This post wraps up the sharing of lessons learned from a dumpster fire of a year… that despite obstacles and tragedy, still offered learning and opportunity.
On Work and Leadership
- My Ego was in charge before. “I learned I am not needed in the office as much as I was going in; I can better assist in other ways.”
- BUSY is different from PRODUCTIVE. “Holy shit, I wasted so much time being visible at work and now all that matters is getting stuff done.”
- Women Leaders Rock! Women-led countries handled the lockdown best (e.g., NZ, DE, BE). They listened to the experts, used consensus decision-making and common sense to control the virus, demonstrated compassion, and lead by example.
- Coworkers are People – Be Kind. Video meetings showed us people’s lives. Our CEO gently pushing his youngest child off camera view during a town hall; hearing our president’s dog barking; seeing inside of someone’s home…reminders they have complex lives outside of how I know them. Appearances are deceiving.
- Managers and Leaders are not the same. Many of you shared stories of line managers losing it while non-managerial associates served as the voices of calm and reason.
- Crisis Fuels Creativity. “This forced us all to be a little more creative in not only our engagement with clients but also with each other.”
- WFH (work from home) is terrible and wonderful. You can’t wait for it to end AND you want to keep it available to you.
- The “interruptions” WERE my work! “Those constant interruptions and complaints I had before, I felt like I couldn’t get my work done, I miss them.” Those interactions were an important part of your day, especially for the extraverts!
- Lightness is important. “More than ever, I need to laugh when appropriate and to lead by example.”
- Compassionate Leadership is worth its weight in gold. Boom.
- “I have a warm house and food on the table.” Many people don’t.
- Happiness is in constant flux. “I appreciate it when it’s there and accept it when not.”
- You get to choose your own happiness, not others. “I am done giving others that power over me. My life is great and I’m going to live every day acting that way. If I make a mistake, I own it and move on. No more allowing it to ruin more time and energy than it is worth.”
Focus on the World
- Internet Access is as Vital as Water and Electricity. None of these systems are in great shape. The pandemic revealed the fragility and inequities of our infrastructures (in the US).
- Nature is Resilient – When We Give It a Chance. Taking cars from the road and grounding planes reduced carbon emissions resulting in clear skies in many parts of the world. If it took a pandemic to prove that we are a cause AND that Mother Nature can bounce back, great. “The question remains: will we give her a chance once we’re vaccinated?”
- We get to choose what we see in others. We can either focus on the good of the human race or we can get dragged through the mud. “I believe that most people are good, and I refuse to let anything tarnish that belief.”
- Many people don’t give a shit until it affects them. People die from diseases, lose their jobs, face systemic oppression and numerous -isms, lack essentials to live, and deal with daily food shortages far more dire than what some of us experienced in 2020, ALL THE TIME. For a while we were more aware of all that. It’s sad it took this crisis to bring to awareness; on the hopeful side, perhaps more people will be less self-ish in the future.
- You Need to Take Care of You. “In 2021, my #1 focus will be self-care (physical, spiritual and emotional health). My #2 focus will be spending time with and appreciating loved ones.” The lockdown reconnected a lot of you with your values in a powerful way.
I am grateful to all who shared your wisdom. Keep learning, keep practicing gratitude, and keep moving forward.
I end this sharing with the mantra my friend Lamar has used on all his emails in the past year.
Stay positive and test negative!