Encourage others to reach out and ask someone else how you can help them. Doing so elevates you. Givers really do gain. If you could be of help to someone else because you reached out to them, you’ll also be remembered by them. Now is a great time to reach out to someone else to ask how you could be of help.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr Wayne Pernell.
Dr. Wayne Pernell is a highly sought speaker, Amazon #1 International Best-Selling Author, blogger, podcaster, and High-Performance Breakthrough Coach bringing more than thirty-five years of experience in lifting others to set new strategic targets and attain exceptional success. He is known for being insightful and engaging. Dr Pernell is a member of the Forbes Business Council and has regularly been on television, radio, and podcasts around the country also having contributed to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and the NY Times, among others.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Over 35 years ago, after earning my doctorate in clinical psychology, I took an immediate turn into leadership development. I began working with executive leaders and entrepreneurs in organizations across an array of industries. When I found that several people were facing similar challenges, I began writing books. I’m a #1 best-selling author now with my five books focusing on topics covering personal development to leadership and transitions.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Actually, my very first book made a significant impact on me. I realized that even though I was potent and powerful in the world as a consultant, I didn’t feel aligned that way internally or at home. I grew up going along to get along and found myself in a place where I was simply giving away my choices in order to keep the piece. As I began to explore that, I found hundreds and then thousands of people who had similar experiences. I wrote Choosing Your Power as a guide for others to step in and own their personal power in the world. It was foundational for me in bringing my voice to the printed page and to become a Hay House Featured Author. (see www.WaynePernell.com/books)
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective, can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Five Reasons to Be Hopeful During the COVID-19 Crisis:
- We’re all shut in, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve lost who we are. It’s so easy to feel like everything has been taken away because we’ve been asked to stay at home. We can’t go out to eat or enjoy live entertainment. We can’t… fill in the blank. There are a lot of things we can’t do. And, there are a lot of things you CAN do. Remember who you are; you’re strong, resilient, and creative. This time might have caused you to get a little more creative.
- You are more than your work! One of my clients told me he felt “rudderless,” like he was just afloat at the whim of the changing current. He was aching to get back to work, where he felt like he had “purpose.” The truth is that you have a purpose as a good human. Your gifts can be shared when you simply reach out!
- Know that you’re not alone! This feels like a super lonely time, even if you have family around. We like security and we also like novelty. We need to reach out to others beyond our bounds. First, the entire world is experiencing the same feelings as you. So, know that you’re not alone. Second, there’s someone who would welcome a call or a video chat from you — someone, somewhere, could use a friendly “hello, it’s been a while” from you. While we used to say, “put down the tech and really connect with someone,” now we’re saying, “pick up your tech and connect with someone!”
- Recognize what you do have control over. I’ve spoken with a lot of people across the country and around the world. The strongest theme that seems to come up for them after wrestling with near-depression is that they don’t have control and they feel punished. You didn’t cause this and you’re not being punished. Staying in is helping and contributing to a greater good. The only NORMAL right now is that we’re all experiencing emotions based on facing uncertainty. THIS isn’t the “new normal.” That won’t set in for a year or so. In the meantime, establish a routine that you like.
- New routines are a thing! Yes, while a “routine” can feel like a rut and be boring, having a set pattern of what you do approximately when, sows the seeds for the future. If you’re binge-watching tv shows, you’re setting up a pattern for yourself. If you’re getting up, prepping your day, doing some exercise, and jumping into some creative work, you’re also setting up a pattern for yourself. One will pay big dividends. Set your tomorrow before going to bed tonight. Then, stick to it!
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Anxiety is based on uncertainty or a sense of impending doom. Help others find a few things during the day that they have control over: meal prep and planning, physical activity, planning connection with others, etc.
- Encourage others to reach out and ask someone else how you can help them. Doing so elevates you. Givers really do gain. If you could be of help to someone else because you reached out to them, you’ll also be remembered by them. Now is a great time to reach out to someone else to ask how you could be of help.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, yourself. Encourage that. We all need to reach out. I had a friend I set up a video-call with. He told me that he almost reached out to me a few times. He was embarrassed to do so and he talked himself “off the ledge.” There’s no shame in asking for support; even the people who look like they have it all together should be encouraged to ask for support!
- Along those lines, acknowledge that you have emotions. Some days are “good days.” Other days, not so much. Being thrown out of our normal routine and sense of control means we’re learning to feel powerless. Don’t generalize powerlessness. Only going out was taken away, and even that wasn’t taken entirely. Some days, that feels overwhelming. Allow the roller coaster of emotion.
- Do something wacky! Now is a GREAT time to break out of the old molds that other people might have seen you in. If you were always one to dress conservatively, loosen up a bit. If you never thought of yourself as creative, do some sketching or singing. Break out of the norm and recognize that you’ve been given permission to do so. I have friends that throw video-based dance parties. How fun is that!
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Right now, the best resources are family and friends who understand.
If things are really bad, certainly keep this hotline number handy: 1–800–273–8255
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I’m a fan of “Decisions Terminate Panic”
I got that in a fortune cookie when I was in grad school. I hadn’t seen it before and I haven’t seen it since. It’s stuck with me because it came to me at the right time.
Decide, then do. People get bogged down in whether what they’re thinking of doing is “right.” It’s right for YOU and don’t worry about being judged by anyone else. Make a decision and act on it. If it’s not right, you can course-correct along the way.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I love this. I actually DID start a movement: #StartsWithOne
I don’t think the idea of kindness goes far enough. In fact, it’s kind of impersonal. But when you reach out and truly see someone, when you deliberately, actively, positively uplift another individual, you never know how far-reaching those ripples go.
When people hear “we should do something,” they might shake their heads in agreement, but then wait for others. We face the demon of “diffusion of responsibility” when we wait for someone else to step in. We create a true culture of caring when an accountable “I” steps in first. Then another, then another. It’s a group of accountable individuals that make a stronger “we.” Start there. Making a difference #StartsWithOne — YOU!
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
I’m on all social media!
Find me on facebook at www.Facebook.com/WaynePernell
On IG as Dr_Wayne_Pernell
On twitter @WaynePernell
On Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/waynepernell/
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!