Diane Flynn is Co-Founder and CEO of ReBoot Accel, designing work cultures that support and promote women and underrepresented groups. She consults with Fortune 500 companies on diverse and inclusive cultures, and co-authored The Upside, presenting the business case for diverse workplaces and best practices for tapping the potential of women. Diane facilitates workshops on professional presence and impact, and coaches leaders on maximizing results and finding personal fulfillment, and is the lead faculty for Reboot & Refresh: A 1440 Work Well Weekend on August 27-29 at the 1440 Multiversity campus.
I have been fortunate over the last 15 months to have the chance to slow down, reflect and just "be." I am so grateful to those who have been working the front lines, keeping me and my loved ones safe and nourished, and I am also thinking carefully about the new normal I plan to cultivate. I don't relish the idea of ramping up to my pre-pandemic over-scheduled life and I'm committed to not fall back into the patterns that don't serve my updated life.
While these days of living within the boundaries of an invisible fence have been challenging in many ways, a life in quarantine brought many gifts. The sum of it? I'd like more still and more C.H.I.L.L.
Here are the things I intend to retain in the days ahead – long after the masks, sweats and slippers become a distant memory, and I hope they inspire you to take the same look at your life to establish inspiration for moving forward in a new refreshed way.
- Creativity. Life at home, primarily spent in my newly groomed backyard, has revealed itself as a space where curiosity and creativity can take flight. I've enjoyed margin – extra space – in my days to slow down and think creatively about life, opportunities and new approaches to old ways. I've savored blogs, journaled, and spawned some new book ideas, all of which have been energizing. Creativity, I've discovered, is the antidote to boredom and confinement. I've even grown some roses – a perfect Zoom background!
- Healthy Diet. Little did I know how much I'd enjoy cooking. Making and baking bread, experimenting with samples from my pandemic-inspired herb garden and enjoying a healthier lifestyle of preparing home-cooked meals have all nourished me in new ways. Before COVID I was a regular on the eat-out circuit, so this new routine of prepping meals and eating outdoors is good for my soul as well as my waistline.
- Introspection. Without the busyness of commutes, traffic and shopping, I have learned to ponder and process – something that author and Georgetown University professor Cal Newport writes about in his book, Deep Work. I have found this work to be not only immensely gratifying, but supportive to the evolution of my business. While historically seeing myself as a strong extrovert, I have come to know my cloistered introvert. Giving myself time to meditate, pray and reflect is something I definitely intend to keep in my life going forward.
- Long Walks. Less gas guzzling and more foot bustling have resulted in time for podcasts, TED Talks and good old thinking. The extra mileage around the neighborhood has led to new connections and reflections, both of which have served me and my neighborhood well. Walks – whether alone or with a friend – are keepers.
- Lazy Evenings. Without the need to glam up and show up at numerous events, I've enjoyed long evenings in comfy clothes, playing Scrabble with my husband, watching provocative docudramas, hosting intimate backyard socials and enjoying other simple pleasures. Memories of camping with my kids and relaxing outdoors in the warm Minnesota evenings of my childhood have been rekindled and reenacted – something I realized I deeply missed (minus the mosquitos).
Going forward I won't squander the gifts discovered through the pandemic. Instead, I will consciously exercise my power to choose – leaving in my rear-view mirror the tiring commutes, waiting in traffic, large impersonal gatherings and busyness that often made up my life pre-pandemic. Here's to a C.H.I.L.L. balance of 2021, filled with creativity, introspection, healthy eating, walking and quiet evenings at home. Wishing you all an abundant post-pandemic harvest.
If you are also seeking time to reboot and recharge, consider joining me at 1440 Multiversity for a long, slow and reflective weekend with a small group of like-hearted women and men on August 27-29, 2021. Learn more and register here.
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