My Top 15 Lessons Learned as a Mom and Leader During Quarantine
Heather Ettinger, Founder and CEO at Luma Wealth, Managing Partner at Fairport Wealth
As a continual learner, this pandemic has presented me with hurdles, challenges and opportunities for learning like no other time in my life. As a leader of a wealth management team, the mother of three adult children, and a caretaker of my elderly mother, “juggling” does not even begin to describe my daily life. I want to share with you my top 15 Life Lessons from quarantine in hopes that something resonates and makes managing your life and business a bit easier. Through quarantine I have learned to:
1. Respond honestly to the questions: How are you? Is everyone healthy? My honest answer is physically everyone is healthy. Mentally is on a day-to-day basis.
2. To become more self-care aware. I stink at self-care and I bet I am not the only one! I am so busy taking care of others that I often forget about myself. I need to remind myself that I am of no help to others if I don’t apply my own oxygen mask first. Without taking time for my own mental health, I become tired, cranky and stressed. I am learning to take the time to celebrate doing something for myself. Whether that is taking a hike, a walk, or talking to a dear friend. For the sake of my mental health and the good of those around me, I must get better at this.
3. To connect with more with those who give back. After months of feeling like we are living life like it’s Groundhog Day, where everyone feels isolated and uncertain, we don’t know where we belong. I have been making a list of the people who I admire and make me feel the most connected, loved and appreciated, and have been making it a priority to connect with them more regularly.
4. Only let yourself worry for 30 minutes a day! Take 30 minutes every day to take all the things you are worried about and identify if you can do anything to make progress and help solve for them. If not, file them away in the “Can’t do anything else about it” category. Believe it or not, taking 30 minutes to work sort through your worries helps you to eventually solve the problems and even sleep better at night.
5. Focus on what we CAN control and let go of the things you cannot. Certainty has evaporated for many of us and therefore we need to focus on what we control, how we can pivot, and create success.
6. Identify signals and eliminate the noise. There is currently a surplus of news and fearful reporting being shared on social media, which can create a lot of unnecessary stress. Consider if the article or news story causing you stress is true or not: have you fact-checked it on online through resources such as APNews.com or Snopes.com? Ignore or unfollow those sources that cause you stress, seem to be sensationalistic fake news or inaccurate. You can even flag or report the post as False News to help prevent the spread of false information. Delete, Delete, Delete!
7. This is not normal. The “New Normal” has replaced “work-life balance” as the most upsetting and misleading phrase. What is normal about what we are going through?
8. Take a pause and question why people are behaving the way they are. People often do stupid things because they haven’t thought them through. Excuse them or avoid them. Remember that you can only control your own behavior and to wear a mask.
9. Take clarity breaks. Escape the noise and sit with paper and pen and just think about what you need, want, can design for your future.
10. “Opening Day” has a whole new meaning. This no longer just refers to baseball. This was the hair salons, grocery stores, restaurants, or maybe even your office re-opening.
11. Identify what lessons you will take with you when this is over. For me, it’s going for a walk every morning. It’s healthy and it mentally sets me up for a better day.
12. Make time for family dinners. Family dinners are a time to reflect, and to share activities, values, and priorities with each other. Even if you can’t all be in the same place at the same time, they can be done remotely. Now more than ever, it’s especially important to make time for family dialogue and sharing.
13. Organize a high-quality peer group. I have learned a lot about who is there for me and my family. My circle has become smaller, yet more valuable.
14. Designate an accountability partner. My oldest daughter and I check in every day. We both have a bad habit of just focusing on the gaps. For me, I must answer if I did any acts of self-care and together, we celebrate those. For her, she recounts any activities that are positive about her progress physically and professionally and should be celebrated.
15. Be the author of your own story!