One Small, But Pivotal Act That Will Get Us Through This
To say that these are incredibly tense and uncertain times is a massive understatement. Stress is high. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our world.
Recently I was talking to a client that happens to be in an incredibly stressful industry given the current public health crisis. The decisions they make during this time are bigger than just marketing or finance — they could literally save or lose lives.
They, like many of us, are under intense pressure to make perfect decisions. Not only do these decisions need to be perfect — they need to be made lightning-fast, often without enough information, by a team working entirely remotely for the first time.
We’re all working in a pressure cooker.
Having transparent conversations is critical right now. It’s also uncomfortable. As you can imagine, people don’t always agree. The right information isn’t always delivered in the right format, and we may not always say the perfect thing. But these conversations make all of us better.
As the stress was mounting for both of our teams, this client said something that struck me.
“We need to be even more forgiving than ever right now.”
She reminded us all that we each handle stress differently. And we all have bigger concerns than work right now. People are scared. They’re afraid for their jobs. They’re afraid for their health and for the health of their loved ones.
Everyone reacts differently to stress, and the stress people are facing now is uniquely intense.
The lesson she shared was simple: assume that people have the best intentions. Assume we’re on the same team. Assume that we all have the same goals.
This seems so obvious. Most of us practice this in our daily lives, but we can forget it in a crisis. It was beautiful that she had the clarity and the understanding to practice this even at one of the most stressful times in her life.
Right now, we need to keep perspective. We need to be more understanding and forgiving than ever. We can’t assume the worst in each other. We can’t let that terse email or imperfect decision or brief burst of an atypical, short-tempered response color our views of each other. That will only make things worse — especially right now.
We simply need to keep reminding ourselves to forgive. To understand. To sympathize and emphasize.
Love is needed more than ever at this time, even in the work environment. At work, at home and as a country, there’s only one way we’re going to get through this — and that’s together.