Groundhog Day is celebrated every year by Americans on February 2 for over the last 100+ years as we gather in a little town called Punxsutawney to watch this little fellow called “Punxsutawney Phil” come out of his winter hole. The story goes that if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does o’t see his shadow, we’ll have an early spring. He’s a legend and he’s a rodent with his own website and social media presence. There is even a movie starring Bill Murray about this furry fellow. I suppose I have an affinity to this place of Punxsutawney as it’s my mother’s birthplace.
I remember visiting this quaint little town with the rolling hills, picking huckleberries with my cousins. It’s a town made famous as everyone gathers and waits to see if our buddy “Phil” will see his shadow. He might be considered a rookie weatherman or maybe even a rodent with prophetic powers. There is a lot of pressure on this little guy to determine our impending weather. The interesting part of this whole thing is that the first day of spring is March 20 or 21, depending on the year, and that’s almost exactly six weeks from February 2, but let us not ruin the fun for Phil.
In the 1993 comedy, “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray, we are told the story of a man trapped in a time loop. He is doomed to repeat the same day over and over again until he gets it right. Does this sound familiar to what we have been experiencing for the past year? What does this have to do with our careers in a coma or what we have been dealing with during Covid-19? Are we waiting for that right moment to be able to poke our heads out of our homes to determine if we see our own shadow in order to restart our lives?
The good news is we are not in a mystical time loop. The Covid-19 lockdowns have made many of us feel as though time was standing still. The famous philosopher, Aristote, concluded that time is the measurement of change. Many of us have not had the opportunity to experience or enact significant change during lockdown; we have felt as if time was stretching on to create one endless day. Quarantine feels a lot like the movie “Groundhog Day.” Many have felt unresponsive to the world around them. Nothing seems to phase them, and, in some ways, you feel like you are in a coma of sorts. A career coma, perhaps, as well. You feel stuck in your job with not much hope for expansion or growth. You miss the camaraderie with teammates, bosses, and friends.
You are not able to go out to your favorite restaurant for lunch with a group of associates. You missed the social interactions at sports events, concerts, conventions, networking, and educational classes. Even worse, if you have lost your job during the pandemic, you do not feel like there is much hope to find another job that is in alignment with your skillset. You may find that the company you worked for is dependent upon other industries that have also been paralyzed by the pandemic, creating a domino effect. You can do something to start taking charge of your situation. It’s all about putting a positive spin on a negative situation.
In the movie, “Groundhog Day,” the main character eventually uses the time loop to not only better himself but also the lives of those around him. Let us take a look at some ways that might perhaps awaken you from your metaphorical coma and allow you to move forward in 2021 in a way that allows you to experience more fulfillment and joy in your personal and professional life.
1. Have a Determined Mindset
It all starts with mindset. I am always reminded of the famous quote by Wayne Dyer when he says, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.” Instead of focusing on how you are stuck at home in front of a computer, day in and day out, without much social interaction, why not change your way of thinking to what you could do with the two hours in the morning saved not getting ready for work and the travel time in traffic to and from home? What can I do with that time now available to me to improve my skillset, my digital skills, my networking contacts? Can I use that time to expand and grow to get ready for my next career challenge? On the altruistic side, what can I do to help my spouse, child, friend, volunteer organization, etc., to make a contribution to the greater good? With the time I now have, how can I help someone else? This idea can change the focus from “me“ to “we,” which is exactly what the new interview process calls for as we seek new employment. There has to be a new emphasis upon what we can do as a team player rather than as a solo participant on a team of one.
2. Find Inspiration and Meaning
Individual purpose is largely comprised of finding meaningful activities in which to engage. With more purpose injected into our lives, perhaps we can break the time loop cycle of being quarantined and come out on the other end proud of what we have accomplished. What about that writing class you have always wanted to take? What about that online art class that has always looked interesting to you? What about connecting online with that person you met on a cruise in 2019 who lives in Ireland? What about those guitar lessons or foreign language that are now offered online? Doing something that gives you purpose and meaning allows you to grow as a human being and feel better about who you are and what you have accomplished.
3. Contacts and Networking
We might be quarantined, but with the digital age we have to ability to connect with people all over the world. I’ve often thought how fortunate we are that this happened at time when we have the internet, etc. How can you associate yourself with others who could perhaps allow you to get out of your rut or unhappy situation? As detailed in my Faremouth Method, one of the five steps is “Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.” Put yourself into new centers of influence to widen your circle of friends and influential professional contacts. Get new ideas for your new social networks. Make those powerful connections on LinkedIn that may allow you to expand your career and get their advice on how to proceed in the future. The old saying, “it’s not what you know but who you know,” can be another helpful tool in your skill set and relationship toolbox to move forward to where you want to go.
In the movie “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray uses his determined mindset to find inspiration and meaning by working on himself, helping others, and even learns to play the piano. His attitude improves as he starts to enjoy his never-ending Groundhog-Day life. Once he has fully embraced his reality, he is released from the cycle and he develops a whole new attitude and awakens to a new day. There is a lot to be said for acceptance of situations that present themselves in our lives. After the acceptance, we can then release ourselves from a routine we created and expand our reality by stepping out of our comfort zone to the unknown. In that unknown world we can find a new peace and find our own new reality filled with promise and new experience through our own evolution of change.
If a rodent can become a legend in his own time, what could that possibly mean for you?