I’ve been thinking a lot about you these days.
I know what a challenging time this is. I’ve been working on new ways to help you succeed as you lead your organization through today’s crisis. I understand, as a leadership expert and a psychologist, that we are all dealing with radically upturned lifestyles, daily anxieties, unprecedented lifestyle demands, and a host of unknowns about the future.
In my household, here on the outskirts of Philadelphia, it is no longer just Jonathan, Pepper the Cat, and me. We now have Anna with us, completing her junior year of college remotely, and Jefferson, our 2-year old Doxie mix. The household is more active these days, and sometimes a whole lot noisier, with Pepper and Jefferson ever at odds over who gets more of our love and attention.
To be honest, it is an unexpected gift to have both of my kids here. We cook dinners together, enjoy family movie nights, take walks with the pup. At the same time, we are still finding our way, adapting to the myriad changes brought on by the pandemic. I’ve no doubt that you, your family, and your company are going through meaningful adaptations of your own.
There is no “right or wrong” way to adjust to change. Our reactions are based on our personal histories, temperament, and unique levels of both support and stress. Three of the most common reactions to crisis are these:
1.Disbelief. After 2 plus months, I still find our current circumstances surreal—like some crazy dream that just won’t end. Of course, today’s crisis will end. We will get to the other side of it. Together. Still, we should all expect some sense of unreality to come and go.
2. Anger and disappointment. This is a situation for which none of us could have been prepared. It came on quickly. It affects us all. It hits every aspect of daily life. And we don’t yet know when or how we will return to “normal”. Feelings of anger, disappointment, and grief are to be expected.
3. Perspective. Friends, family, and clients have all shared with me a changing sense of what’s important. This includes a newfound appreciation of things both large and small. The health of family, friends, and employees. The good fortune of finding hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes at the local supermarket. The extraordinary dedication of healthcare professionals who are taking care of the sick. The collaboration among former competitors to arrive at effective treatment and vaccine. And the simple acts of kindness and generosity we observe each day.
What are you noticing about your own reactions these days? What have you observed in the people around you? I’d love to hear what you’re seeing and how you’re doing. And please know, I’m here to help. Call or email me with questions and concerns. For a supportive ear or some targeted advice.
Be healthy, stay well. To your success and sustained leadership in these difficult times.