Thriving Together Series

Thriving Together Series: Creating Your New Normal

By: Lisa O’Rourke and Heather Soubra

Lisa O’Rourke is a Senior Marketing Consultant and Leadership/Well-Being Coach. Heather Soubra is Founder of Wiser Way Coaching LLC and Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). Lisa and Heather met in the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being’s Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being certificate program. Both are practicing coaches working with clients and groups to support their journey to become the best possible version of themselves.

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we reflect on the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have awakened to what is most important for thriving and finding balance. We find ourselves looking at the fragility and significance of our lives and examining what that means from a career perspective. The recent article “The Covid Vaccine Means a Return to Work. And a Wave of Resignations.” by Anthony Klotx notes that we are seeing a lot of people across the United States making major life and career changes for well-being, such as resigning or moving to new jobs.

Now is the time to find what you want in your “new normal” by engaging in well-being coaching conversations with colleagues and friends. Through those conversations, you can create a space for each other to explore what is possible for balance and happiness. Together, we can create a new approach to our personal and professional lives that reflects what truly matters most to us.

Create Your New Normal

Although the pandemic is continuing, some of the world has opened up again. We have an incredible opportunity, as we carefully return to certain activities, to create a new way of being. What have we learned about ourselves during the pandemic so far? What do we want to keep from our pre-COVID lives and want do we want to let go of? What do we want our new normal to look like and how do we go about creating it?

A way to start this journey with a colleague or accountability partner is preparing for some exploratory conversations. Ask yourself some questions and take the time to truly listen to the answers that come up. Write out your answers in a journal and allow the knowing and feeling to pour out of you. Don’t overthink it; just write.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself – Listen to the Wisdom Within:

  1. What would I be doing if I could do anything? There is usually something that each of us likes to do that doesn’t feel like work and feels effortless. A question from author Elizabeth Gilbert: “What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?”
  2. How is the structure of my day supporting/empowering me? Once you have identified the thing you like to do, or one of your gifts, how are you designing your day so that you have time carved out to commit to doing that thing that you love to do.  Whatever your key talents and contributions are, how are you making time to pursue them? Is there something you may need to let go of that isn’t bringing you joy so you can make room for more of what does?
  3. How will I hold myself accountable? So, now that you know which specific activities you want to incorporate into your new normal, it is now time to determine how you will hold yourself accountable. Think of a coach, friend, or mentor you could ask to check in with you once a week to discuss how you are doing with your new commitment.

Partner Schedule

When connecting with your accountability partner, share what has come up for you as you explored these questions. Ask for their insights and support as you build a new roadmap.  Actively to listen to their answers and learn from their explorations, as well. In her latest book, The Way of Integrity, Martha Beck suggests asking: “What do I yearn for?” Explore this together and work to build daily routines that can ground you while cultivating the mindset to support your new vision.

We all have within us a divine intelligence, a deep inner wisdom, and a sense of what is true for us. Tapping into this true self and inner wisdom often comes in times like these when we are faced with global, life-altering realizations. It drives change in our careers and our lives.

As we reflect on “The Great Resignation” happening in the workforce, it is becoming clear that the pandemic has made many realize their job does not contribute enough (or at all) to their pursuit for happiness and meaning, and they have decided to invest their energy elsewhere. These steps provide a framework for you to approach knowing and becoming with intention. How will you architect your new normal? Happy creating!


Learn the coaching skills you need to create your best new normal in our center’s Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being Program. Let Mason help you become a certified well-being leadership coach who makes positive change happen.

Explore our center’s other upcoming Leading to Well-Being Programs, such as The Business of Coaching, Leading Thriving Organizations and Strengths-Based Leadership.

Join our free Leading to Well-Being Speaker Series webinars to hear leaders share their cutting-edge insights on the intersection of leadership and well-being.

Discover what your personal strengths are – and how to use them to succeed both personally and professionally – through Mason’s Strengths Academy.

Write one of these Thriving Together Series features! We’re looking for contributions on all topics related to well-being. Read other Thriving Together Series articles here and contact us at for guidelines. Thank you for helping our Mason community thrive together online!