Tragedy is the opportunity.
The coronavirus is giving me opportunities to grow and learn and practice.
Suffering is real. This virus is bringing untold suffering to many people today and we don’t know how many more people. We don’t know if or when it will directly harm us or people we love. This is real.
But it is in times like these that we have growth opportunities. We know this as a community. After 9/11, the world came together. Personally, my biggest growth spurts have come following tragedy.
As a manager, people look up to me as a leader. I strive to be a leader who doesn’t panic. A leader who tells the truth but also the whole truth. It is true that the virus is scary and we don’t know what will happen. But we can still make progress on our products that will help people. We can use this event as an opportunity to grow.
As a parent, my son will learn from how I react. He will get to see the world doesn’t have to be a big scary place.
Here are ways I’m optimistic that I will grow from this opportunity:
- Practice a daily intention to be a leader who inspires growth and doesn’t act from fear.
- I can tighten up my daily routines. Living in isolation will give me much more structure to set a daily schedule.
- I’m excited at the opportunity to learn and better use the technologies that allow remote collaboration. Nothing beats a person to person interaction to communicate and share but it can be an expensive use of time. Also it can also allow bad habits of not documenting and communicating decisions.
- More opportunity to have face to face time with my family.
- I’m excited to see what I can do with the time I normally spend commuting.
- Opportunity to work through and cope with the extra stress caused by the virus.
- Opportunity to slow down. There will be more space in my life being in isolation. Can I use this to balance the stress?
I drove home from work yesterday with a tear in my eye and gratitude in my heart. I had a monitor in the trunk and odds and ends from my desk in the front seat. I drove away from my cubicle and office building not knowing the next time I would be back.
My heart was also full of gratitude. I was driving home to the arms of my family in a peaceful well stocked house. I was fully aware of the blessings of being a knowledge worker in a time where it is possible to work in isolation.
I was aware of the momentous event this is in my son’s life. This was his first day of an unknown number of days of isolation with only parents as a teen growing into his own life. How will he think of his world where you need to be separate from other people to be safe? He wants to see friends and play with them. Then I’m hit with the gratitude and responsibility that I have an opportunity to teach by doing. He can watch me. He can watch me live a peaceful life despite the fear and isolation. I look forward to the conversations not about chores and xbox rules but instead about the unique opportunity we have as a family to spend this time together.
I’m aware of so many emotions running around in my head. I have fear and stress. I also have hope and excitement.
I love work. It makes me feel useful. I’m grateful that I’m able to still work. But I’m also scared to be doing it in such an isolated environment. Working from home has never been something I really enjoyed. In college I studied in the library and labs and socialized in the dorms. I have always enjoyed the separation of these lives. I’m optimistic about the opportunities for me and my team to learn to better communicate and better document our work. Of course I know that for some tasks I will get better focus and be more efficient.
I do have fear about the social and economic ramifications of systems falling apart. But I also know that we will have opportunities to help put these systems back together even with small acts. I have hope that these systems will now have opportunities to make adjustments that will better serve the communities.
Later that evening we all talked and visited as a family. My son wants to use this time to grow his fitness. This is in response to track season being canceled. He wants me to join him. I’m hit with the realization that I will be learning from him in our time together. Already seeing the possibilities that are arising in this time of chaos.
I look forward to this opportunity of solitude. To show up for my coworkers and family. To show leadership. To inspire and to learn.
It is not all roses and rainbows. This tragedy is real. But I don’t have to crumble. I can still learn and grow and contribute.