Blog & Insight

How to keep on track in a pandemic

What do you need to do to keep on track in this pandemic?

With much uncertainty about life and business post lockdown what do you need to do to keep centred?

What do you need to do to ensure that at the end of lockdown your business is thriving, and you're still passionate about what you do?

I asked a similar set of questions in 2009 as we sat in a downturn and recession.

The following are notes from the archives taken of a session I facilitated for the Scottish chapter of the PSA (Professional Speaking Association) in Glasgow in 2009 that helped provide insight on how to keep on track.

These insights feel as relevant in 2021 as they did then, and so I share them today trusting you find the insight you need.

Process & Introduction

During the session I used the Frameworks for Change Coaching Process (FCP) © box of insights, setbacks and mentors to act as a catalyst for the direction of the session and to allow interaction with and participation from the audience.

There are 3 types of cards used: insights, setbacks and mentors.

Insights (I). These either indicate a direction, attitude or behaviour you can take, highlight a truth you need to remember or remind you of a time when you demonstrated a particular quality or behaviour to bring it in to the now.

Setbacks (S). These may indicate a particular attitude that is unproductive, identify a habitual way you react that restricts your effectiveness or presents its self through someone who displays a behaviour that sets you back in this way.

Mentors (M). These are either real people who already model this quality that can act as an example for you at this time or reminds you to express this quality.

Cards explored

As with all learning if you can make your own links to the key points it will have greater impact.

This first list therefore purely offers the cards picked, and you are invited to explore your own connection to these in relation to keeping on track at this time.

  • I: You broke through your closed shell of isolation into a true understanding and experience of team work.
  • M: Peace.
  • M: Wisdom.
  • I: You value and express the quality of KINDNESS in the present situation. Recall a time when you experienced kindness.
  • S: You made a final commitment without the means to fulfil it.
  • I: You value and express the quality of FAITH in the present situation. Recall a time when you experience faith.
  • I: Even though you were busy, you took time to reach out to a colleague in distress and offered your support.
  • M: Flexibility.
  • S: You are setback by DISAPPOINTMENT in the present situation. Recall a time when disappointment set you back.
  • S: You are setback by RESENTMENT in the present situation. Recall a time when resentment set you back.
  • I: You didn’t get caught in the rat race to the top.
  • M: Authenticity.

Did any of these stand out and provide a potential direction of travel or perhaps identify an action needed to help keep you on track?

If not, let's see whether our exploration of the cards during the 1.5 hour session may provide more insight for you.

Discussion and insight that emerged during the session.

You may find these notes resonate with your own exploration of the cards, add something to them, or something else entirely.

I: You broke through your closed shell of isolation into a true understanding and experience of team work.

There are 3 aspects to this card:

- breaking through the closed shell of isolation

- true understanding of teamwork

- true experience of teamwork

It’s certainly very difficult to keep on track if you isolate yourself, so too if you experience teamwork where everyone operates in their own silos.

(What would breaking through your closed shell of isolation into a true understanding and experience of teamwork would look, sound and feel like?)

M: Peace.

It’s very easy to think you’ll calm down or take time out once you’ve finished everything, once the pandemic is over.

Here you’re being asked to bring a quality of peace into your life now.

Knowing that from that place of peace you’re more likely to make better decisions and wiser choices.

(What would a mentor or role model of Peace do at this time?)

M: Wisdom.

Once you’re more peaceful you’re then much more able to listen to your own inner wisdom to enable those choices to be those best for you at this time.

(What is your inner wisdom asking of you?)

I: You value and express the quality of KINDNESS in the present situation. Recall a time when you experienced kindness.

Kindness doesn’t necessarily come from doing big things but the smaller things – like a smile, a thank you or a phone call when you know someone is struggling.

Expressing kindness not only has a positive effect on others but also affects how you feel too.

(How can you be kinder today?)

S: You made a final commitment without the means to fulfil it.

We explored 2 different interpretations of this card.

The first was about the pain involved in making a commitment to do some work that you don't have the expertise to do.

The pain here involved physically being ill whilst trying to do the work.

It also involved not then having time to do work that would use your expertise and missing out on the joy that gives you.

The second interpretation was having this as a belief about commitments made.

That is, every time you make a commitment believing you don’t have the skills to do it. Which potentially stops you even saying yes to commitments in the first place, and will certainly stop you seeing the opportunities that do exist.

(Where might you need to stop saying yes, and start saying no, where you don't have the means to fulfil the commitment?)

I: You value and express the quality of FAITH in the present situation. Recall a time when you experience faith.

Having faith in yourself, each other, the economy in general and the future will help to alleviate the setback (S) above.

(How can you have more faith?)

I: Even though you were busy, you took time to reach out to a colleague in distress and offered your support.

This seems to be a continuation of true teamwork and looking out for others around you and being there for them.

Sometimes you don’t do this for fear of not knowing that to say.

However you don’t need to know how to solve someone’s problem, or what to do to be of support to another person.

(Who needs your support?)

M: Flexibility.

Being flexible is key in ensuring you don’t miss the opportunities - flexible in thought or action.

(What would a role model or mentor of flexibility do now?)

S: You are setback by DISAPPOINTMENT in the present situation. Recall a time when disappointment set you back.

Sometimes it’s really easy to see the outcome as a setback. Something didn’t turn out as you expected and that’s the setback.

Here you’re being asked to consider that it’s your reaction to the outcome, your disappointment, that is the setback.

How is your reaction setting you back? What is it stopping you doing? How is it making you feel?

Your reactions are a choice you have every day.

(How can you release your disappointment?)

S: You are setback by RESENTMENT in the present situation. Recall a time when resentment set you back.

I wonder how easy it is, once disappointed with what’s happened, for you to start to resent others who have achieved what you wanted?

To look outside of yourself and spend time noticing and resenting what others have compared to your own apparent lack.

(How can you release your resentment?)

I: You didn’t get caught in the rat race to the top.

Not getting caught up in the rat race and releasing the resentment and comparison with others and....

M: Authenticity.

... being authentic will allow these setbacks to be released .

In turbulent times the one thing you need to be is at your best, and the one thing you know how to be is to be yourself.

So rather than go off track by trying to be what you think others want you to be, the one thing you can do to keep on track is to be authentic.

To offer the world your own unique expression of humanity and trust that others will do the same.

(How can you be more authentic?)


It's a fabulous toolkit and resistance is minimised because rather than the facilitator or coach suggesting someone is setback by resentment, the cards are inviting them to consider how the words might just be true.

Do get in touch if you'd like to find out more about me facilitating a session for your team using this process, or would like to explore its personal development cousin the Transformation Game during a session yourself.


The process, the insight, setback and mentor cards used here are from Frameworks for Change © Innerlinks - www.innerlinks.com.


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© Alison Smith
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