simple (if not easy) it will be to figure out how to show up in the world, and for the world, in this crisis.

Start with your values and your strengths. Do you know what they are? If not, now would be a great time to start figuring that out. I have a great worksheet you can use to figure out your values. (Reply to this email if you'd like a copy because I didn't put it on my website yet.) The VIA character strengths free assessment will give you something to work with. You can ask your friends and family what your top three strengths are, or you can find some cute quizzes and listicles if you search for "how to figure out my strengths".

With your values and strengths in front of you, what you can offer should be more clear — and it is at this point that I can't offer much more, because everyone who is reading this has a unique collection of strengths and values, to say nothing of skills and experiences, and platforms to deliver them.

For example, for me, I have curiosity as a strength. It's curiosity which led me to stay on top of the science news, which led to me having a pretty good understanding of viruses and epidemics, and to knowing this was coming back in January when the epidemic was only in China. It's also curiosity which keeps me wondering how this is going to affect wildlife, carbon emissions, politics, and so many other things. In other words, curiosity helps me be more fascinated than freaked out, and I can then offer the world the gift of being fascinated, not freaked out.

I have connection as a value, and I honour that value by reaching out to friends every day to check in and offer support or a listening ear.

I also have adventure as a value. The universe has a sense of humour — I actually set "have more adventures" as an intention for 2020, thinking of fun things like travelling, seeing performances and trying new restaurants. This isn't the kind of adventure I was thinking of, but think how much more I will appreciate all those other adventures later!

This crisis is the kind of situation that forges us, but it doesn't make us into something entirely new — it makes us more ourselves.

What's NewI hope y'all aren't tired of these portraits yet because I won't be getting new ones any time soon.

My priority right now, business-wise, is to keep coaching. Partially to hone my skills so I can pass the certification exam, and partially because coaching is the best of me – it's the most powerful thing I can offer right now. So I'm offering coaching for free (and also coffee chats, which I guess were always free). My calendar is open. A great opportunity to, perhaps, figure out your strengths and values? Or work through another challenge or conundrum. Or just chat.

Just especially for those very special folks who read every word of this newsletter (yes, both of you), I also have a special friends-only booking page that opens up more of my calendar, so if you're on the other side of the planet or want to chat in the evening, put yourself in there. Please! I love coffee chats and also I want to see if it works. 😁

Fun and Interesting

  • Something amazing that's happening right now is musicians sharing live performances, in all their imperfect, vital glory. Literally as I type this I'm listening to Toronto singer Teiya Kasahara performing Faure's Pie Jesu from their balcony down by the Harbourfront.  []
  • Being tense all the time takes a toll on the body, and unless you had the foresight to shack up with an RMT you're going to have to figure out how to relax yourself. CBC recommends exercise and meditating. []
  • I recommend tea, and Sarah Todd does as well: When you don't know what to do, make tea. []

Thank you for reading this far!

If you like what you read, hit reply and let me know, or forward it and let someone else know. If you have questions or comments, hit reply and let me know. If you have seen something interesting out there, hit reply and let me know. Are you seeing a trend here? If so... hit reply and let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. ❤️

Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching
Copyright © 2020 Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching, All rights reserved.

I live and work on land which for thousands of years has been part of the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat. Today, this meeting place is still home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and I am glad to be able to live and work here.

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