Thriving Through Social Distancing

Following our recently hosted virtual Leadership Forum, Devon Fox, Director, Digital Platform Innovation with the PGA Tour, stayed online with me. She told me that despite heightened sensitivity to the current situation and the people that were truly suffering, she had noticed that she, conversely, was thriving through social distancing. A few days later, we met again via video conference to discuss this revelation further and some key points from that conversation are shared below. (You can also watch the complete interview HERE)


Devon stated that forced isolation had given her a chance to take a breath and she realized that she truly was an introvert, confirming what she had always inherently known. She said, “Although I demonstrate extroverted qualities at work, which I need to do to get things done, I truly am an introvert.” Due to social distancing, she was better able to take care of herself and what was important to her as evidenced by the fact that “she was sleeping better, eating better, and stepping into her role in a different way that was more effective” for her.


This brought an element of validation of the value of some things she had implemented during isolation. In conversations with other introverts, Devon had discovered that “Many of us are teaching people who tend to be extroverts’ new ways of dealing with this environment when they don’t have the same amount of social contact. Giving them tips and tricks for how to be okay when they’ve had one too many Zoom happy hours.”


She also suggested that folks should “dive back into some old hobbies, reading and spending time in activities that you can do with the whole family.” She felt it was important to be “really diligent about setting boundaries. Every day I sign in and sign out at the same time to keep the lines between my work life and personal life clear. It can be difficult for them not to blend in a scenario where you’re working from home all the time.”


“Giving myself permission to set the boundary” was a critical first step that may have been more challenging in other circumstances. Devon gave strong advice for those that struggle with setting those personal boundaries. “Don’t let the guilt of putting your own needs first stop you from actually doing” what you need to do to take care of yourself. In setting those boundaries, it can be helpful “to start really small with something that’s non-threatening for yourself and the people around you.” And finally, to make sure you adhered to those boundaries, she suggested finding a “friend or a buddy who can help remind you of the boundaries you set for yourself.”


There is a lesson here for leaders of every type and at all levels:

  • Be aware of your style, and the things you individually need to keep your energy up and your needs met.
  • Regardless of the external circumstances, make sure you take care of those needs. You are no good to anyone if you are not at your best. Set boundaries around those needs.
  • Clearly communicate those boundaries to your team and key stakeholders. There really is more to life than work, and you can master both.

No matter what your personality style, these ideas can help you improve how you overcome the challenges whatever circumstances you face.

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