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“Be a reconnaissance operator for your own head!”

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As part of the Own Your Future project by H&M and The Book of Man, Jason Fox writes about how people should tackle the post-lockdown world.

The Own Your Future project has been set up to give young men the tools and platform to progress in a tough post-pandemic world. The Book of Man and H&M surveyed people who were struggling with issues around life and work and recruited six people who would particularly benefit from a series of positive interventions; new outfits from H&M with a photoshoot, internships with The Book of Man, and mentoring sessions with top role models, including Jason Fox from ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’. As an extension of his session, here Foxy writes about what mindset we can all adopt for a successful and healthy year…

 

When it comes to blanket advice for coming out of lockdown, I have one main thing to say: only you know yourself.

That means, you must be honest with yourself about what you’re comfortable with. So when it comes to going back to work, and reintegrating back into sharing space with people, you’ve got to take it easy.

I’m really glad I went through the military route – even taking into account the more negative by-products towards the end of my career like mental health issues – I’m actually really glad about it all because the military teaches you ways of conducting yourself.

One of them is that before you commit to something, test the water. Don’t go out of your depth, have a look at things. Go and do a recce, don’t push your luck to begin with. Get a feel for it.

It’s the same with this coming out of lockdown situation: conduct your own emotional reconnaissance.

Just probe into what you feel comfortable with and then you’ll get a feeling for it. If you do that and keep getting a bit further each time, then you’re getting familiar with a situation which will eventually become manageable for you. You’re taking mini leaps of faith, and with each one you’re becoming comfortable with what has essentially been alien for over a year now.

Become your own little reconnaissance operator for your own head!

Depending on what you believe – and there is a lot of arguing about what’s true or not – rushing into things could be deemed to have had an effect on creating lockdowns 2 and 3.

Instead of taking time to see what’s going on, people rushed in.

Don’t rush into things, build up to it.

You’re building up your ability to cope with what is now an alien environment. There’s a lot of people who are going to be freaked out by it. Be aware of them. We’re part of society with many different people with different ways of thinking, and we should be looking out for each other.

Key learnings from lockdown

From this last year what I personally want to carry on is having those few hours in the middle of the day where you can take the opportunity to sit down and think about things. It’s very rare to be able to do that, or was before Covid, if anyone can remember that.

I’d like to have the discipline to block out a few hours during one day a week. Imagine having a Wednesday where you say, between 11am to 2pm I’m not going to have anyone bothering me. I’m blocking that out. It’s going to be in the diary as meetings but I’m not actually going to be doing anything. I’m going to make sure I’m bored.

I’ve come to appreciate boredom. A lot of people are petrified of it, but I think it’s important. It gives you balance. Especially in the smart phone era.

For younger lads, I want to say to them that you should be coming out of this year feeling proud.

Proud and excited that there’s an ever-changing world at their disposal. You’re going to be at the beginning of some amazing careers and they’ve you’ve experienced something that is historic.

You will have come out the other side as a more rounded character because you’ve survived it, you’re stronger, you understand yourself a little bit better, you understand what you can endure. All those things can only put you in a better place than before.

There’s been some disastrous things happen – people have lost lives, lost business, lost careers, but as we come out of it, we have to now understand it as a period of change, a test to see how we adapt. Let’s not look at it negatively now. Let’s all think, “I survived this and now there’s going to be an explosion of activity.”

Opportunities will be springing up and young lads have jump on those opportunities. It’s like a spilled rugby ball, get on top of it. That’s the attitude to adopt.

When I was in my early Twenties, I was quite juvenile, I took the mickey a bit too much, and didn’t take life too seriously. I wish I’d been a little bit more serious at that age, in terms of knowing my emotions a bit more. I suppressed an awful lot about how I was feeling and what was going on in my head and it didn’t set me up very well. Especially with relationships more than anything. I just ignored a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have ignored. I would probably have been a better person to be with.

I’d therefore encourage younger lads to not just grab those opportunities but to stay attuned to your emotions and don’t deny them. It has been a tough time, but if you’re honest with yourselves and look after each other, you can recover and go on to great achievements.

Follow Foxy on Instagram.

Professor

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