The Power Of Kindness And Other Pandemic Lessons I’ve LearnedMay 31, 2022
There’s no question that you’ve faced a change of some kind in the past few years. Some people experienced big changes—moving from the office to the home office, managing gaps in childcare, recovering from an illness, or grieving the loss of a loved one. For others, change came in the form of a thousand tiny inconveniences that, taken together, felt significant—altering plans with friends, postponing travel, or canceling birthdays.
Personally, I experienced a combination of big and small changes, many hard, but many good, too. Amid the stress and discomfort, I found space for more reflection, more perspective, and so much more grace, both for myself and others.
Even though I would never wish for a pandemic, I can say with confidence that my life now, both professionally and personally, is better than it was before March of 2020. Why? Because all this change has changed me and my clients in ways I think we needed. More than ever before in my career, I have experienced colleagues and clients giving and receiving compassion.
This strange time we’re living in has highlighted the fact that the person on the other side of the Zoom or the phone call or the email deals with hard days and family emergencies and anxiety, too. At the end of the day, we’re all in the human-to-human business, and we all benefit from being kind to each other.
I’ve chosen to become a student of this new normal or post-pandemic world or whatever you want to call this time. (Will it ever truly “end?” I’m not sure). Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned that I plan to carry with me, whatever the future holds.
1. It pays to be patient.
As much as hearing that another in-person speaking gig was canceled or postponed grew tiring, I learned to see a change of plans as a chance to practice patience. I quickly realized that I could choose to see disruptions as a rejection of me or to see the people behind a decision doing their very best to make the best, safest decisions for their organizations. Most of the time, canceled events came back around—often even better than they might have been otherwise.
2. You never know what someone else is going through.
Often, we can’t see what’s happening in our clients’ and colleagues’ lives beyond their Zoom squares, so I try to extend grace and understanding to everyone. I’ve been amazed by people’s willingness to be vulnerable with me. More than one client over the past couple of years has confided in me about a loss of a parent, a family illness, or other tragedy. As someone who recently navigated the loss of a close friend, I understand the way grief affects everything. I needed grace from others in that season, and I’m thankful to be that person for others in their tough moments.
3. Virtual and hybrid formats hold important beliefs.
Sometimes breaking out of your usual gives you a chance to rethink, restructure, and experiment. That’s certainly been my experience with team training events. Because of the constraints around in-person gatherings, I’ve had to get creative about how to deliver content in a virtual or hybrid format while maintaining or improving effectiveness. I’ve been surprised and delighted to discover that slicing content into bite-sized pieces for online learners creates opportunities for “stickier” learning and increased accountability.
While there are many things I miss about the “before times,” I am grateful for many of the ways my world has changed. Whether life ever fully returns to normal or not, I plan to be a little kinder, a little more patient, a little more compassionate, and a little more innovative in the work I do. I hope others will too.
I’ve seen firsthand in the past couple of years that community knows no distance. Digital tools have the power to connect us in authentic ways many people never would have anticipated before the pandemic. One place I’ve observed this is, of course, on LinkedIn.
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