Excellence in a Lockdown?!

How strong-minded mommas slipped into the quarantine funk…and how to snap out of it!

What does excellence look like in the midst of a global lockdown?

Chaya Ben-Shabat Digging Deeper for Success

Anyone who knows me well knows that excellence is one of my favorite words.  It’s a word that’s often misunderstood.  Someone who is striving for excellence is not in the pursuit of perfection.  Perfection may be great in marketing, media and ad campaigns, but in real life, the pursuit of perfection equals unnecessary stress, anger, frustration, and failure.

That is not what we’re aiming for.  Not even in a non-pandemic world.


But holy moly, mamma…we’ve got to pull ourselves together.


We have to do something to shake ourselves out of this collective funk that we’re in.


How can it be that such determined, high achieving, goal-oriented, strong minded women can slip into such a funk?


What on earth is going on? I shared on a Facebook live video recently a theory that I have rolling around in my mind as to how we got here (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).


When we were first forced into quarantine a few weeks ago, (maybe longer, maybe less…I honestly don’t remember how long it’s been) I think many, many people were quietly relieved.


Actually, I would probably say quietly thrilled.


Not because of the Corona virus or because of a pandemic, God forbid. But because we as a country and as a Western society, live our lives in such overdrive that we’re always going at 200 miles an hour, especially us goal-oriented women.  We’ve got kids, lives, families, businesses, companies, we’ve got philanthropies, community service work, extended families to take care of, and we are constantly burning the candle at both ends.

Clearly nobody around here knows how to take a proper vacation. So we’re constantly depleting ourselves of our energy and our fuel. And then all of a sudden, we are forced to take a “vacation”.  We almost saw it as a holiday, a staycation, if you will. And so for the first week or two, I think a lot of people were quietly relieved that we were forced to stay home and decompress.


And we totally ran with it.


We ran with it in our pajamas for a couple of weeks. We ran with it on Netflix for a couple of weeks. We didn’t brush our hair, we didn’t brush our teeth, we barely changed our clothes and we just lived as if we were literally on a staycation for a couple of weeks.


But, now what’s happened?

Now, the reality is that we actually don’t know how to snap ourselves out of this funk.


With everything that’s still happening right now, and especially with so much uncertainty still looming in our future, it’s actually easier to continue to binge on Netflix and who knows whatever is left in our pantry than it is to get up and do the hard work of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and doing something productive.


So, when I’m asking myself, “Where did everybody go?”, the truth is that we have found ourselves in the middle of one very interesting phenomenon.


I don’t think that so many strong and highly capable women would have fallen off the wagon in such a hardcore way left to their own devices.  But I think because of social media and everything that we’re seeing sweeping this country, it’s like we’re just expected to do nothing.


You’re expected to become a couch potato.


You’re expected to stick your head in the sand and ignore, ignore, ignore, deny, deny, deny.


Because let’s be honest, nobody knows how this thing is going to end.


Nobody knows when it’s going to end.  We could all be sitting here on quarantine and lockdown for who knows how long. Maybe it’s going to be the beginning of May. Maybe this thing’s going to go through the summer. Nobody knows. Let’s hope not.

Let’s really hope, not because our economy is already in the toilet enough as it is, and we’ve already been paralyzed enough by fear as it is. So if this thing is going to continue until late summer, we are in a world of hurt.

But however long it’s gonna be, eventually it will end.

And all of us are going to be forced to say, “Now what”?

So, my question is,

How long are we going to be willing to stay in this coma?  In this virtual stupor until we get up and dust ourselves off and say, enough is enough?


And, if we’re not gonna do it, who is going to do it?

Because the truth of the matter is, for most of the women (and men) reading this post, YOU are positive person you know.

You are the most driven and motivated person you know.

So, if you are sitting around waiting on somebody else to motivate you, who’s going to do it? If we’re waiting on someone else to lift us up, who is that going to be?

Are we waiting on the president?

Are we waiting on the government?
(And this is not a political statement. But really…who, who are we waiting on?)

Are we waiting on global, national, local government to give us permission to become amazing again, to step into our excellence, to dust off our champion’s mentality and our warrior mindset?

nobody gives you permission to flip that switch except for you.


So, whether we are at work, or we’re being forced to stay home, nobody gives you permission to slip into mediocre mentality except for YOU.


So, if for whatever reason, we as a nation, and we as a tribe of leaders within our own communities, chose to take a couple of weeks and decompress and reposition ourselves and get a full grasp of what’s happening actually happening here, fine.

Please know, there is absolutely no judgment here whatsoever, because a lot of us, myself included, are moms and you’ve got children and spouses at home, grandkids that you’re trying to connect with over FaceTime and the world just literally turned upside down.

A lot of us went into nesting mode. We did all of our gardening, house projects, and spring cleaning. We looked at the other humans living under our roof and realized we didn’t actually know them very well, so took the time to reconnect and took the time to have some downtime.  Some much, much needed downtime. And that’s all wonderful.  Truly wonderful.

But at what point do we realign ourselves?

I’m not saying that we need to become who we were pre-pandemic.

Because, let’s be honest… a lot of us got laid off from jobs that we hated to begin with, or we had to scale back from a small business that was killing us, or we had to take a staycation from a life that we didn’t actually love.

So as weird and twisted as it is, for a lot of us, this is like a gift in disguise that it is forcing us to pivot. It is forcing us to rethink how we want to show up in the world and who we want to be.

