I make my living as a Funny Motivational Speaker. This means that I combine my background as a professional standup comedian with my passion for peak performance to help organizations to navigate change and thrive during uncertain times.
Then along comes COVID-19!
My own message has been taxed to the nth degree as I’ve struggled to apply the very principles that I espouse.
“Look on the bright side!”
“Remember to laugh!”
As I write this, I’m sheltering in place in Ohio. I’m on Day #32. My emotions have run the gamut. From day to day, hour to hour, they change. I’ve run from depressed to angry to sad to cheerful acceptance. And, this might all be in one day!
I watched as my speaking engagements in March, April and May simply vanished. It could even go into June, July, August and beyond. So, I have reason to be sad, angry and depressed. But what I’ve learned about “negative” emotions is that they are okay. They should be viewed as messengers and we need to acknowledge them as valid and not push them down. They will simply resurface in another, less healthy way if we don’t give them their due. But the key is not to LIVE in this negative space. Give them the amount of time that is necessary to “keep it real” with ourselves, then let them go. They should be allowed to be visitors, not full-time residents in our psyches.
While my “message” of when I was working as a Funny Motivational Speaker sometimes rings hollow to me now, the truth is that these principles hold up, regardless of the nature of the challenge. They are even more important during these difficult times.
The one thing that we are all facing is a vast unknown. When will this virus go away? When will we go back to our pre-COVID-19 “normal?” Or will we? No one knows for sure.
The temptation runs high to catastrophize. To imagine the worst possible scenario for the future. This can put us in a state of fear and anxiety that makes it impossible for us to see the blessings all around us. Yes, even in the direst of circumstances there are blessings and goodness to be experienced if we just open our eyes, minds and hearts. Of course, we should “keep it real.” Be honest with ourselves on how we are feeling. All emotions are valid. But we need to lift ourselves up as soon as possible. Life goes on! We are not “on hold” even if it feels that we are in some weird state of limbo.
So, yes. Tend towards optimism whenever possible and realize that it might not be your natural state right now. It has to be mindfully worked at. Try to find humor anywhere you can. Consciously work towards lifting your mood. Because, when you are in a place of serenity and good feelings, this is where creativity lies. And, it is where we make good decisions. When we are tangled up in knots, it will paralyze us and render us unable to move ahead. And, yes! Look on that d*** bright side whenever possible, even if the light hurts our eyes.