In the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity. John F. Kennedy
Seems like most everything is cancelled as we semi self-quarantine as a nation in response to the Coronavirus. Who knew what “social distancing” was a month ago? Did the concept even exist a month ago? Now we all know. Schools at every level from pre-school to PhD programs are closed. Companies have gone into “work from home” mode, retail business are reducing hours or closing, and in some areas courts are closing. Meetings, concerts, and conferences are being cancelled. Traffic is noticeably lighter, including at rush hour, as people are staying home. Businesses are adapting as best they can. Restaurants are focusing on to-go orders and curbside service. Apartment operators are showing apartments using virtual leasing tours and extending leases of those who cannot move out as planned. In some areas, landlords cannot evict tenants, and homes cannot be foreclosed upon. Construction workers are working as fast as they can to get work done now ahead of possibly being forced to shut projects down.
The sports world has been rocked as well, as professional hockey, basketball, soccer, tennis, and golf are all shut down, at least temporarily. Even XFL football is shuttered, with all its funky rules (some of which are pretty cool). College and high school sports are cancelled. Only professional bowling as of this writing seems to be staying the course, but no one seems to have noticed.
In short, in a time of great angst and uncertainty, there are few places to go and nothing much to watch on TV, especially if you’re a sports fan. And one can watch the news but only so much as it’s so depressing. When and if there is any positive Coronavirus news, you’re not likely to find it there.
So what to do? While linguists take issue with Kennedy’s widely used interpretation of the Chinese characters representing the word “crisis,” the concept seems spot on. For many, we have more time on our hands than we are used to and are comfortable with. We’re unsettled and struggling to do much of anything. Here’s advocating, after cutting ourselves some slack and allowing ourselves some time to adjust, that we try to find and realize the opportunity amidst the danger. Which includes being productive as best we can by getting work done, tackling put-off projects, and reconnecting (at a safe distance) with people we have intended to but haven’t. And helping someone less fortunate than us who’s struggling with the crisis. When all this passes – as surely it must (right?) – we’ll be glad we used this time wisely and that we’re further down the road toward things that matter to us.
Notes and sources. We’re going to follow our own advice and work on writing keynotes and training based on Look Out Above! during this sequestering time. From the LOA! team to you and yours, please stay safe and look forward to another blog in the not-to-distant future after a short coronavirus break.