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Turning the Coronavirus (or any crisis) Into an Opportunity


Grieving What Was Lost

Covid-19 has reduced people’s commute to linear feet of going from one end of their house to the other. Others have no commute to look forward to in the near future. They have been laid off, furloughed, or are in some kind of limbo not knowing what their work will be when quarantines and stay at home orders end. As a result, there is a deep grieving going on. Reading the news reinforces the loneliness, the isolation, and the sheer devastation of a virus that has been declared the new enemy that we are at war with. 

The grieving is a long drawn out grieving. Even as we celebrate the heroic doctors and nurses working to save the lives of those who are sick, the refrigerated semitrailers in hospital parking lots brings and overwhelming feeling of sadness. We are also grieving the loss of close contact with others, the ability to shake hands, or have a cup of coffee at Starbucks with a friend or colleague. We are also grieving the losses of others—their jobs, their well-being, their…

It’s Ok to grieve. Grieving is healthy when it leads to release, reflection, recalibrating, and recommitment.

Embracing What Can Be New

Almost everyone seems to be saying that the old normal is gone and the new normal is over the horizon. We can’t define it yet, but we seem to know that it’s there. Some aspects of the new normal are beginning to form and as it forms a new way of thinking is necessary.

  1. Think about how to deepen relationships in the new reality.

Physical Distance is going to be a part of our lives. Social distancing is a terrible way to describe it, even if it is the predominant terminology. People need friendship, companionship, and partnership. They need community. But a physical distance of 6 feet seem to be here to stay. It’s the new normal, but a normal that doesn’t mean we can’t deep relationships.

2. Think small groups. Large group gatherings to some extent or another are a distant reality. Think 6, 8, maybe 10 people. Even when the stay-at-home orders come to an end, large gatherings will be the last thing to materialize out of all of this. Small group collaboration and community building is quite likely going the next step after work from home.

3. Think creative connections. I am guessing that creativity will be something more than a Zoom Meeting phone calls, social media, and email. It might even be old school or new “new” school, something we haven’t even conceived yet. Creative connections may be the new low hanging fruit to grab when building relationships and networking for business.

Bringing the Best of Who You Are

A crisis often brings out the worst in us. But it can also bring out the best. It’s important to lean into those strengths that can most help us and others in good times, but particularly in bad times. 

There is only one you, with the unique combination of strengths that you. We all undervalue our uniqueness and the power we can bring the problems of our world. We also waste huge amounts of energy trying to do things that we are not good at, especially in a crisis. Focusing our energy by focusing the best of who we are is a powerful, beautiful and effective way to handle a crisis.

Gallup has an exercise called “strengths spotting” which they use in conjunction with CliftonStrengths® coaching. Some people describe it as looking for your superhero tendencies. This can be done without taking a strengths assessment.

Focusing your strengths during difficulty is one way to take the focus off and the power out of your weaknesses. Think of those things that bring you the most joy, the greatest sense of accomplishment, and the most meaning. Think of those things that you do in every area of life without having to think about it. What do you do that others notice and compliment you on? What are your gold medal moments, those times in life where you excelled? How can you bring those gold medal moments to the difficult things that are happening right now and to the new normal that may be down the road?