In early March 2020 I was flying back to London after visiting my son in Canada and thanks to a following wind the plane got to Heathrow early and was put in a holding pattern over London.
It was a bright sunny morning and we had a spectacular tour of the famous London landmarks: Tower bridge, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, the Shard, the Gherkin and more, but what was more fascinating was the tiny details of rows of houses, gardens, people playing football, walking dogs, washing cars.
We did the circuit three or four times, noticing new things each time.
Eventually we were directed into the stream of traffic to take our allocated slot for landing. The people in air traffic control could see the big picture of the busiest airport in the world and knew exactly where we needed to be.
Usually when we get off a plane all the passengers know where they’re going – we all go out into the tinier slots of our own streets and homes and we didn’t need to be directed there.
We know where we fit in.
Since that landing the world became a very different place, very quickly.
What I’m seeing right now is a lot of people and businesses in a holding pattern.
We’re circling, noticing that some things look the same and some are very different and we’re not so sure where we fit in any more.
The world has changed.
Nobody can see the big picture yet. There are no clearly defined slots to fit in to.
The big picture keeps changing, a bit like a kaleidoscope. Opportunities may appear and then disappear and while some people have changed direction others are still trying to work things out.
All the people we usually work with are going through the same things, so trying to get anyone to make a decision, to place orders or sign off on projects is tough.
When people are paddling furiously to stay afloat, getting their attention for non-essential work is almost impossible.
Our most important job right now is to stay safe and reserve our energy, and not beat ourselves up if we’re not pushing to get things done.
Nothing lasts for ever. Things will get better.
Stay visible. Stay available.
When things shift, you’ll know where you fit in and what to do but if that’s not now, its OK.