Now that I have been able to hug my brothers and sons, and am happily installed in my Tuscan house, I realize how totally exhausted I am after this COVID-19 emergency and all that’s happened. Still, I feel that I should take a moment to honour the extraordinary changes it has brought to my professional life, and all the new ways of working it has shown me.
I practice Linguistic Empathy and I expect you to do the same. Please bear with me if my English is not perfect. Read the Italian version here.
My cousin and I have taken up the habit to send us a vocal message every morning to keep us updated on our respective lives. Our vocal exchanges intensified during the COVID-19 emergency. And our words now stand as testimony of a period that has been hard, sad, devastating. A period that, however, has also brought a lot of good in my professional life. Here are some of the positive things:
1. I have discovered my organizational skills are just as good online
I have always had great organizational skills. So far, though, I had never really had a chance to thoroughly test them online. With the COVID-19 emergency, me and my team at Expatclic have been providing lots of online opportunities. From webinars of all kinds to warm and friendly meetings to vent our feelings, our agenda has constantly been pretty full. And it has made me realise that even on the online realm, I am a damn good organizer!
2. I have met amazing professionals who enrich my network
More time spent online has resulted in an increased participation in webinars and presentations, and more presence on my socials. This has put me in contact with an increased number of amazing professionals and resulted in lovely conversations and collaborations.
3. I have touched the real strength and value of my network
This has been very clear with my Expatclic community, a community I have been nurturing since 2004. More time has resulted in the chance to listen to it more carefully, and to respond with initiatives that were more in line with the needs of the moment. And this brings me to point nr 4.
4. I have discovered new passions
I have come to realize that organizing webinars and online meetings for my community is something I passionately love. I love the creative process of pinpointing the right initiative to offer. What follows – the contact with the professional who’ll give the webinar and its organization – are deeply rewarding for me.
5. I have had to find new ways of working
As I repeatedly said, in March I was due to present my What Expats Can Do game and training in Milan. It was supposed to be the beginning of a new phase of my career, something I had been building on since I attended the Coaching by Values certification and the Intercultural Gamification Workshop of George Simons at the SIETAR congress in Leuven.
Of course it was all cancelled, but this did not impact my passion for using games in coaching and intercultural training. I turned to online webinars for games and activities, and a whole new and absolutely rewarding and fascinating world opened up. My two cycles of webinars have gone very well. I have grown as a professional and as an individual.
6. I have had more coaching clients
I guess people have taken advantage of this break from life as we’ve always known it to reflect and plan. This has resulted in a substantial increase of coaching clients for me. I have been contacted from different countries and have filled this emergency with meaning by helping my clients design a suitable career plan for the future.
7. I look at the online world with new eyes
I am certainly not the only one, but despite the fact that I have been working online for years, I feel like I have grasped new meanings and witnessed an unknown dimension of the online realm. This, in turn, has prompted me to look at everything I do in terms of virtual dimensions, thus widening my career perspectives with new ways of working.
8. I have invented a whole new range of products
I don’t know why I had not thought about it before. In fact, many of the webinars I currently give, I could have easily devised even in “normal” times. They would have been the perfect solution to give a wide number of people access to them, without need of physically moving. The power that comes from creating new things has been a widely beneficial effect on my self-esteem. It has pushed me to dare more.
9. I have reconsidered
Until now, I had considered the virtual way just as the only solution to the mobility my life has been subjected to since I quit Italy to follow my husband. Now I look at it under a different light. It’s an opportunity per se to give my work a brand new flavour and develop new exciting products to support my clients.
10. Online as a great way to channel empathy
Support through empathy is what has always driven my life and work. I was already aware of the fact that when coaching online it is absolutely possible to express support and vicinity just as well as in person. What I had not considered is the breadth of tools one can use to provide support. One example is the Professional Mentoring Group I have created for the community of Expatclic, but there are many more. I have come to realize that experience, time and creativity can lead to very powerful results even online.
All this said, I think the moment I’ll be able to attend a conference in person will be one of the happiest in my whole career!