Cataclysmic world events like COVID-19 make you reevaluate a bit! You reconsider what’s important and what’s not. What and who really matters in your life, or doesn’t. How you want to spend your time; what feels like a waste of time. Inevitably, life changes, and sometimes all we get to do is choose how we are going to respond. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the topic of change and find myself either thinking “Yes, please!” or “Enough already!” So here is my dream list of essential change that I hope to see take root in our post-COVID future:
1) Less elitism
COVID-19 may hit certain populations disproportionately, however, we are all at risk. The common denominator is that we are all human beings, and that means no one is better or more important than another.
Sooo, can we please be done with the idea of VIPs already?
Life is inherently unfair and often random. There will always be disparities. But although some people have money and power, that doesn’t mean they deserve preferential treatment or broader human rights than everyone else.
Masking is a good example of an equalizing factor. Whereas in other cultures mask-wearing is already ingrained, it has taken Americans awhile to get over the stigma. I remember the first time I went to the supermarket wearing a mask. I started early when there were maybe only 2 other people wearing masks. “They probably think I’m paranoid, or a whackadoo… or maybe they’ll be afraid that I have some terrible disease!”, I thought.
Thankfully, now it seems that most people are on board and it feels more like we are actually “all in this together”. I can only hope that perhaps something good besides preventing infection comes from masking, and that we all come down to earth a little bit.
2) More authenticity
I’m not a huge TV watcher, but I’m really enjoying seeing famous folks and media personalities stripped of all the glitz and glamour. Without all the fancy production, makeup, and studio lighting, their authenticity shines through and we can more easily relate to them as real humans.
There have been many days recently when I’ve left the house without makeup and only basic grooming. Reasons have varied. For instance, on some days I’ve known that I’m unlikely to run into anyone I know. On others, I knew that grief over family difficulties would have me crying sporadically so why bother with makeup? On other occasions, I was just running late as I frequently do. 🤷🏻♀️
In any case, it’s been quite liberating to just be me and know that I’m good enough just as I am.😊 More authenticity all around would be a most welcome essential change.
3) Realizing all business is essential
I hate all this “essential” “non-essential” language in reference to business — partially because it’s so arbitrary and left open for confusion, (mis)interpretation, and oh yeah, did I mention elitism? (see above) ☝🏽 Now, I’m not saying safety guidelines shouldn’t be followed; they should! After all, not heeding guidelines is what caused some of our most “essential” businesses to fail epically in the safety department (yes, I’m referring to you Smithfield, and you too Costco).
Still, every business owner needs to retain the right and have the opportunity to reimagine their business in a crisis. Designating some as essential and others as not undermines free enterprise. It’s obvious not everyone will make good choices, but determining safe operation based on facts, data, and their unique situation needs to be left up to owners, not governments.
It remains to be seen whether tightly locked down nations will fare better overall than more open countries that have instead put greater emphasis on social distancing. When this all shakes out we shall see if the cure was worse than the disease. But what surely has to go is this perception that some people’s work is so much more important than others.
All business is essential to someone! We all do our part.
4) More personal responsibility
Maybe you already know my thoughts on the urgency for businesses to strive to survive. Now is NOT the time to sit back and wait for a lifeline. It’s time to be proactive and reinvent! To use all your ingenuity to find a way through. But what if you can’t? What if you’re at the helm of a sinking ship?
I don’t want to sound insensitive to businesses that are in too deep. I have the greatest sympathy for colleagues in the restaurant industry and others that won’t make it, and yes, I’ve been through the heartache that comes with business failure.
At the risk of sounding callous, the sad fact is that business cycles happen.
Trends & preferences change.
And for some… it’s Just. Their. Time.
I’ve experienced a lot of personal loss this year with loved ones, and it’s not much different. Sally Field summed it up as she lay dying in her role as Forrest Gump’s momma. Although I tear up every time, her words ring true “It’s just my time…Death is just a part of life; something we are all destined to do.”
Where ever we stand in business or life, it’s time to stop blaming everything and everyone else. Owning our journey and accepting personal responsibility is the path to freedom.
5) Learning to embrace uncertainty
Life is one unknown after another, but so long as we are living and breathing there is reason to embrace the uncertainty and live to the fullest.
Again, Forrest Gump is my hero! There couldn’t be a better example of a character who always made the best of his life circumstances and embraced the uncertainty of living with an open heart.
Many people are out there right now making the most of each new day instead of putting life on hold — even now in the difficult times we’re living! There are enterprising individuals looking ahead and finding new and worthwhile opportunities — not in spite of — but because of the pandemic. Are you or can you be one of them?
You have two choices…
- Wake up and say “Anything could happen today — oh shit!” -OR-
- Wake up and say “Anything could happen today — let’s go!!”
“I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both happening at the same time.”
— Forrest Gump
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Good vibes… let’s go!