I’ve been thinking about the conversations I’ve had with different people since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in 2020. Our lives were shaken up by the lockdowns, social distancing, working from home, and homeschooling our children.

Then came having to go back to work which created additional challenges as people struggled to go back physically to a world that felt scary. And that was on top of the curfews, social anxiety, and the stress that came with illnesses and losing loved ones!

It’s not been an easy 2+ years for many people. But this season has provided some gems if you choose to look for them.

I share my experience in this article to give you an idea of how you too can conduct your own evaluation.

Here are 6 unexpected gifts I’ve gotten from the COVID-19 season

1. Mindset shift

I suffered from imposter syndrome for many years and this kept me from stepping up to the next level in my business.

A number of people had tried to kick me into action without success because the fear of growth was greater than what I wanted.

I’m so glad that it’s now gone as a result of life during the pandemic. So no more being kicked!

I could write a book about how imposter syndrome held me hostage. For today, I’ll summarize my biggest mindset shift in one sentence: When your mindset is right, everything else falls into place.

2. Narrowing down to what’s most important in my life

This has been one of the biggest gifts starting from January 2020 when I had a health scare.

I was just getting used to the mental, physical, emotional and lifestyle changes that ensued when COVID-19 landed. in Kenya in March 2020.

Then in 2021, my children and I got sick a few days before Christmas. We had to cancel our travel plans and I spent Christmas nursing myself and 2 children.

At first, I thought this was the worst Christmas ever. Later as I got thinking, I realized that this was my most rested Christmas ever! I also started listing down what I was grateful for…and the list has grown since then.

Looking at the future with a new lens

Being at high risk during the pandemic and then the boys and I getting ill over Christmas was an eye opener.

I had a lot of time to think, reflect, and evaluate as I lay in bed sick. It was also humbling coming to terms with my mortality for the second time in my life.

The person I was before Christmas 2021 and the person I was after this whole illness, those are 2 very different people!

For this year, instead of doing my usual planning, I focused on answering a few questions

  • What’s next for me?
  • What is my next level?
  • Where should I go next?
  • What should I focus on?

One realization that immediately revealed itself is that I’ve had clarity of direction and purpose for years, but I was afraid to move forward.

I also felt guided to look through the results for 2021…and they too tell a story that I’ve tried to run away from for years!

This season has also made me more conscious of the fact that the things that matter the most are not tangible. These include:

  1. Good health.
  2. Peace of mind.
  3. Joy and laughter.
  4. Unconditional love.
  5. Family and positive relationships.
  6. Doing what I enjoy.

These and my faith and trust in God are my guiding lights. Everything else is secondary.

3. Letting go of the things I was forcing myself to do or trying hard to achieve

The list is long and it includes:

  • Letting go of goals that are no longer important.
  • Releasing toxic relationships and friendships that aren’t working anymore.
  • Exiting groups that no longer served me (Facebook, WhatsApp and networking forums).
  • Closing all but one of the Facebook groups I hosted.
  • Closing all the WhatsApp groups I hosted.
  • Reducing the number of programs I offer in my business.
  • Letting go of clients who don’t fit my coaching style.

I generally find it hard to let go. For example, there were two virtual groups on WhatsApp and Facebook that I held on to for long because I was very attached to them.

This time, leaving and closing groups was easy due to the buffer of space, my new mindset, and clarity about what I value most.

4. Using fear as a stepping stone to success

I was stuck in many ways because of a number of fears, including fear of:

  • Growth.
  • Publicity.
  • Partnerships.
  • Video conferencing.
  • Hosting live virtual events with video.

I’m smiling as I write this because over the last 2 years I:

  1. Hosted 35 Brown Bag meetings.
  2. Helped my mastermind move to virtual meetings.
  3. Attended numerous virtual events – as a participant and guest speaker.
  4. Became very active online using video.
  5. Formed a joint business venture that fell through. What’s interesting that this not working didn’t kill my spirit!
  6. Stepped up by co-hosting a live webinar with international attendees.
  7. Hosting 33 webinars where experts taught my clients in Elevate Community. These webinars are still a big hit with my clients and they provide referrals for the experts.
  8. Getting international clients and charging in $$ (this was a big one).
  9. Setting up a Facebook group that brings together women who are interested in being in a positive space that enhances personal, professional and business growth.
  10. Growing my team.
  11. Becoming active on LinkedIn (another one of those unexplained fears).
  12. Becoming active in large Facebook groups where my peers and ideal clients are.

The list is longer than this and I’m loving the growth that’s happening as I step up. Some days, it feels as if I’ve shed off a load that I was carrying without being aware that I had it.

The feeling of freedom is awesome!

5. Creating additional streams of income

The COVID-19 pandemic created an economic meltdown all over the world. Masses of people are jobless. Businesses have shut down. Many families lost their incomes or the main breadwinners, leading to financial crises at a personal level.

It’s now clear that relying on only one stream of income or having one breadwinner in a family is very risky.

On my side, I always thought that my type of business was kind of insulated from these kinds of risks. I believed that there would always be need for coaching and training as long as I marketed the services well.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve seen many coaches shut down their businesses. It doesn’t help that there are more people getting into the industry as self-employed professionals:

  • Some lost their jobs and see this as an easy entry-point into earning and business.
  • Others want to create additional streams of income while keeping the day job.
  • The Great Resignation flooded the marketplace with highly qualified professionals who deliberately left employment and got into coaching.

As the marketplace gets flooded there is need to reinvent and also have additional streams of income that one can rely on.

When I started dabbling around with blogging in 2011, I never knew that I would one day be making money out of it. I also never expected my skills to be of great help to my clients.

I’ve had a blast setting up blogs during the COVID-19 season, all for pay. I’m loving doing this work in my free time and also love the fact that I’m being paid to build my skills.

I also started running online events, moved from 1-1 coaching to group coaching, set up a paid membership, and now run e-courses.

Some of these milestones are dreams I had but never took action on. Others were nowhere in my mind pre-COVID-19! But they all came together to create additional personal and business streams of income.

6. Reconnecting with old friends and extended family members

I’d like to pretend that this came easy.

It didn’t.

Given that I’m an introvert, the thought of having to be more social was stressful at first. I had to work through this and still continue connecting with more people.

What’s even more interesting is that the moment I set the intention, people started calling me or reaching out on social media.

I love that I’ve reconnected with old friends and members of my extended family. Some are people I haven’t seen or talked to for decades so there was a lot to catch up on!

Over to you…

This is just a brief overview and I’m sure that I can find more unexpected gifts if I dig deeper.

While this has been a painful and really tough season for many people, I do believe that the pandemic has lessons for all of us individually and collectively. It also has hidden gifts that are waiting to be discovered.

What gifts has the COVID-19 season given you? How are you going to take them forward post this season? Feel free to share in the Comments below.

(Image credit: Unsplash)


Have you done your evaluation but you’re still feeling stuck?

Check out Break Free, Live Your Life. This is a 12-week program that will help you get unstuck, get clarity and gain the courage to step up to your next level.

It doesn’t matter whether you know your next level or not.

What matters is that you’re now ready to move forward and you want to do so in a shorter time and in a way that works for you.

If this is you and you’d like some expert help, then I invite you to join us in one of our classes this year.

Click here to find out more about Break Free


Caroline Gikonyo
Caroline Gikonyo

Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at Biashara 360. She's an avid blogger and also oversees our content creation. This ensures that we give our readers quality and well researched information and tips.

Please share your Comments below