June Bright Spots – Challenging Times

It’s July and it’s been a challenging time. Who would have predicted last year that this time next year we would be experiencing a pandemic? A crisis of this proportion? I sometimes feel like I’m in a movie. Do you? I know that at some stage this period of time will be the focus of history students as they craft essays entitled ‘How might the 2020 pandemic have been avoided?’, and read with fascination how we beat the pandemic by watching tv and sharing memes. Speaking of which:

Challenging Times

I really thought the idea of being brave during a global crisis meant fighting zombies and taking risks so the human race would survive. Something that involved martial arts. But this? The thing we have been asked to do to protect our fellow humans is to stay at home – no ninja moves required. As a former military officer, I have definitely done more difficult things for my country. Yet, for many, this still seems hard. Instead of going about our days we are being asked to stop and think: “Should I be doing this/going there?” We have never been asked to think about things like this before, and it is challenging not only for our social lives, but for our very existence.

And it takes up headspace. The mental load of thinking about the pandemic is hard enough, without having to take normally automated brain processes off automatic and re-think them. Grocery shopping. That friend you were going to have over on the weekend. The barbecue you had planned. The wedding you had booked flights for. Uncertainty takes up energy – energy we would rather use for other, fun things.

Yet, amid the uncertainty we are seeing the resilience of the human spirit come through. Leaders like Jacinda Ardern are showing the world what is possible when you apply empathy to strong leadership. She did such a great job of addressing the uncertainty in New Zealand, not with platitudes but with genuine emotion backed up with hard work. It’s taught us that a way through is possible.

Speaking of what’s possible, I’ll share my June bright spots. Wherever you are, and whatever you’re experiencing, I hope you’re staying as positive as you can and looking for ways you can contribute. Because the world needs what you have.

Warm wishes,
The Agile Project Manager

P.S. Missed May’s bright spots? So did I! Here are April’s so you’re all up to speed.

My June bright spots

My recent bright spots have been centred around learning and connecting. While I still maintain I love a live classroom, I am experiencing the benefits of virtual learning more and more. As a learner, I love that I can learn at my own pace (if doing a digital course) or access training and people I may not have experienced without extensive travel on my (and my fellow participants’) behalf. As a trainer I’m loving using online tools like Mural and Fun Retro to share ideas. They have proven to be even better than my beloved Post-It Notes on walls as people have felt safer to contribute from the comfort of their homes, and it’s also faster. Quiet writing is essential to gather thoughts before sharing, and the online environment facilitates this so much more than a classroom full of distractions.

Connecting with my family over Zoom and Skype to chat and play games has been a highlight. I’m not sure my sister will ever let me live down the fact that she beat me at Scattegories. Or my cousin Liz in Harry Potter Cluedo. I’ve spent more time with my cousins than I would have pre-Covid and I’m loving it. It’s funny, video chat has been around for a while, but I know I wasn’t a big user of it. Now I wonder how I could live without it! Sometimes it takes a push to use technology in the way it was designed.

What have your bright spots been so far? I would love to hear how you are going as we work our way through this major historical event together.



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.