Identifying the true source of our anxiety during COVID-19

by ERIC KUSSIN - CEO & FOUNDER - WE'RE ALL A LITTLE "CRAZY": GLOBAL MENTAL HEALTH ALLIANCE™ | April 02, 2020

When we’re not facing a pandemic, the most common pleasantry we exchange millions of times a day, around the world, with friends, family, even prospects and clients (regardless of industry), goes something like this:

How are you doing?

Good! And you?

Good as well.

Because we’re faced with something ALL of us are going through right now, there’s a bit more of an openness to our responses we’re willing to share, when we ask each other how we’re doing.

Why? You can’t really hide that this change in routine and lifestyle is difficult - so if you answer w your typical “good,” it just doesn’t seem right or genuine. What are you hearing instead? These are the types of responses I’m getting - and this is from the folks who actually have a more positive spin on the current situation:

“It’s difficult now...but when work comes back full-time, when sports returns...when my kids go back to school & the routine goes back to ‘normal,’ everything will be good.”

Will it though? Will it for them? Will it for you, someone who's job takes up more of your free time than most?

Our “norm” as a society, and especially as sports business executives has been to get so caught up in the “stuff” we busy ourselves with, that that’s the only way we feel “right.” When the hustle & bustle is back, we busy ourselves with our distractions - even if those distractions are mostly positive things.

So, I’m not by any means saying those things mentioned above are all bad activities. For 15 years straight out of college, I loved the majority of each and every hour I spent in a sports office. What I am saying, however, is that the things above (and specifically the work that we love), are most easily used as distractions that take up our WHOLE day, that allow us to say - “we’re good” when people ask us how we are doing, when the truth is, we’re too busy to deal w our “stuff” that lies beneath the surface from our pasts. And yes, we ALL have pasts we can work on. It’s what makes us human.

Take it from the guy who was too busy loving my time in the office, that I didn’t even know there were things in my past that I had to work on, leading to me falling flat on my face, at the height of my career, once the past had silently built up so much inside of me.

The people who are most open with me now are telling me, essentially, what I wrote on this picture slide: Their “stuff” is surfacing right now because the other distractions aren’t available to them.

Hello, this is a SIGN! The angst many/most of us feel right now is more about the “stuff” we neglect, surfacing, than it is anything covid-related.

Try not to excuse these feelings you are having now, as angst only about the virus. Don’t assume your routine returning means you’ll be “good” just like that. Look at this time as a gift to get you YOURSELF, better.

Look at the angst we are feeling as a sign. Just as we’d change our lifestyle if we had a physical health scare (say it was a pain in our chest, where we’d change the way we’d eat and work out)...heed what we are feeling now, and use this time to work on ourselves, our pasts, our emotions, our baggage. That’s how we’ll get out of this, feeling great. It won’t happen just from getting back in our routines, alone.

We’ll discuss more what “working on ourselves” looks like, in the next webinar. But for now, please, just acknowledge as sports professionals we 1) can’t just bury what we are feeling, and 2) it won’t just “go away” when our seasons return. Instead let’s use this time to ACTIVELY get healthy. More to come.

-Eric