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  • Writer's picturegraeme


I distinctly remember a camping trip many years ago where we struggled to get a fire going. I remember it well because I really don't like camping and haven't done it often - maybe because of experiences like I had on that cold, wet weekend as a teenager. An abiding memory is working hard to kindle a small spark into a tiny flame, and failing to get a fire going. I feel similarly right now - that I am trying hard to get some kindling ignited, but I am struggling.

My psychologist friends tell me that it takes about 6 weeks or so to get over the shock of a deep disruptive change in your life. This is both on the up and down sides of change: so from moving house to getting married, from having a baby to losing your job, the initial shock, numbness and novelty all last about six weeks, and then whatever your new reality is begins to start feeling normal.

Of course this is a gross generalisation. Some people deal with change very easily. Some people never get over a trauma. And six weeks is not long enough to "deal with" change - it's just how long it takes for a normal person to normally move out of a "shock" or "crisis reaction" mode into the next phase of whatever it is they're dealing with.

That's where I sense a lot of people and organisations find themselves now. The initial crisis and shock is over, and now we are faced with the reality of our new normal. For many people, this is still a scary space. I am not suggesting for one minute that the crisis is over now. But we can start to shift from paralysing numbness to some form of action and response.

As we do so, let's support each other, encourage each other, motivate each other and help each other in whatever ways we can.

I am not struggling to get my own fire lit. In fact, because of the work I do, it has been a busy few weeks for me, and our team is doing quite well in the circumstances. I am thinking of countless small and medium size businesses and their owners and staff. Most of these have been hit hard in the last two months. I am thinking of millions of people who's job prospects are bleak. Let's work hard to help all of them fan their little flames into burning fires of brightness and hope. Whatever that might mean.

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