Okay not to be okay
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2020 - 12:00am

“It’s okay not to be okay.” Times are difficult. I know that many leaders and their people are trying their best to manage stress and work demands, particularly, those working from home, especially if this is a first-time experience. No wonder this expression becomes popular. Bosses say this and HR people express this in their well-meaning attempts to show care and compassion to their people during these challenging times. They say: “If you are not feeling okay, then it is okay.” There is even a Korean TV series titled: “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay.” And it made itself to the top 10 most-watched list.

Leaders have to be patient and to be compassionate with their people. Most everyone is somehow battling health and financial issues while the constant threat of job security and the continuous pounding of the news channel with their endless provisions of bad things may not help make people okay. While it is okay not to be okay, it is not okay to STAY not okay. And while our leaders, parents, friends may try their best to show empathy and care, getting up and fixing ourselves is outside their realm and control.

As I interact with clients, do personal reflections, continue to observe and study day to day developments, I have come up with a few ideas that have helped me tremendously. I want to share these with you with the hope that you may find them useful. While I realize that “We are all in the same boat,” as many today would say, not all of us may have the same storms. Look over them and see where these ideas may be of use to you or share these with others who may find them useful:

• Good to seek wise and experienced friends for advice during challenging moments. Ask counsel. When you get hit with a difficult situation, you may not be in the best position to make sense of things, let alone decide what to do. You are not alone in this, reach out for help. Scriptures say that in a multitude of counselors, there is wisdom. Surround yourself with cheerleaders, you do not have to pretend to be strong at a time when you feel you are weak. It would help if you borrowed strength from others.

• Stop the “all-or-nothing” or thinking in extremes. Examples: “Either you are a success, or you are a failure.” “Either you make it, or you don’t.” “Either you are a winner or a loser.” Of course not. Life is a constant swing of trials and triumphs. The idea is to let the emotions stay stable and steady in the middle of the spectrum. In victories, stay humble. When not doing well, be hopeful. Tides always change.

• Change our mental conversation:

From “I have lost it all.” to “I may have lost my job or business, but I still have the competence experience and network.”

From “I will never recover.” to “I will roll with the punch and even if I am going through challenges now, things will change, and I will prepare myself for recovery.”

From “I am not smart enough” to “I may not know now, but I can learn.”

From “No one loves me or cares enough for me.” to “I have intrinsic worth, and I know I am of value because Christ died for me and He loves me.”

• Not everything you want would come in an instant. Understand and appreciate the process. Like COVID-19, you cannot rush its departure. The vaccine has to be developed, and protocols need to be in place. Recovery is the same. You cannot suddenly recover and go back to business as usual. Be patient with the process and learn through it, the process is more important than success.

• Eat right, get rest, have enough sleep, drink water and get sunlight. If you are unhealthy, you can be easily overwhelmed. Stress will have a substantial negative impact on you. Give your mind a break. Do not do doomscrolling. Guard your mind against the infusion and invasion of negativity. We need to have a healthy body and a vibrant mind as we navigate these times of uncertainty.

Yes, I understand. While it is okay not to be okay for now, we need to make sure that it is temporary. We are all going to get through this. God is still in control, yet we will face the current situation’s realities and change us for the better. Then and only then, will we be okay.

(Attend and participate in the live webinar this Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Francis Kong will host and Pastor Chad Williams of Union Church of Manila will speak on “Finding Strength in the Small Things.” Live via Facebook@francisong2)

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