How to Navigate This Strange New World

When I was writing my book, We’re All in This Together, last spring and summer…I knew it would be coming out in May of 2020, which I figured would be an interesting and intense time, as the lead-up to the U.S. Presidential election would be in full swing and, I assumed, other things would be […]

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When I was writing my book, We’re All in This Together, last spring and summer…I knew it would be coming out in May of 2020, which I figured would be an interesting and intense time, as the lead-up to the U.S. Presidential election would be in full swing and, I assumed, other things would be going on in our country and our world. However, I wasn’t thinking about anything to the extent of what we are facing now with the coronavirus.

Although the primary focus of my book is creating a team culture of performance, trust, and belonging…there are some core themes throughout the book (and in all of my work over the past few years) about finding common ground, addressing the intense divisiveness in our country and world right now, and remembering that even with all of our differences, we’re way more alike than we are different.

As the reality of this global pandemic sets in for me and so many of us here in the United States, as we see what has been happening throughout the world in recent weeks and months, and as we prepare for the unknown of what comes next…it is becoming even clearer to me how profoundly interconnected we all are. We truly are all in this thing together. It doesn’t matter what we look like, where we’re from, how much money we have, what we do for a living, the title or role we have, who we love, how we pray, or anything else…we all have to deal with this pandemic.

Some of us are and will be more significantly impacted by what is going on – physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, financially, and professionally. And, all of us have been and will be impacted by this in some profound ways.

We have a huge responsibility to care for ourselves, our loved ones, the people we work with, and everyone. Our actions have a significant impact on those around us, our community, and our society at large.

And, although this whole thing is scary and vulnerable for me and most of us, we have the opportunity to use this crisis as a catalyst for growth, change, healing, connection, and transformation if we choose to do so.

Here are a few things you can do and think about as you navigate the coming days, weeks, and possibly months as we make our way through this experience:

1. Listen to experts – There are lots of opinions flying around and lots of “information” out there about the virus.  The more we can listen to medical professionals and leaders we trust, the more we’ll be able to get quality information to inform our decisions and to share with others in a responsible way.

2. Take care of yourself – It’s really important for us to take care of ourselves in the midst of the fear, uncertainty, and stress many of us are feeling right now.  As best as we can making sure we sleep, eat, and exercise, even if it needs to be modified a bit.  And, using this time as an opportunity to slow down, turn within, meditate, journal, and do other things that nourish ourselves can all be beneficial, in general, and especially right now.

3. Check in with those around you – Making sure the people around us – our family, friends, co-workers, and others – are doing okay is essential.  Some people are more physically vulnerable than others, some are more isolated, and some are more scared.  Reaching out to and checking in with others is important for them, us, and all of us.  Even though we may be staying away from each other physically, we can still connect with each other emotionally.

4. Be Flexible and Creative – Things have changed pretty significantly for most of us in a very short period of time.  While this can be upsetting, stressful, and confusing, the more flexible and creative we can be the better.  We will need to alter some of our routines, how we do business, how we communicate, how we operate, and more.  Trying new things and seeing what works is all part of the process.

5. Remember that “This, too, shall pass” – There is a lot of understandable fear and uncertainty in the air.  This can be hard, scary, and uncomfortable.  As the famous saying goes, “this, too, shall pass.”  Reminding ourselves and everyone around us that we will get through this is important.  We don’t have to do this in some Pollyanna kind of way, but as a way to remind ourselves and others that we’re strong, that there are a lot of really smart people working on this, and that we’re not alone.  Remembering these things are fundamental to our state of mind and to the morale of those we work and live with.

I don’t pretend to know why this is happening or what comes next. But I do believe with all of my heart that we’ll get through this together if we operate with authenticity, trust, compassion, courage, and love. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember that there really is no “them,” it’s all “us.”

Feel free to leave any comments or questions here, or directly on my blog.

Mike Robbins is the author of five books including his latest, We’re All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging.  He’s a thought leader and sought-after speaker whose clients include Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Schwab, eBay, Genentech, the Oakland A’s, and many others.  

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