It was a really tough last year – for everyone. I know I am not the only one dealing with more than the pandemic and the impact of the last year. Whether it is health, loss, financial, or simply the extended isolation – times are hard. And although things seem to be improving, it is not over. And the impact will remain long after the pandemic.
So when people say, “How are you doing?” it’s hard to put on a happy face. I’ve never been a fan of faking it! At the same time, I believe in finding productive energy in every situation. I believe that we can shift our energy by faking it until you make it real. Studies have shown that when you put on a smile, at some point the smiles become authentic.
Throughout all of COVID, when people would ask “How are you doing?” I would take a deep breath and exhale all of the yuck and say, “Feeling grateful.” And I was!
Recently, during all of the challenges with my son and my mother being sick, I had to do a podcast. When I first got on, the host asked, “How are you doing?” and I had one of those ugh moments! I couldn’t fake it. I said, “Not great.” I couldn’t pretend I was great. I then shared a little and referenced some of the good that existed within the bad. She asked me, “How are you still showing up with a smile and energy here today?” My response was, “Well, I can’t fake it, but I can frame it.”
The phrase rolled off my tongue for the first time and we both grabbed on to it. That’s my trick, or as she put it, my superpower. I am able to say, “If my son had to get sick, grateful that it is in a year when he can go to virtual school from the hospital and he isn’t missing much socially because nothing is happening anyway!” That is a way of framing not faking. This is hard – but it could be worse, so I am going to find the things that moderate how yucky it is!
I have also been doing a lot of one-to-one coaching during the pandemic. I look forward to putting my drama to the side to support my clients’ development. Sometimes the distraction of focusing on something or someone else, and giving your energy to them, really helps.
Authenticity is being honest with yourself and what you’re feeling. Finding productive energy is about framing the situation in a way that lets you function, act, move forward, and even smile. So don’t fake it, frame it.