The New Normal or the New Extraordinary?

It’s day 48 of the lockdown in Malaysia, or the Movement Control Order (MCO) as it is known here. This week, there is a relaxation of the controls and people are allowed to emerge into the daylight and step into this brave new world. There is talk of a ‘new normal’, but normal implies ‘stasis’, a sense of being the same, of not changing, however, the world we now walk into is far from being normal, new or otherwise.

In Malaysia alone, where in comparison to the rest of the world, the number of COVID-19 cases has been low, with under 7,000 overall, and just over 100 deaths. In the state of Penang, where I live, we have had 121 cases and 1 death. The Government acted swiftly to stop people moving around, and largely, the population has heeded the call, with only essential services and food shopping allowed. No exercise outside. No other reason to leave the confines of one’s home.

I’ve been musing about the term ‘new normal’. In some ways it speaks of change, but in other ways I hear a longing for things to return to what they once were. But, if we are honest, our earth was sick, and we were so far from knowing how to save ourselves. Interestingly, according to a poll conducted by the Farming and Countryside Commission and the Food Foundation in the UK, an overwhelming majority hope to see some personal and social changes, with fewer than one in ten wanting to return to how things were before. People are noticing cleaner air, a stronger sense of community, of being in touch more, if only remotely, with friends and family, of valuing food, and sharing with neighbours.

We are all trying out new things and noticing differences, at home, and in our work. Personally, I am learning how to use new technologies, build an in-house studio to deliver speeches, and facilitate groups, the main stay of my business service. My husband, who is a professional DJ, has become a global virtual DJ with weekly Stir Crazy LIVE music events!

Now, more than ever, our ability to innovate, to create something of worth or of value out of ideas that are new to us, is our survival skill. Knowing how we can contribute our skills, our experience and our passions is of utmost importance as we collectively create what life will look like going forwards and how to navigate uncertainty and unpredictability.

We need to create a new narrative, a new story, a new vision that brings the very best out of us and places purposeful innovation, that helps to promote and uplift the well-being of people and planet.

So, as we slowly start to leave our homes, practice social distancing, contact tracing, and plan for business continuity to mitigate the risk of a future spikes or pandemics; as spaces and boundaries between home and work life blur, and work becomes more and more about what we do not where we go, let us think about how we reinvent, not only our lives, but the social and economic systems in which we operate and create new ways of harnessing the diversity of the skills of the teams in which we work, democratising each person’s unique value and importance. All of them, all of us, are indeed innovators.

Let us not create a ‘new normal’. Let us lift our vision higher and create a ‘new extraordinary’, an imaginative life that is willing to invent, create and sense make a new narrative for our shared existence.

This calls for dreamers and doers, of those who can identify opportunities, and ignite new ideas, of those who can investigate and invest with courage, of those who can implement and improve and make sure we are learning, continually learning from all that we do.

The earth has taken a breath and started to heal itself. Now, in the words of Thomas Berry, ‘we must dream our way forwards, we must summon ways of seeing that we know nothing of yet.’

The earth has turned, and a new opportunity has emerged. Now is the time for us to operate at our very best and live extraordinary lives.

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Credits and Resources

Natalie Turner is the Author of the Award-Winning Book Yes, You Can Innovate. Discover your Innovation Strengths and Develop your Creative Potential. She is also a Keynote speaker, now virtual and the inventor of  The Six ‘I’s® of Innovation.

Discover your team’s innovation strengths and create new actions for change through our virtual service Fight, Flight or Innovate.

Learn how to enable and empower your organisation to unleash its creative potential through Entheo’s Six ‘I’s® Virtual Professional Certification Programme.

In collaboration with Team Building Asia, Keynote Speaker and Moderator Tim Wade and creative visualiser, Tim Hamons, from Art of Awakening Asia, watch Natalie speak at the Leaders in Lockdown series and be inspired on how to engage your team to innovate.

Team Building Asia is an award-winning business that has been operating for over 18 years in Asia Pacific. They deliver innovative events that motivate, excite and challenge teams, resulting in better communication, collaboration, stronger bonding and an increase in trust. They have reimagined their most popular, high-quality programs for teams to stay connected throughout these times. Each programme has a variety of activities to suit each individual, from interactive to creative, without having to go outside or gather.

Painting courtesy of Ingela Johansson, Founder of ZenArt, artist and author of the book Create to Flow who felt inspired and created this beautiful image this after reading a previous article If the Virus Could Speak.

The video, which is titled “The Great Realisation,” was uploaded to YouTube by British artist and poet “Probably Tomfoolery” on April 29. In the video, a father reads his child a bedtime story, however, this tall tale is not quite Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

For online entertainment for corporate or personal events visit DJ Carl Hinds and sign up for his Stir Crazy LIVE!

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This article also published on LinkedIn