What’s really causing ‘COVID fatigue’?

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Recently, I was talking with a friend and business colleague who shared, “Almost everyone I interact with is expressing they are feeling what I can only call ‘COVID fatigue’.” As I thought further about what she was describing I asked myself, “What might be the root cause of this fatigue?” And the answer that popped into my head almost immediately was: A lack of and/or wavering confidence.

To clarify, by no means do I believe this is the ONLY potential cause for what might be described as COVID fatigue. But let me share some of what has been kicking around in my head that prompted my mind to go to this answer.


Confidence is the currency of productivity

ADVISA’s Founder, Bob Wilson, coined the phrase, “Confidence is the currency of productivity.” And in that vein, it occurs to me in many ways fatigue is the opposite of confidence or perhaps a symptom of a lack in confidence.

Sure, sometimes fatigue is about simply not having the physical or mental capacity to keep going. But I think there is also a fatigue that is more about a loss of direction; a sense that maybe “it” doesn’t matter, we aren’t moving the needle, or we’re running around in circles. And, in my opinion, the latter sort of fatigue is directly tied to confidence.


The Response to a Changing Normal

Now, back to my colleague’s comment about everyone experiencing COVID fatigue. In a world where there is a new and seemingly constantly changing normal, most people’s sources of confidence have been at the very least shaken or, worse, destroyed.

Thankfully, The Predictive Index® (PI), while not a magic bullet to solve this confidence problem for ourselves and those we lead, does provide data-driven insights about how we might go about re-establishing or finding new confidence, for ourselves and those we lead.


Start the process

First, pull out your PI Behavioral Assessment (if you haven’t taken the PI assessment you can take it via this link) and identify your highest drive (the dot that falls furthest to the right). What we have found in over 30 years of working with Predictive Index data is an individual’s confidence tends to be tied most strongly to and dependent on their highest drive.

Next, read the bullets below that associate with each of the four drives to learn where your (or team members’) confidence likely comes from and how to tap into that confidence.


Highest A: Confidence from inside

  • Autonomy of activity and opportunity to prove him/herself
  • Being valued for own ideas and associated results

Highest B: Confidence from influencing others

  • Opportunities to talk things through/process ideas
  • Attention, recognition and validation

Highest C: Confidence from familiarity/belonging

  • Stable environment and sense of family (recognition for loyalty)
  • Knowing process from beginning to end (A to Z)

Highest D: Confidence from correctness

  • Understanding rules and freedom from risk
  • Specific job knowledge and opportunities for training

Now, consider the following series of questions:

  1. How do you see and sense your confidence, or lack thereof, being tied to this (highest) drive?
  2. What could you implement or practice to help the needs of this drive be met?
  3. How can you help others understand your needs and sources of confidence?


Moving forward

Ultimately, it seems increasingly clear we have a choice to make. We can cling to a fading hope of returning to normal, and hope that in the process our confidence also returns and fatigue fades. Or, we can use this as an opportunity to become a better version of ourselves by meeting the fatigue head on; using it as a catalyst towards understanding our deepest sources of confidence and productivity.

While COVID fatigue might be challenging to fully define, it most certainly is “a thing.” Let’s work to turn that “thing” into a storyline of growth, development and thriving of ourselves and those we lead.



To read more on moving forward, click to read “Embracing uncertainty ‘bird by bird’ by Leadership Consultant Mandy Haskett.

And, to read more from Leadership Consultant Brad Smith, check out “Win the Great Land Run of 2020 with an Intentional People Strategy.”