CONFUSION AFTER COVID
By Sarah Elliston, author of “Lessons From a Difficult Person”
BIG BLEND RADIO INTERVIEW: Sarah Elliston explains how to use a Priority Ladder for making decisions. Watch her interview below in the YouTube player or download the audio podcast on PodBean or SoundCloud.
Summer 2021 – We’ve been living through change for 18 months and now we have more changes confronting us. Where do we wear masks? When do we wear masks? Are we vaccinated? Do we know people who aren’t? Can we travel? When? Where?
Will life ever get back to “normal?”
It can feel overwhelming. And we have already experienced that in being quarantined, having schools doing remote learning, doing our jobs remotely, socializing on zoom, working collaboratively on Zoom, staying connected with family on Zoom, making appointments to shop or work out so we can be socially distanced.
What is “normal?”
In considering our future, it is helpful to remember that all behavior is purposeful; we act to achieve something or experience something. Choice Theory, created by Dr. William Glasser, tells us that we have 5 genetic needs that drive all behavior: the need to survive; the need to feel loved, that we belong; the need to have fun; the need to achieve and feel successful; and the need for freedom, a need for choices.
Keeping these needs in mind, it might also be helpful to develop a Priority Ladder for all the choices we are facing. It can be helpful if each choice is written on an individual slip of paper and then laid out in priority with the top choice being the top of the ladder. For example: what is important to you in the next few months? If you have not had close family around during the last year, your need for belonging might be strong, so a family gathering might be on your top rung.
Or how about your need for fun? Maybe an upper rung will be attending a ball game or a concert in person. Or taking the family on a vacation to visit other family or to an amusement park.
If you have been working from home, how important to you is it to get back to the office? Have you been feeling successful in your work? What about taking your work team to lunch? Might this be a rung on the ladder?
Or is it time to look for a new job or a new hobby?
Will you start a new exercise program as the gyms continue to open? Or will you choose to keep doing what you’ve been doing at home?
Will you start attending your spiritual activities in person after 18 months of Facebook Live or Zoom services?
As you identify what will meet your needs, you lay the ladder rungs out in the order of how important they are for you. Take your time and move them around. If other people are involved, you can invite them to lay their rungs out in their priority. Then compare notes.
Spoiler alert: every time I have followed this process with others, our top three rungs have turned out to be remarkably similar and have always had to do with strengthening relationships. Choice Theory teaches that a primary need is for belonging and feeling loved.
So, take a few minutes and jot down some ideas. What haven’t I mentioned that you know you want to do within the next month? Put it on your ladder. Keep going.
Have fun and happy climbing the ladder. It will lift you out of confusion.
Sarah Elliston is the author of “Lessons from a Difficult Person – How to Deal With People Like Us, is a faculty member of the Glasser Institute for Choice Theory, and is a workshop leader and trainer who is certified in Values Realization and Parent Effectiveness Training. More at www.SarahElliston.com