The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, and there are important lessons for all of us to learn that can benefit us professionally and personally. While the virus caught us off-guard and unprepared, in my own line of work I came away with these steps for the future that will help me and our agency’s clients.
Keep moving forward
Perhaps the biggest adjustment for many of us was the overwhelming news attention that the virus generated. It was hard to move forward because we were all stuck in a cycle of uncertainty. The outlook was grim, and it is challenging to look ahead when the predictions are so dire. The crisis stage, however, seems to have passed. It’s worth remembering that even in darkest times, better times are ahead.
Overwhelming negativity can bring down the most positive outlook. It’s hard to put on a happy face when anxiety abounds in our business and social circles. Yet that’s the most critical time to keep a positive mental attitude. It requires extra attention, and it’s easy to get swallowed up by the discomforting thoughts that prevail all around us. But a positive outlook can go a long way toward fighting off negative thoughts. It takes work, but it’s well worth it.
Particularly in times of crisis and anxiety, conversation can go a long way toward easing stress. Whether it’s with a spouse, a child or a client, hearing a voice brings back a sense of normalcy. Particularly with COVID-19, where everyone was quarantined, people should have been available. It’s not like you could have been out to dinner or at the hair salon! Instead of writing the email, make the phone call or schedule the video meeting. Sometimes that 30-minute personal connection can make the work day go by much faster – and enhance the relationship.
What things worked well for you during the virus? What could have been better? What should I do, personally and professionally, before the next pandemic occurs? The biggest mistake from going through an ordeal is not learning from it. This particular crisis seemed to catch everybody by surprise. But now is not the time to dwell on mistakes or cast blame. That can be sorted out when more facts come to light. My focus will be on analyzing what I can do to be better prepared when another pandemic grabs the globe.
I think all of us want things to return to “normal.” But there is going to be a “new normal,” with more social distancing, masks when venturing out in public, fewer seats at our favorite restaurants and more. I don’t know entirely what the new normal will look like or when it will be in place, but I know I can’t wait to get there. In the meantime, I’m going to reflect on these past few months and identify other areas of self-improvement that I hope will help in similar angst-ridden crises.