In the fall, I was speaking with a client about rescheduling her events (it went virtual and OMG sooo yummy but I digress). You can probably relate to her situation. She really wanted to proceed with leadership programs and strategic projects designed to elevate people, reinforce a healthy culture, and advance the company’s juicy true north, however, there had just been so many distractions and demands of her precious time; redeployments, grant requests, work restrictions (on top of the everyday work of emails, meetings, contract negotiations, and one hundred other responsibilities that can’t wait for COVID to be over).
At first, like so many of us, it got her down. She shared:
“In the first half of COVID I’ve spent so much of my time trying to figure out:
- Who am I?
- What am I supposed to be doing?
- How can I build more structure into my world so that it feels manageable?
The more I tried to find answers and force structure, the more life would push against it. Then what I realized was when I stopped trying to force structure, I noticed the things that I loved and that brought joy. I started to lean into it and be curious about that. I noticed that there were things that I haven’t done in a long time that I’ve now started to do again because I had the time. I started to seek alternative ways to find joy, such as doing videos online or painting classes and yoga demonstrations.”
She went on to relate it to her experience of homeschooling too.
“This homeschooling that initially felt so challenging, and now I realize we don’t have to make sure my daughter’s graduating like a Rocket Scientist. Instead, what if I sat down with her and I got a chance to see this as my window to her learning style. As opposed to it being about policing that she gets all of her work done, feeling if she didn’t get it all done I was a ‘bad mom,’ I started being curious about what habits were well-formed and which weren’t.
With more self-compassion and increased curiosity, she found solace in nature.
“I started to get outside more. I noticed all the little things in nature, things I would normally have missed if I didn’t pay attention. Things I would have never seen had I been in a big office tower doing my work.”
And then she shared a concept I will never forget, and I’ve adopted it wholeheartedly:
The Flutter Factor
“I’ve noticed so many things that make the heart flutter that I had completely disregarded. I thought my flutter factor time was over. You know, those are new and exciting things that make your heart flutter – a new romance, when you hold your baby for your first time, when you move to a cottage or when you go on a great vacation. My heart hasn’t fluttered in a long time.”
Can you relate? I sure can.
And let’s face it. We’ve been spending a lot of time being sick of not being able to plan things that make our heart flutter, or having to delay our flutter factor moments – weddings, parties with friends, festivals, meeting our new grandbaby, graduations, trips. It’s so easy to get fixated on the Flutter Factor we’ve been denied.
If you’ve found this (I know I have), check out what she said next.
“I noticed as soon as I stopped trying to structure and force some parameters in my life, I started to be curious about how to experience my life, and my heart is fluttering again. Never, ever, will I allow me to have a time where my heart doesn’t flutter. That will be the first indicator that I need to go back and shift and change something. If my heart isn’t fluttering, then surely there must be something that I could do to change that. Because heck, in the middle of COVID if I can find my heart fluttering, then surely when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic it’ll be a lot easier for that to happen.”
You know, I really resonate with that. It’s almost like the idea of the cocoon to the butterfly. It initially looks so ugly and yech, but then it transforms. I’ve heard so many people talk about how they’re sick of people being so positive, and I hear you when it’s “toxic positivity” where we are unable to empathize with struggles others are having and simply share blanket positive statements that do more harm than good. However, we can’t deny that there are some insights we’ve gained from this experience, and I love my clients’ experience of being curious about what makes your heart flutter and find a way to experience more of it.
How might you use The Flutter Factor to get clear on what brings you joy? How can you use that to lean into what you can at this time, and plan for the flutter post COVID?
Here is a list of the links shared in the article:
- The Flutter Factor YouTube Video
- Finding Meaning and Contribution During COVID
- Why Happiness is Better than Being Perfect
- 9 Essential Tips to Care for YOU
PS – This post is dedicated to this woman’s amazing dad, a man who always believed that his daughter’s heart deserved to flutter.