What have we learned?
Whew, we made it! This is our final installment of “16 things we’ve learned in 16 weeks” since March when we found ourselves adapting to a new work and school routine. There were challenges, there were joys, and everything in between--catch up on what else we learned in weeks 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12! As we close out our reflections on 2020 so far, for better or worse, they are important moments to pause, and to be intentional about how we’ll apply our newfound knowledge as we continue through the year and navigate our Next Normal.
13. Something simple could save a life.
Something as simple as a phone call, or a text, or an email to someone who's feeling really, really isolated, could save their life. It could change their perspective or make their day. Something simple, like wearing a mask, can change the way that someone else experiences the world. What a joy it is to know that we each have the ability to do something simple that can have so much influence; make a phone call, send a text, send an email, reach out to someone, share information, wear a mask in public spaces--something that simple can save a life. We need to remember that it isn’t always the big stuff that saves lives. If each of us does something relatively small, we can all have a big impact together.
Action Step: Identify one thing you can do for someone else, one phone call you might make, one email you might send, one note you might write, one expression of compassion you might make. Then, do it. Tomorrow, identify something else, and do that, too. And the next day, too. You get the idea.
14. If something needs to be said, say it.
So many hot topics have come to the surface in our country and perhaps in our own personal consciousness this year. While in the midst of a pandemic and our different opinions on the best response to the Coronavirus, there has also been an unearthing of widespread racial injustices that have existed for too long in our country. People have identified moments where things need to change, and they've said something. While different kinds off communication can have different impacts in different situations, silence is not okay. We need to speak up. If you see something, say something. Tomorrow is not promised. If something needs to be corrected, correct it, or at least speak up in a way that allows it to be addressed. By the same line of thinking, if you have a compliment that you need to pay to one of your colleagues, don't wait, and if something needs to be praised, praise it. If someone needs to be celebrated, celebrate them. We need to get better at speaking truth and speaking love in our day-to-day.
Action Step: Consider your workplace and social interactions through the reflective light of these past few weeks. Is there something you need to talk about so that it can be addressed? Use your voice to help end injustice, to call out bias, to help prevent others from being torn down and to help build others up.
15. We can agree to disagree.
I've written about this for many, many years. We can agree to disagree, but we must co-create greatness together. The two pieces go hand in hand. It's okay if we don't like the same kind of pie. It's okay if you and I don't see eye to eye on things. But, if you and I are going to occupy the same space, then we have to work together to achieve greatness. Even if we disagree about some things, we have to find something that we do agree on, so that we cause no harm to each other and so that we can move forward together. When we want to co-create greatness it involves togetherness, not just the self.
Action Step: Consider someone in your life with whom you “agree to disagree”. What common ground have you found, or can you find, as a foundation on which to walk forward together? Identify your common ground together so that together you can co-create greatness.
16. You're never really alone.
Those of us who find ourselves working from home while our family is also working or learning from home can look around and realize we are never really alone. That can also be a bit overwhelming, especially for those of us who require alone time to recharge. But there is another side to this. There is always someone who can help, who will listen, and who cares. Even in our darkest moment, we are never truly alone. You can drive to someone’s house and talk through windows at a safe distance, you can pick up the phone and FaceTime, you can always reach out. We need to remember and to remind each other that none of us is ever truly alone.
Action Step: Take a moment to identify the people in your life who have encouraged you, mourned with you, and shared your joy. Remember, even on the darker days, that we are not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out and seek connection, and recognize when someone is looking to you for that connection.
So there you have it -- those are 16 things I've learned in the last 16 weeks, through observation, through reflection, and through a diligent curiosity. What have you learned? I’m sure some of the things you’ve learned haven’t been fun, or easy, or comfortable. But aren’t you better for it? When we know better, we can do better.