Whether you work in yards, feet, or metres, your immediate world has never been smaller. I’m not referring to the size of your current isolating abode, but the invisible 1-metre-minimum bubble that we’re told we must live in for the foreseeable future.
Physical separation of this magnitude goes against everything our societies and economies have been built upon – we are not mentally conditioned for this. So how can we best prepare ourselves to thrive in our self-isolated metre spaces?
Covid-19 has been compared with war. The media is awash with sensational war-type metaphors; and for the majority of us, we are lucky to not have had first-hand experience with war. But the parallels of war and Covid-19 are not as sensationalised as you might think. And whilst most of us are not on the front line, the mental preparation of war is an interesting one, and we can draw some good lessons from it.
We have been talking to Jason Fox (aka Foxy) and Ollie Ollerton, ex-Special Forces, and the Directing Staff of the popular Channel 4 TV show, ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ to gain some insight. Whilst the worlds of the Special Forces and Covid-19 are very different, any period of uncertainty starts with how you mentally process it, and by not allowing your fears to swell out of proportion.
In response to a question about how best to psychologically deal with ‘unknowns’, Foxy says, "You can’t worry about what has not happened, you don’t know what the future landscape will look like, but you need the emotional awareness to deal with your natural anxieties, respect them, acknowledge them and process them".
Foxy makes a great point that we can all relate to. Our temptation is to catastrophise, to try and process all the bad things that could happen, all at once, and results in debilitation rather than action. This is not to say that we should ignore potentially negative scenarios – anyone (and any business) that fails to consider the impact of this virus and embrace the need to adapt and change, will simply be caught short.
However, adversity inspires possibilities, and at Taxi Studio, we have always adopted a BeMore.FearLess.™ philosophy. We believe in turning fear into pathways to opportunity. Fear comes in five stages, if you can break them down to identify real concerns, and contextualise them, the anxiety surrounding it can be used as a positive accelerant.
In the Special Forces, Foxy and Ollie were trained to mentally live in a 1-metre headspace. "It’s a big mission to save a person’s life," says Ollie. "But if you break down the entire mission into 1-metre chunks, it becomes a lot more manageable. If everyone on your team is operating in their 1-metre square, and is doing what they do best, then collectively you have each other’s back. In supporting others, you are supporting yourself."
In many ways, total lockdown might have been easier for us to compute, there was little room for ambiguity, it was restrictive, it was lonely, and it was frustrating, yet the rules were simple – stay home. As our worlds are starting to open up, dealing with a 1-metre society is new territory for us all, we have experience to draw from, but if we break down how we deal with this into smaller chunks, then the gargantuan task of getting back to the new normal feels a lot less daunting.