The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdowns have changed our world overnight. They have changed the way we live, work, and learn—everything has shifted into the virtual world. We asked our faculty what their lockdown learnings have been, which habits helped them the most during this period, and which habits they planned to stick to permanently.
In the fifth of our interviews with Harappa faculty, Senior Curriculum Specialist Sanjay Deshpande spoke to Yashodhara Lal, author, coach and marketing expert, about her lockdown learnings. She told us how she has adapted to the crisis, and why flexibility and adaptability are key skills at this time. Read on to learn more.
Habits That Help Make It Through A Lockdown
We asked Yashodhara what is the one Harappa Habit—Think, Solve, Communicate, Collaborate, Lead—that she has relied on most in this lockdown. She said she has relied on all these habits to some extent during the lockdown. But if she were to pick one, she would pick Think. She used the lockdown period as a clearly demarcated time to reflect and think. And by thinking, she doesn’t mean just analytical thinking, but using silence and peace as a way to introspect on life and her career. She is also using this opportunity to envision her future.
Making The Best Of The Crisis
Yashodhara believes that people need to slow down and envision what they want from their life in this period. “People generally have not had time to think much—now distractions have closed down, and this has provided people an opportunity to take a hard look at life and figure out what truly matters to them. This is a different kind of thinking than the usual chatter that goes on in people’s heads.”
She shares with us the three skills she has adopted in this phase. While she always had a fitness regime, her dedication to her mental and physical fitness has improved since the lockdown. She has been doing yoga, meditation, dance, and tai chi—a lot which she has learned through online resources. This has acted as an energizer and mood uplifter for her.
She is also training to become a Transactional Analysis-based therapist. She had started an in-person program before the lockdown but moved online because of the lockdown.
Another skill that she has honed in this period is intuition. She says she has been able to surrender control to the universe, which is quite different from who she was earlier. This has helped her become much more empathetic and available even as a coach and a therapist.
The Importance Of Flexibility And Adaptability
She says she has decided, in the face of all the uncertainty, to do a trust fall with the universe—to let go of control and planning things too tightly. She expects this will really change the quality of her life.
The top learnings for Yashodhara from this period have been—the importance of flexibility and adaptability, and being able to reframe situations positively. For instance, she has asked herself how important it is for her to physically connect with people during these times.
We asked Yashodhara about the setbacks she has had while working from home during the lockdown, and how she has overcome them. She tells us that she has recently started training as a therapist. According to her, it was magical when the training was in-person. When the lockdown started, they decided to pause the training and resume it when things returned to normal. But when they realized things might not open up anytime soon, they decided to continue the training online. She says there have been setbacks, like the initial lack of familiarity with the online platform, and having to learn new ways of communicating that don't rely as much on body language but on clear, gentle self-expression. But that has made her much more careful.
We asked her what changes she anticipates for professionals in her area of work. She thinks that in coaching and psychotherapy people will really have to learn to be comfortable with the online medium. Some things may not be easily adapted to the online space, but solutions need to be found. This might help people to expand their impact across the world. She also thinks there is a lot more activity on social media, which might not be very productive for people. Everyone will have to learn how to switch off from technology and social media.
“People might embrace coaching and psychotherapy to help improve self-awareness. And companies will also have to build resilience and the ability to embrace uncertainty in their teams.” She also thinks physical contact will be a huge issue for a long time that people will need to adjust to.
She thinks we are privileged to even ask or answer questions about how the world of work will change in the near future because COVID-19 has affected a lot of people in ways that might really push them into poverty. She believes that this crisis is making people more aware of where everyone is coming from and what challenges they face.
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Yashodhara Lal was interviewed by Sanjay Deshpande who is a Senior Specialist in the Curriculum Team at Harappa Education.
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