Three Small Gifts in a Crisis

I’m sure you’ve heard that the optimist looks at the glass as half-full, the pessimist sees it as half-empty, and the pragmatist looks and asks, “What’s in it?” Even when the news seems to be full of half-empty reports these days about the COVID-19 crisis, and we are still preparing for the worst, I remain hopeful, because so many small gifts are all around me.

Make no mistake about it, the crisis is real, and the suffering, heartache, and loss have been staggering across the globe. But I’ve seen at least three good things come from it.

1. The gift of everyday heroes

It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, work on Wall Street or Baltic Avenue (can you tell I’ve been playing Monopoly?), or drive a Volvo or Versa, COVID-19 does not discriminate. Sickness “levels the playing field,” so to speak, by reducing any sort of class distinction.

Healthcare workers have always been on the front lines. This crisis has elevated their status to heroes. Imagine going to work without proper safety equipment for the sole purpose of facing sick, contagious people every day. I have many friends in health care, and several of them have shed tears as they’ve had to isolate themselves from their own children so they can do their jobs without putting their kids at risk.

Other employee groups have also earned some well-earned, elevated status. Where would we be without people working in the grocery stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, Instacart, trash pick-up, etc?

Value is not defined by how much you make or where you work. I love seeing the gift of love, support, and validation for people who may feel like the invisible class, those working on the front lines yet often unseen by others.

And I love the gift of kindness shown to my daughter’s BFF for her 13th birthday. With cars full of people singing happy birthday, honking their horns, and waving signs, her friends got to show their love even though they couldn’t sleep over or share cake, presents, or even hugs. Those who organize and participate in these activities and keep the spirit of community alive are our everyday heroes.

2. The gift of course correction

Many people spend their lives living to work. Or, based on how many hours they spend doing it, it looks like work is their number one goal. As it’s been said, “No one says on his death bed, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office!'”

Today you have the small gift to change directions. Don’t like how you’ve been living, who you’ve been living with, or the direction your life has taken over the years? There’s still time.

Heroes are often common people who’ve been touched by tragedy. They take what could be considered a half-empty glass as a catalyst to evaluate their lives. Think of COVID-19 as a tragedy that could help you transform your life for the better.

Are you living your best version of SELF, guided by your TRUE NORTH? Do you live your values each day knowing your VALUES ARE THE LEGACY you leave behind?

3. The gift of goal-setting

I don’t know this as a fact, but I’m guessing the first words of infant politicians are, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” In other words, even something bad can be used to your advantage (and not in a selfish way)!

I asked on social media this question:

Besides trying to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during COVID-19, what are your goals for the extra time you’ve been given to invest?

A few people said things like, “Nothing more than spending time with my kids.” Wait a minute. Isn’t that a great goal? Time passes in a blink of an eye. In no time, they will leave the house and you’ll be the only one saying, “Isn’t there anything good to eat in this house?” Spending time with your kids is a gift, a rare treat. What a wonderful goal!

Another person said her goal was to catch up on rest. When we work 40 hours each week with more hours spent in our commute, rest is the first thing we sacrifice. Rest is a gift.

One person is making masks for health care workers! One is going to learn German. More than one said they want to prioritize fitness and health.

My goal has been to increase my mindfulness around the words of the Persian poet: “This too shall pass.” To help me keep this as my focus, I put together a video of what it means to me. You can see that here:

What little gifts are you seeing and experiencing during this difficult time?

(If I can help you with coaching, virtual speaking/motivation for your teams, consulting around how to manage these changes, or book publishing/editing/writing, please reach out.)

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