By Dave Jorna
THROUGHOUT this time of uncertainty and craziness from COVID-19, I have been seeing so many people online coming up with new and creative ways to connect everybody virtually.
Whether it be virtual workouts, dance lessons or online teaching, there are people working really hard to bring peopling together so we can stay socially connected even while we’re physically distanced.
When we connect with others it creates a greater sense of wellbeing, hope and positivity, and so I’m inspired by those people are making those connections happen.
It reminds me that we still have the ability to be mindful of who we are being, otherwise we can end up as a reaction to the world around us.
I first realised this concept of “who do I need to be?” when I was working in a special school in London.
On my first day, I had students throwing rocks at me and trying to beat me up and I remember thinking that I didn’t have the expertise or experience to work in this school.
As I thought more about it, I realised that the teachers and assistants who had great relationships with their students understood that fighting anger with anger was not affective and instead used humour to diffuse tense situations.
Those teachers realised who they needed to be in order to help their students.
They understood that for many of those disadvantaged kids, they didn’t need more anger and hostility, but someone who was supportive, built rapport and met them on their level.
So the next day, when the same boy came running at me trying to beat me up, I paused and said “hold on, let me get warmed up first” and proceeded to do funny stretches.
Soon enough, people had gathered and were all laughing and the boy had calmed down so we could have a chat.
When you think about who do you need to be, you can turn really difficult and negative situations into something quite manageable with a positive outcome.
Thinking about who do you need to be enables you to be the type of person that lines up with your values and beliefs and connects with your deeper sense of purpose.
It can be a reminder for you to think about what kind of person do you want to be remembered for, and help you follow that path.
One of my favourite quotes is “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel” by Maya Angelou.
People will always remember how you made them feel, and you make people feel through who you are being and your intentionality.
During these tough times, think about who do you need to be not only for other people but firstly for yourself.
Are you going to be someone who focuses on self care, gratitude and adding value to other people in your life?
Will you distance yourself from negativity both on social media and in others?
Remember what you value and what you believe in and use this as a way to guide your sense of purpose.
Then, who do the other people in your life need you to be?
Consider what they might need from you during this difficult time.
Make sure you create space in your day to reflect on this question, whether its in the last five minutes of travel before you get home or before a phone call, think about what do those people need from you.
Even in times of uncertainty, let’s be people of purpose and people who live in an intentional way.
Let us consider who we need to be in order to act in a way that lines up with our values and beliefs while taking care of ourselves and positively influencing those around us.
Dave Jorna is one of Australia’s most sort-after presenters for student leadership and student personal development programs. Over the last 10 years, Dave has enabled and empowered young people to gain a better understanding of themselves, others and the positive influence they can create. Dave is the founder and director of Project Hatch and the lead facilitator.