I struggled with what to call this post. A Message of Hope??? With a title like that, it sounds like it should be the ‘King’s Speech.’ But whatever, just go with it! I started this idea with a Tweet, turned into an IG post, and then became an article. I guess my thoughts grew legs because I believe so much in the power of turning fear into hope.
I usually write solely with professionals as the audience. Today, I realize behind the laptop, many of you are Spouses, Mothers, Fathers, and at the end of the day, regular humans with feelings, emotions, and general concerns. There’s uncertainty at every turn, and if that wasn’t enough, changing every 24 hours with stricter quarantine laws being enforced. The sensationalism of the news is on every TV station, top of the headlines, and in most social media news feeds. How do you get away from it? How do you escape, but also remain informed? How do you stay positive, bounce back… and yes, how do you maintain HOPE?
COVID-19 made the World halt. Halt in a way that sweeps us all off our feet. The general population on every continent has the pause button hit.
There’s no doubt the negative ramifications that this virus has caused and will continue to reap. And despite all the unemployment, economic downturn and general fear surrounding Cities and Countries everywhere, people are finding joy. People I know, both near and far, are finding JOY while amidst a World pandemic. Someone much wiser than I said, “Anxiety is grasping for control of what we do not have in the future. Gratitude is giving thanks for what we do have in the present.”
As brilliant as ACDI is, we don’t know what the future will hold. So, in the remaining words I have with you, let’s break down ‘gratitude’ and why that concept can be so powerful. Gratitude at its root is thankfulness and readiness to show appreciation. The human brain is incapable of thinking of both gratitude and fear at the same time. The mind can’t compute both.
By that definition, gratitude is a ‘single track’ thought that allows you to rest in the peace of what you already have. That’s why authors who write about morning routines often have a ‘gratitude journal’ right up there with exercise and getting up early. I’ve always said, “somewhere, someone is praying for something you already have.” It’s a helpful perspective that frames my daily gratitude.
COVID-19 has done something amazing in homes everywhere. It’s allowed most of us to stop and breathe. To stop, turn around and have our thoughts catch up to our bodies. It has forced families to be together; to again have dinner together for days at a time. It has forced spouses, who were for so long two ships in the night, to look at each across the countertop and finally talk. It’s forced Fathers to close their laptops and get down on the floor to play with kids. If you’re anything like me, you’re finding joy in the small things. Like getting take-out from a local restaurant and watching family movies while playing made-up games that your four-year-old created.
And my running trails… I used to wave to 20 people on my daily runs. Now it’s like Mission Beach with the hustle and bustle of everyone exercising. It’s great to see that! In many homes, there’s laughter in the simple times that may have been overlooked with busy schedules and carpooling kids to piano, soccer, and drive-thrus. And how about professionally? Employees everywhere are learning to conduct business from their living rooms, hosting compelling webinars while wearing pajama pants.
Reps are closing deals, building relationships, all while switching laundry cycles. It’s real, it’s humanizing, and it’s long overdue. Even Employers recognize a new way of the office that will emerge from this.
Side note to leaders everywhere: How are you creating joy for your employees and colleagues during this unique time where it’s easy to become overwhelmed with questions? At ACDI, we host team and company huddles. Our cameras are on. We see the homes of each employee. We wear funny hats and dress in Spring Break attire because no one is experiencing a traditional Spring Break. Our kids sometimes jump in our laps. We laugh. We make fun of each other in a warm-spirited way. We have daily questions like, “If you were stranded on an island and could only listen to two artists, who would they be?” We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and there’s power in that mindset that humanizes people. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not pollyannaish to facts of the World, and we recognize the seriousness of COVID.
However, our teams also recognize what we can and can’t control. And we can control how we create an environment. And ACDI has always done that so well. I encourage you to create your environment that steams light-heartedness in a dark time.
There’s so much negativity on COVID, but I see so many MORE beautiful effects of this virus. So, I have a question for you; call it a challenge. How do we bring a little ‘COVID’ with us when the World picks back up again? How do we maintain margin in our lives that make way for the things that matter?
How do we not immediately overload our calendars, work excessive hours, and put ‘joy’ on the back burner again? Let’s remember the simple things that this time made us appreciate. Who knows, maybe in a year from now, you’ll have gratitude for this season of life we’re experiencing currently. Don’t miss it.
Our President quoted something in our all-company huddle this week. He said, “There’s a difference in holding a good hand vs. playing a bad hand beautifully.” COVID-19 might be a bad hand, and it won’t be your last bad hand, but I challenge you to play this hand beautifully, with gratitude.
Go shine some light,