We expected a 'normal' spring season. Winter was nearly over, then COVID-19 hit. It took us all by surprise. Right now, we are all working from home. Many of us have had to shift the way we do things. For some, this has been a challenge. For others, we have had to make sacrifices. So, how do we find joy during this time? To me, it's all about perspective. The ability to look at a situation from a different vantage point. The ability to hit the pause button and take stock of what matters most. The ability to refocus our attention and efforts on the most critical priorities.
As the head of my household and the Managing Director of a leadership advisory consulting firm, I'm required to be a leader. Sure, I support the growth and development of my clients. My job is to serve as their trusted advisor and help them maximize their full potential. But, how have I coped with the crisis personally? It would be a lying to say this pandemic isn't affecting me. It is. It's changed the way I look at things from both a personal and professional standpoint.
I'm home right now with my wife and a 7-year old son. During the day, it used to just be me at my home office. It was quiet. I got a lot more done in a timely and efficient manner. Don't get me wrong though. I love my family, dearly. I love our family movie nights, and daily walks around the community. It's all we can really do right now. We make the best with what we can. I do however miss the former days. The simplicity of my wife and I walking to our local restaurant for dinner. Watching sports and playing golf. Boy do I miss playing golf. However, instead of dwelling on what was, I have decided to embrace the unknown.
We all have a choice to make. We can fill our minds with what was. We can focus on thoughts like, "I can't wait till we get back to normal." "I just want this to be over." "I miss how things were." Instead, I'm preparing myself, my family, and my team for change. We are learning to adapt and adjust to the new realities. For example, standing six feet away from one another. I never realized how much we invaded a person's space. We will need to adopt new ways for interacting with others.
On the home front, my wife and I have shifted our date night to an 'order from local business' night. We do a weekly family zoom call with all our relatives. It's something we would have never considered doing before. While these changes are small, and may seem irrelevant to some, they are starting to shape our future. They are affecting our relationships by either bringing us closer together or forcing us to keep our distance. We now check-in frequently with family just to say hello, and make sure everyone is doing ok. I think about the little things a lot more than I used to do. Is it necessary for these changes? Is it important to focus on what matters most? Does it make a difference? I believe it does. What we do during this crisis will shape how we behave in the future. Things will be different as we all start going back to work.
How is it that 2 months of quarantine, instead of making me crazy, has caused me to care more? I'm more compassionate now than I was back in February. I stop to take time for reflection more often. I'm more thankful for the people in my life. From family and friends to colleagues and clients, my perspectives have changed. I no longer take things for granted. I no longer focus exclusively on my goals and professional ambitions. I'm more cognizant of others. I've developed deeper empathy for those I work with. I've tried to instill this in my clients. Some have adopted the same beliefs. Others have not. Again, it's all about perspective.
I would never consider myself a bad human being, but I am becoming a better person, and a better leader, as a result of this crisis. Yes, the world hit a pause button very quickly. We are now forced to reevaluate everything. What's most important now? How will we handle the challenges of the future? Where will we go from here? We all have different situations. As we move out of this crisis, different things will surface for different people. Our clients have already started to make changes. The way they operated in the past will not be the same as we move forward.
I can honestly say, what I have taken away from this so far is perspective. Perspective and appreciation. I've always kept an optimistic and positive mindset. Not that this is validation for that, it was more like preparation. If I don't look at the good that comes out of this pandemic, how can I call myself a leader? If I don't adapt and evolve, how do I lead by example? If I don't refocus and re-prioritize what's most important, how can I provide the proper guidance and support to my clients?
Take stock of what's most important to you right now. Reflect on how you've grown during the last eight weeks. Yes, all of our lives have changed. I believe some of us will look back and see that we have changed for the better. But that's up to you. You determine your lessons learned from this crisis. You determine how you will be different moving forward. You determine how you will engage and work with people as we step into a new frontier.
Adam C. Bandelli, Ph.D. is the Managing Director of Bandelli & Associates, a boutique consulting firm focusing on leadership development and organizational effectiveness.
For more information about this or other leadership topics, visit our website at www.bandelliandassociates.com.
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