The Great Pause

Wordcount: 525 Time to read: 3 minutes

“Our experiences always teach us something. If the experience is “bad”, then the lesson is even more powerful and meaningful. Every unfortunate incident makes us stronger and better equipped to handle new challenges.”

Miya Yamanouchi

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefing on April 17th, 2020, the Governor said, “Sometimes you don’t miss something until it’s been taken away.” He told about the many times his mother had asked him to come over for coffee and he declined. Due to risk of infection, he can’t see her and realizes how much he’s missing, with her and own children.

I was touched by how Cuomo spoke of his children not being kids anymore. Now grown, with their own complicated lives and issues, his desire is to know them better than he has through 4 minute ‘Hello, how are you doing’ updates.

One of the benefits of stressful times like these is the focus that can be found when the fragility of living becomes exposed.

I am the type who tends to find clarity and comfort in vision, mission, and values statements, and I know I’m not alone. We have a rare opportunity to “stress test” these foundational declarations. If you haven’t reviewed them recently, or if you’ve been struggling to capture them with the intensity of purpose you feel, now is an ideal time to find the right words and be guided by them.

One of the gifts I feel I’ve received while sheltering in place is the change in how I use my time and perception of having more. Given the demands of the day, having more time seems foolish. Whether from my preference for face to face meetings being undermined, or missing frenetic pace of everyday life, I feel as if Ihave more time.

The desire to use any repurposed time wisely has allowed me to recognize an additional benefit. Doing the type of work I domentoring leadership teams through change–requires using my mind and experiences in a conscious, deliberate manner. Those activities can easily become mechanical rather than thoughtful, depriving my audience of the best of what I have to offer.

As I prepare for another virtual presentation, I realize I have a different opportunity to refine my remarks and design their delivery. It seems easier to put myself in the shoes of my audience, be more empathetic, make my presentation more valuable and consumable. Something that can be harder to do as actions become routine.

Today’s disruptions will end, too soon for some, too late for others. While the end won’t happen on a specific date or time, it is coming. Our focus should not be on when that time will come. Worrying is, as it always has been, a total waste. Worry shifts our focus to the past which we will never change, the future which yet to happen, or what we should be doing and aren’t. Give yourself a timeout and think about THAT.

You, me, all of us need to be focusing on this rarest of opportunities; reengineering the audience experience. Whether client or coworker, colleague or employee, there’s always room to do better.

So, rev up your proverbial engines, get your virtual transmissions in gear, and start making the changes you need to make so you can smoothly flow into whatever the new normal becomes.

Then stop worrying and start doing


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