My wife and I were in Southern California on a planned vacation when it happened. I’d run out to the far end of ‘The Strand’ and did my turnaround in front of a JW literature stand while REM’s ‘End of the World’ played in my earbuds. I laughed at the irony and headed back to our borrowed condo.
A few hours later, we watched our Prime Minister look into the camera and tell Canadians abroad that “It’s time to come home.” I didn’t want to (and didn’t think we needed to), but as California started to close, there seemed little point in staying. We booked our flights and came home for what I expected would be a 2-3 month ‘stay-at-home’ period. Fifty weeks later, I can say I read that completely wrong!
I made some intentional choices early on about how I would live and lead through however long the crisis lasted. They’ve paid huge dividends! Here’s what I’m doing.
- I adjusted my mental diet. I read good leadership books that fed my passion and strengthened my competencies. I listened to music that made me feel good and filled me with hope, confidence, and faith.
- Exercise is a priority. Not only does it burn off calories and nervous energy for me, but the benefits of oxygenated blood pumping through my system also helps my mental health.
- I chose to be positive in my outlook, conversation, and attitude. I’ve had hard days, but they don’t define the past year for me. Finding the wins, looking for the sunshine and living with hope has made me a better leader.
- I manage my media intake. Knowing what’s going on matters, but most of the 24-hr news cycle is just lather, rinse, repeat. I check in when I start my day and move on from there. I’ve used the extra bandwidth for more creative/productive things.
- I created or took on projects/initiatives that were within my control. COVID affects a lot of things, but it doesn’t affect everything. Work within the realm of what you can control to gain ground, make improvements, etc. A productive attitude keeps me focused on good things.
- I’m investing in people through mentoring/encouraging and empowering them. Sowing into others has created a harvest of increased impact, influence, and most importantly, the joy of seeing people I care about doing well and thriving!
50 weeks later…
It just might be that COVID did bring ‘the end of the world’ as I knew it.
Looking back, I can say that I’m a better leader. I’m more in touch with God, with myself, my wife, and our team than I was a year ago. Those are huge wins!
Our team has grown; we are better connected and have accomplished much more than we would have if COVID hadn’t happened.
So, let me say a hearty ‘Thanks, COVID; what else can I learn while you’re here?’