Seek support. While you may turn to family and friends for a shoulder to lean on, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a qualified professional. You may also wish to consult a faith-based leader who can provide guidance specific to your faith.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michele Streitmatter, Chief Organizational Transformation Officer, Greenway Health
Michele Streitmatter is the Chief Organizational Transformation Officer at Greenway Health, her people and performance leadership experience spans more than 20 years, and includes a role as executive HR business partner for GE Digital and GE Aviation. Throughout her career, Michele has shaped workplaces through collaboration, team development, and a relentless focus on the customer, helping organizations thrive. Her deep commitment to Greenway’s priorities and values underscores the importance of team members working together to support customers and partners, and inspiring one another to embody higher standards.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
When I was a young child on the playground, I noticed the boys would play in one area and the girls in another. One day, I brought my yellow Tonka dump truck along with me and something fabulous happened. For the first time, everyone played together in the sandbox! While I didn’t understand it until later in life, I had experienced what would become the guiding force for my professional career. With the right approach, I could bring people together, influence behavior, and move people to action. For the past 30 years, I’ve used that force in a variety of corporate roles to shape thinking and drive changes in behavior to provide the best possible outcomes for customers.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. 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.
- Choice: Each day we can choose to be hopeful and peaceful, regardless of our external circumstances. Choose hope, choose peace, and choose joy.
- Unity: The current situation creates opportunities for us to unite in service to one other across neighborhoods, communities and around the globe.
- Innovation: As with most crisis situations, the COVID-19 pandemic requires immediate action to solve problems. This drives tremendous innovation in products, market strategies, regulations, and government support programs. The level and speed of this innovation benefits us all.
- Observation: As we clear the clutter from our lives, and focus on our daily activities and priorities, we have time to notice the unique wonders of the world around us.
- Reflection: We have the gift of time and the ability to reflect. Think about who you are and how you have experienced this situation. Pick up a pen and write the next chapter of your life story based on what you learned through reflection.
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?
- Listen empathetically to their concerns, let them express their emotions, and help them understand the difference between real and current issues versus future, perceived issues.
- Discuss the facts of the situation and, when possible, remind them of similar past experiences in which they prevailed. Help them apply what they learned to the current situation.
- Focus their attention on what they can and cannot control and help them build an action plan based on what they can control.
- Encourage them to be mindful of what they consume — from food to news — and consider whether it helps them find peace or adds to their anxiety.
- Facilitate the creation of a “gratitude list.” Studies show it’s impossible for the brain to process gratitude and anxiety simultaneously. Choose gratitude.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
- Find your sense of humor. Live, laugh, and love.
- Speak up. Be intentional about articulating your needs to those around you.
- Build a workout plan. There are numerous apps and digital solutions for in-home fitness.
- Create a daily schedule. The predictability of the schedule may help ease your anxiety.
- Seek support. While you may turn to family and friends for a shoulder to lean on, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a qualified professional. You may also wish to consult a faith-based leader who can provide guidance specific to your faith.
- Read. I recommend Simple is the New Smart by Rob Fazio, Ph.D., Managing Partner of OnPoint Advising. In his book, Fazio shares lessons he learned from athletes, executives, and others he’s worked with who are “driven toward excellence.”
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
You can connect with me on LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/in/michele-streitmatterchro/.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!