The Interruption Opportunity

As the coronavirus is wreaking havoc with our lives, I have been reflecting on what opportunities can be found in this tumultuous time. I wrote on LinkedIn about the value I am finding in an abundance mindset where I appreciate and give thanks for what I still have, and I wanted to expand on that idea here.

One powerful idea from my coaching training program is the value of an interruption. When we are living our normal lives, we are adapted to our current routines. We don’t see a reason to change our current habits, because the risk of change feels more scary than holding onto our current state, even if that current state is sub-optimal. In some sense, we are living on autopilot without even checking to see whether the autopilot is taking us where we want to go. But an interruption in our lives shakes things up, and gives us an opportunity to look with fresh eyes at our lives, and consciously review whether our current routines and habits are serving us.

An interruption can come in many forms e.g. my coaching clients reach out to me after realizing they are not feeling fulfilled at their job, or after not getting a promotion they were expecting, or sometimes after getting the promotion and realizing that they are being stretched in new ways with more responsibilities. Interruptions can also be personal in nature, including a relationship breaking up, or a new baby, or breaking your neck in a bike crash. In any of these interruptions, we may find that our “normal” way of being is not serving us in our post-interruption context, and that can be an opportunity for growth.

While we can’t necessarily control the events or interruptions that happen to us, we can control how we respond to those events. One possibility is to reject the new context, and return to our previous habits and routines before the interruption; however, this may lead to complaints that things never change (because we don’t let them). Another possibility is to decide what we want to do differently after the interruption, or what experiments we can try to test out new patterns that might work better for the new context. I find that the latter choice is more empowering for me, but it’s up to each of us to decide how we want to live our lives.

With regard to our current societal interruption, I don’t want to minimize the suffering due to coronavirus. In addition to the hospitalizations and deaths, people are losing their jobs and are dealing with unprecedented disruptions to their lives. If you are in that situation, please take care of yourself.

However, if you have the stability and resources to get through the next few weeks and months, my question to you is what will you learn from this interruption? What will you take away from the experience, and do differently as a result? Since your life is being shaken up anyway by coronavirus, now is a time when the barriers to experimentation and prototyping might be lower – how will you take advantage of this interruption opportunity to update your routines and habits (aka your autopilot software) to serve you better?

3 thoughts on “The Interruption Opportunity

  1. A couple examples to make this provocation more concrete:

    • I am now working from home with my wife and toddler son – it would be easy to complain about the disruption to my previous schedule where I got lots of introvert alone time. But instead I am choosing to focus on the extra time I get to spend with my family, and we are learning how to find ways for everybody to get what they need.
    • I am experimenting with different ways to meet more people, not necessarily for business development, but to just connect and see how I can serve others. I feel connection is more important than ever during this period of “distancing”, so I have opened up more intro chat slots on my schedule.

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