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Dealing with Uncertain Time: The Future of Work | Kevin McAlpin & Cora Lynn Heimer Rathbone | #LetsResetNormal


Essex & Herfordshire, UK

“You never want a serious crisis go to waste… [it] provides the opportunity for us to do things you could not do before.”

Rahm Emanuel

Take control of what you can control – your own development and increased self-awareness, the kindness you extend to others, the compassion you show to others, the resources you share free of charge or no strings attached. Do new things that you “think you could not do before”.

Step back and review and reconsider what we do, who we are and how we want to be in the context of what is really happening. Reconnect with your purpose in life. Reflect on and honour the past. What progress have you made towards what is important to you in your life and look to embrace the future? Based on the trends, what will the new normal look like? Reflect on the times of greatest success and draw out repeating/underpinning themes – ensuring you are “Living the life you were meant to live”.

Focus on your mental wealth, meaning your physical, emotional, mental, relationship and financial wellbeing; this will support your resilience and the ability to adapt. Change your mindset, focus on the positive, physically exercise, go for walks in nature where safe to do so, “eat together” by Zoom, Skype, read together and share ideas from what you’ve read.

Play to your strengths and most importantly be guided by your purpose and values. 

Connect, support and show empathy to each other and be open and honest so people know the truth. Focus on wellbeing, collaboration and trust using the principle and platform of Whatsapp, Homeparty, Zoom, Skype, stay connected.

Utilise collective intelligence to enable us to make the best decisions, be creative, adapt and invite others to collaborate. In human development what most differentiated homo sapiens from our closest cousins – Neanderthal Man, Homo Erectus, etc – several of which had larger brains and stronger bodies, was our ability to collaborate, to come together to make things happen. According to Charles Darwin, survival does not belong to the fittest but to those most able to adapt.

Take action to gain momentum, be ready for in-course correction. Set up a network of one or two people or even four people where they hold each other to account and get through this together.

The things that are important to us and our human needs at this time are being truly tested. Under threat most people sit down and narrow their focus and energy as if we are going to be eaten or be attacked. We don’t look forward and wide.

Human Needs

Be proactive in how you satisfy these needs, especially at times of uncertainty. There are eight core human needs. We need to consider what we need and what our families, colleagues and friends need in times of uncertainty. Building on the combined thinking of Anthony Robbins and David Rock, who both bring together a wide range of research from psychology and neuroscience, these human needs are:


Perhaps most importantly, we also have an intense need to contribute to something greater than ourselves. We need to share what we have with others to get the most fulfilment out of life. Our talents and belongings do little to help us if we keep them just to ourselves. It’s a human need to give, protect and serve others. Establish what gets you up in the morning – what talents you bring to this world. What are ‘the works’ that you feel your god or parents prepared in advance for you to do?


We have a deep need for certainty in life — we crave stability in our relationships, health, and financial wellbeing. Clarity of expectations and an alignment of purpose and values gives us this. We seek safety, security, comfort, order, predictability, control and consistency. Second only to the physiological need to survive through food, shelter, companionship is the need to trust. People seek clarity and often the last thing we cling onto is the need to control. Focus on trust and where you place your trust, if we have this it changes everything.


We also have a deep need to stand out and be visible to other people, to have status and a reputation. We want to avoid being invisible and irrelevant. We need to feel understood, special, have pride, feel needed, wanted and have a sense of importance and worth. Reflect on your life: what has made you stand out or have a sense of significance in the past? How can that be revived or repeated?


At the same time, we need surprises and adventure in life. We do not want to be bored by experiencing the same predictable things every single day. We need surprise, challenges, adaptability, excitement, difference, adventure and change. Proactively plan your week and month to establish patterns and rhythms that keep you curious and constantly learning, especially if you are constricted in what you can do through self-isolation and social distancing.


Autonomy gives a person a sense of control over what they do. Without independence we can feel under threat and stressed. It is crucial to feel we have options, have a voice, can make decisions, are empowered, can influence, have freedom, independence, we are an individual with opportunity and a freedom of choice. We live in paradoxical times: working from home can make it seem we have all the autonomy in the world; but we are constrained from interacting socially in person with others. The ability to interact with who we chose to relate has been stripped away. Learning to take control over what you have autonomy over and learning to let go of what you can’t control will be so important over the next few weeks.


Beyond having significance to others, we also have a deep need to be connected and loved for who we are. We do not want to be left disconnected, alone, and unappreciated. We’re social animals, and we naturally form social groups, tribes and build relationships. These groups build mutual trust and form a barrier against the unknown. We need love, communication, empathy, approval and to feel connected to others. Belonging is an unspoken benefit of working in a team, being part of a family or group of friends. Ensure you are part of a coherent and collective unit striving for a bigger purpose than you could achieve alone. Stay connected and build on the interdependencies of the team or unit to which you belong.


We need to feel like we are always growing and making progress. We do not want to feel like we are standing still, or stagnating. We need continuous emotional, intellectual and spiritual development and learning. Continuous learning is a hallmark of high performing individuals and high performing teams. AI is fundamentally a “learning machine”, a machine that has been programmed to continuously learn. If we are not also continuously learning, we make ourselves as humans obsolete. Ask yourself and seek feedback from others on: 

  • What went well?
  • What could have gone better?
  • What could I/we have done that I/we didn’t do?


We need transparency, candour and things to be simple. Doing the right thing builds trust and collaboration. If a person thinks something is unfair, their brain automatically goes into defence mode – fight, flight, freeze. We need straightforward, honest conversations. We need balance, give and take, openness and fair treatment. “IT’S NOT FAIR!” is one of the earliest cries from very young children playing with other children. How “fairly” are you working and playing in times of uncertainty? How reciprocal is your concern for others? 

Things can and will get better.

For further information

Surviving the Coronavirus Lockdown and Social Isolation is a guide to creating a new normal in a changing world. Download a copy of the ebook for free now.

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Dealing with Uncertain Time: The Future of Work | Kevin McAlpin & Cora Lynn Heimer Rathbone | #LetsResetNormal

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