Positivity exudes positives. Your family, kids, colleagues feel this. Maintaining as healthy a mindset as you can is important to those around you, but most of all important to yourself. While we all have had the worst case scenarios keep us up at night, we need to give ourselves a mental break and refocus with some positivity and optimism. For some that means turning off the news, avoiding the rabbit hole of social media, or setting aside 30 minutes of play time with your young kids or running outside, or doing some other form of physical activity.
As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karthik Kripapuri.
Karthik is the CEO of the omnichannel marketing and experience cloud technology company Selligent, responsible for driving the company’s global growth. Based in Raleigh, Karthik is passionate about raising funds for the National MS Society, and is on the board of Families Together, a non-profit dedicated to housing homeless families and setting them up for long-term success.
Thank you for joining us Karthik. Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Born to Run, the book by Christopher McDougall, is one of my favorite books. While I am a runner, it’s about much more than running! I connected with on many levels — the science, the inspirational stories and above all the possibility of the human spirit. I truly believe in the power of community — the benefits on physical, emotional and mental levels — and how approaching any goal with a strong community makes the goal more attainable, and the success sweeter. This can, of course, be applied to most scenarios in life and I learned a great deal from this book that I’ve applied to both ‘normal’ life and my life as an avid runner.
One thing is clear during this especially challenging time: while we’re all social distancing, we’re also putting more effort into connectedness, because it’s important for our mental and emotional well-being. Isolation doesn’t have to mean loneliness and that’s an important mental distinction we have to make. By remaining separated, we’re also working together for the collective good — which makes the goal of slowing COVID-19’s spread and minimizing its ravaging effects on our communities more attainable.
The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- We’re more mindful of our health. While the rise of infectious diseases is not a new concept, the novel Coronavirus is, and it’s been a wake-up call to everyone that we all play an important role in minimizing its damage to those around us. Whether they are family or strangers, it doesn’t matter; we see the importance of how our individual decisions affect a bigger population. I’m encouraged that most do their part willingly and that a little inconvenience won’t deter us from doing the right thing.
- We have been given the gift of (more) time at home to share with family and loved ones. Reflecting on life pre-Coronavirus, I was very wrapped up in a schedule. I always felt like I was rushing in everything I do: work, meeting with clients, traveling back home from these meetings, having a meal with my family, asking my kids about their day, spending one-on-one time with my wife, etc. However, I never felt like I did a particularly perfect job at most of those things. Now, because much of our life has been shifted to be rooted in the home, I still have to do a lot of what I’ve always had to do, but somehow, it feels more focused. My life’s intermixing is actually good for me, albeit stressful sometimes. But truth be told, stress has always been there. The “stay at home” time has made me think about what changes I can make after life gets back to ‘normal’ to keep some of the positives of this time consistent.
- We’ve heard it many times before: remote work just isn’t as good as in-the-office-work. But is it really? We’ve been given the chance to put that to the test, and as the CEO of Selligent, I’ve been able to re-evaluate how we operated the business before COVID-19, and see what changes we can commit to for the long-term. I have been a remote worker for most of my career, albeit, many days spent either in airplanes or traveling to meetings. It does work and provides a lot of flexibility and productivity. If there is something to be hopeful about in this “new normal” of working from home for those of us in industries lucky enough to do so, it is that it’s not that bad. And while it can be challenging with children and spouses at home sharing space with us, it is a time to be treasured. Given the flexibility, it truly is up to the individual to make it work and be efficient.
- Connections are alive and well. Given physical interactions are at a minimum, we’re relying more and more on digital communications and there’s something uplifting in knowing that people are making a bigger effort to check in on each other. New York Times recently wrote a story titled “The Humble Phone Call Has Made a Comeback” where both Verizon and AT&T report a significant jump in both calls made during the day and the overall “talk minutes.” We have great technology that’s making ‘face-to-face’ very easy today. Between group FaceTime, Zoom, and others, we’re still able to engage in very meaningful ways. These connections are critical now, but will also last long beyond this crisis.
- Newfound respect and appreciation for the small things. There is something I miss about going on trips to the grocery store on a whim. The same with meeting a friend at my local coffee shop or grabbing a drink in our local pub. Those ‘little things’ made a big impact on my everyday life, so for them to disappear virtually overnight has not been easy. But in the grand scheme of things, this time has taught me that life is made up of many meaningful small moments that I have underappreciated. And along with a new appreciation for the small things, I also have a newfound respect and appreciation for the people that made those little moments possible — grocery store workers, baristas, friends and neighbors. The next time we meet up with relatives and friends at a local restaurant, it will have so much more meaning, and maybe, we won’t take it for granted.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
I don’t necessarily have a step-by-step advice but ways that have been effective personally include:
- Be proactive and offer support to those around us. You’ve probably heard the saying: “Check in on your strong friend.” Some people share feelings better than others. Checking in on friends, colleagues, family members, and staying connected, even as simple as asking how people are doing, is crucial. If you open a door to conversation, chances are, someone will take that opportunity to share.
- Positivity exudes positives. Your family, kids, colleagues feel this. Maintaining as healthy a mindset as you can is important to those around you, but most of all important to yourself. While we all have had the worst case scenarios keep us up at night, we need to give ourselves a mental break and refocus with some positivity and optimism. For some that means turning off the news, avoiding the rabbit hole of social media, or setting aside 30 minutes of play time with your young kids or running outside, or doing some other form of physical activity. Whatever it is you need to do to clear your head, it’s important to remember to look out for your own mental health and pay attention to what’s making you anxious.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
- There are a lot of great remote counseling services. Crisis Text Line, for example, offers a free 24/7 messaging line for people in distress. The service is powered by volunteer Crisis Counselors who, like many of us today, work remotely. Sometimes it just takes some active listening and collaborative problem solving to get through a tough day.
- Another way is to share openly with the people that know you best. Leaning on family and friends and being someone they can connect with and talk to brings it all back to why community is so important.
- Lastly, remember that this is temporary — we will get past this and our resilience will be lasting.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This quote was an inscription at Denison University, where I studied as an undergrad. I walked past it every day when I went to school, and has really stuck with me.
Like my passion for running, there may be certain physical limitations, like an injury, that may keep me from achieving certain goals — whether that is completing four marathons a year, or reducing my run time. But half the time, it’s really me running against my own self. Running marathons is equal parts physical and mental. And if I talk myself out of it and say I can’t finish, then I probably won’t be successful.
Similar to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s quote: it’s not always about how smart a person is, or how physically fit you are, but it’s how hard you work to attain a goal. Being smart is definitely not a bad thing, but I can bet you that nine times out of 10, people who work extremely hard and do their best will outweigh the “smart” ones. It’s not always about intelligence, but how you apply it and how much you give to achieve what you want to achieve.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love running. It helps me clear my mind and find solace. Running gives me stretch goals that I know I can reach if I just work hard enough, and it’s a wonderful way to do good. I have run many races in order to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. I do something I love while trying to help the world in my own way. And when you run in a group that is working toward a common goal, it’s an amazing journey and process. If I were to start a movement, it would definitely involve running and finding a sense of community among people with a shared goal.