Recognizing your journey and redesigning how you live, work, and do business
There is a tingling energy around my heart as I watch two of my fellow lunch mates hug after a long awaited face to face meeting with some colleagues. Were they going to hug me? Did I want a hug? Was it okay to hug?!? My head is racing with questions. What are the rules? I cannot shake the feeling that I am in a zombie movie, where I am emerging from my front door for the first time into my new zombie infested world, baseball bat in hand, vigilant eyes darting in all directions, jumping at any small noise, and looking for any small clue that survival is possible. I am sifting through the chaos for a small glimmer of my past… a reminder of those that I lost and a way of life that may no longer exist. I’m scared. I’m mourning but I’m hopeful. This is what Covid-19 has done.
As I wander, I have new friends borne of this apocalypse. I’ve been reunited with fellow zombie survivors that I lost in the early days of the invasion. Each day we are navigating in our brave new world, establishing new rules for what is okay – and what is not okay, grappling with the feelings that come from what we’ve lost in the last 18 months and trying to understand what we’ve learned as well. We are trying to blend the old with the new and not sure what that all should look like. I enjoy the quiet of the new world and the loud celebration of my old world – and it does not all seem to fit in the same place. I love the laughter I’ve found in the small moments and I loathe the jumpiness in my chest every time I hear the murmur of a zombie moan or the starting of a cough that means I must again hide in my bunker while I’m tested to see if I have been breached.
I am faced with factions that believe I should be handling my survival plans differently. Some people are ready to jump all hands in to meeting in groups, hugging, and hopping on a plane to a global conference, others still haven’t left their house, and then there are people like me – tiptoeing out of our doors, craving a conversation but still silently calculating 6 meters and inching our way backwards as we remind ourselves to just breathe.
Your colleagues, your employees, your customers – they are all learning and surviving in their own way. Many are frustrated not knowing what’s next, feeling like they can’t even see two feet in front of them. Others are determined to find passion in their work and their life, to marry what they have learned during this time with everything they “knew” pre-covid-19. For some, there’s a knowing that something needs to be different but a deep frustration of not being able to identify what that is. For almost all, there’s an audible sigh of pure, unadulterated tiredness.
We are all tired. We have experienced a trauma on a global scale. We have to let ourselves heal and breathe, we need time and space to see clearly, and we need recognition that the world is different. We are different – and that is okay.
To my fellow colleagues, business leaders, and business owners, this is your chance to show who you really are. Are you going to stay in your underground bunker and ask your customers and employees if they still want to work from home or order online? Or are you going to walk beside them as they rove this new world? Will you ask deeper questions, listen harder, and help design with them the next few steps on their journey? If the old path isn’t working, are you brave enough to stand with them and design a new one? You can connect and be a part of this new world or you can keep hiding in your bunker and make yourself obsolete.
We have just learned that zombies exist – big, global, life-changing zombies! So whether your entire world has been permanently marked by Covid-19 or your home feels almost as if its returned to “normal,” this is not a debate on if you can work from home or go in the office. It’s so much more than that. Be kind to yourself and those around you. Remember that part of you is still learning how to live while listening for the zombies.
Let’s recognize our unique journeys and design together what it looks like – for us, for our families, our customers, our businesses. Let’s connect on what’s possible.