But my question is:
How long are we going to wait until we are willing to have that good hard, long chat with ourselves?

Yes, it’s important to decompress.

Yes, it’s important to focus on your mental health and your emotional wellness. And yes, it’s important to connect with your family and make sure that they feel whole and healthy and safe and strong.

And through all of this, it is equally important to decide what is your next move going to be.

Because if as a society, we stay stuck in a coma watching Netflix for much longer, it is going to be more painful than we can possibly imagine to rebound. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go there. I’m not willing to let that happen.

So, what I’m asking is who wants to join me?

We’re not famous. We’re not A-listers. We’re not the governor. We’re not the mayor. We’re not the Fortune 100 CEO. We’re not the movie stars and the Hollywood celebrities. We’re not the YouTube sensations and we’re not the hashtag influencers.

We are the bread and butter of this country and this society.

That’s who we are.

So don’t you for one second let yourself underestimate who you are, who your power can impact, and what your level of influence can be in this world.

The moment you decide to show up for yourself will change everything.

So, I’m asking: are you ready to show up for yourself?

And we’re going to start ugly like we do with everything else.

We’re gonna start ugly, and we’re going to put ourselves back together. We’re going to start back together at square one and we’re going to say,

“Okay self, who do I want to be now?
Who am I going to be? What does my family need?
What do I need? What does my community need?”

And we’re going to redefine excellence in the midst of the madness.

Maybe we need a family pep talk, maybe a group pick-me-up via video chat with other purpose-driven friends, or maybe we just need to realize that we must first raise an army of one.

Because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  This world is too closely connected now for us to ignore the bigger picture.  We’re all in this together, whether we like it or not.  So, to change the world, we need strong countries.  Strong countries need strong states.  Strong states need strong counties, which need strong cities, which need strong individual citizens.  (This is an American situation but, feel free to swap out your own country’s nomenclature.)

Of course, we know we can’t count on everyone.  In fact, we can’t actually count on anyone.

But we don’t need to.

All true world changer know that real leadership starts at home. 

So, it’s time that we start leading our families out of this funk, out of this hole. Even in the midst of a quarantine.

Yes, our bodies might be on lockdown, but our minds and our souls don’t have to be.

And even our bodies don’t even have to suffer if we’ll get up off the couch, turn off Netflix, get off social media, and take a run down the street, up the stairs, or even do some jump rope and jumping jacks, for heaven’s sake.  Enough of the excuses. 

Enough of the small-mindedness. 

Every single family is being forced to take individual responsibility for themselves right now, for the first time in a couple hundred years.  This is a season in history where we are all being forced to shift from counting on the “village to raise the child” to taking full ownership and responsibility for every single decision regarding our children, including their education.

Think about it:

  • Not every family has the same access to electronic devices for online schoolwork.
  • Some families have only one child, whereas some families have many children now at home.
  • Some families have one or both parents working from home now and are able to support their kids’ learning at least in some small way
  • Some families are single-parent homes where the parent is in an “essential” job that is still required to go to work.
  • Some families have been severely affected financially by the lockdown and are therefore experiencing a drastic increase of stress at home.
  • Some families have parents who are not equipped physically or emotionally equipped to properly support their children at home all day.
  • Some children have lost the only reprieve they have with the forced school closures.  They are forced to stay home with abusive parents and no clue where the next meal will come from.


Hence, there definitely cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach to homeschooling during this pandemic, so we may as well quit waiting for one. 

This is why each family must feel empowered to slow down and take the time to decide what is best for their own individual family unit during this lockdown.


It will likely be different for each and every family.  And, that’s OK.


We each need to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves, “What is right for us right now?”  Give yourself permission to get creative.  Think outside the box.


Only when WE decide, as individual leaders of families and communities, to snap out of the ‘shock and denial coma’ that we’ve been in, and take our power back, will anything begin to change.


So, what does excellence look like from a woman in lockdown?  The online dictionary says that excellence is the opposite of mediocre.  One thing I know is that mediocre is miserable.  Maybe my version of excellence will be different than yours, because everyone has different goals and dreams.


But true excellence means to “rise above” our current situation.  To not settle for mediocrity, complacency, or status quo.  True excellence means to strive to become the best possible version of ourselves in every situation.


Right now, we’ve got to decide that we don’t want to merely survive the next few months of this madness.  We must insist on thriving…it’s what this nation was built on.  And if we’ve lost our inner strength to pursue our best possible life, then we have nothing left to fight for as a people.


So, please, for the love of our children and the love of tomorrow…let’s get off the couch, turn off the devices, set some new goals for this new season, decide who we want to be and become through this test, and get to work.

If we want to stop living like everybody else, we’ve got to stop acting like everybody else.

Goal-oriented, high functioning, purpose-driven women have never looked on social media to decide who they should be, so why would we do it now?

Yes, the quarantine memes are funny.  But do you realize that the vast majority of the entire civilized world is sitting back being entertained while we wait on someone to save us or the storm to pass?

It’s time to find our bootstraps.

All my love,


Chaya Ben-Shabat
Chaya is a mom, entrepreneur, success coach, athlete, student, dreamer, and world traveler.   She is also the founder and CEO of an up-and-coming international school system, designed to revolutionize global education.  She works with highly determined women to help them bust through their obstacles, discover and channel their inner superpowers, and master the tools and skills necessary to design and create the life of their dreams.

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