Amidst the worry, seek simplicity
The last two weeks have felt like an eternity.
For many of us, social distancing, quarantines, lockdowns, and isolation have become the new normal. The sudden and significant changes have made me and my team revisit our plans, the things we took for granted, and where we go from here. We realize that many uncertainties need to play out before we can have confidence in getting our plans ‘back on track’ or returning to ‘business as usual’.
Leading with simplicity
I won’t even attempt to guess how scheduled events will be conducted, mass gatherings reconvened, or any element of our ‘old business reality’ resumed. I can tell you that every day I meet with my team and my people are all still there, showing up, ready to do all that they can.
Leaders all over are seeing that our people are affected. Routines are shattered as we cope with a new ‘work from home’ norm. Eyes are tired. Brains are fried. Anxiety is trending. And yet, amidst all of it, there seems to be a persistent hope.
As I’ve talked with my team, I’ve realized that there is hope in the belief that we will get through this together. History shows us that there is another side to how disruptive events play out. How soon will the change arrive? I’ll leave that to the scientists and public health experts, but the looming truth my team seems to understand is this: this situation is temporary.
So what do we do now?
Where do we steer the ship as leaders, here and now, given what little we know about how this temporary situation will play out?
My answer has been to focus on two very simple things. Because, frankly, a big laundry list of ‘to-dos’ is the last mental burden we all need right now:
1. Look at the present situation and become deeply grateful for what we DO have in this time. For my team, we have our health. We all can log onto our computers and connect in a virtual workspace that allows us to break some of the burden of social distancing and isolation. We also have a tremendous opportunity to help thousands of our business clients who may be at the epicenter of this crisis in any way we can. We realize these and many other positive things are happening amidst the chaos. We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that there are still many things to be grateful for.
2. Look for tasks we can do now that we might not have otherwise and which will pay maximum dividends when this is behind us. I’ve heard plenty of stories about people going on organizing sprees—sorting cluttered file directories, de-duping email lists, and archiving work, etc. But I’ve chosen to focus on learning, as I seem to have identified and bookmarked multiple websites and tools to learn or enhance my skills, but my hurried and ‘in the moment’ life never seem to yield time to actually do it.
The ability to learn digitally is everywhere—for me, this means indulging in a personal love for typography by creating Pinterest boards and watching ‘how things work’ videos on YouTube, to the more pragmatic skills-oriented training I get from LinkedIn Learning. There is no shortage of tools to help you realize the potential in things you may have neglected or procrastinated.
I’ve also found that my team is using this time to learn new skills, or enhance the knowledge they already have. For what it’s worth, here just a few examples of things they’ve been using the time to learn:
- Improving search knowledge via Google Skillshop
- Picking up some coding skills through Code Academy
- Learning something new via Skillshare
- Getting lessons from the best in the world on Masterclass
- Expanding our understanding or learning from others with a good book from Audible
- Plus, each of us are learning a new language (from French to Italian, German, Spanish, and beyond) with Rosetta Stone Enterprise
Hopefully, this ultra-simple framework and these learning ideas resonate and you find some value in them. No matter how we spend our extra time at home, we can rest assured that this season will end. The era of connecting and being together again will return. Until then, let’s make the most of what we DO have and CAN do to make the future even more rewarding.