Two weeks ago, something happened that shook my world.
It was Tuesday around 4 pm and I took my kids up to a nearby empty school. We brought the scooters and bikes along and the kids had a blast playing catch and chasing after each other around the empty buildings.
As I stood there, watching my kids enjoy themselves and giggling, I felt huge gratitude come over me… Gratitude for having 3 healthy kids, gratitude for being stretched in a million different ways each day and growing strength and resilience through it, and gratitude for the deep love I felt for them.
Five more minutes went by and I all of the sudden realized that it was dinner time and hat we should head back home. The kids grabbed their scooters and raced off.
Right outside the school is a steep road down to the neighborhood street and I knew we had to slowly walk down that road as it was way too steep for my little ones (or anyone as a matter of fact) to scoot. But as I was running after the kids telling them to stop, I saw my 3-year old speed up and head towards the road. I got nervous and yelled “Stop” but she froze. She kept on riding her scooter and before she knew it, she was going down that steep road… and she completely froze. She screamed and so did I.
But she was way faster than I could run and in my mind, I foresaw the danger of her riding straight into that street where cars would not be able to see her coming.
I was scared for her life. My heart dropped and my world stopped.
A few seconds later and about 20 feet before the crossing, she let go of her handlebar and fell off the scooter. She tumbled over and over and her helmet cracked into pieces… but I was relieved. The worst-case scenario was prevented.
I picked her up.
She was bleeding, had a big bump on her head, and scratches all over but nothing was broken. I grabbed my other two kids and we walked home as fast as we could.
At this moment, I realized how quickly our worlds can change and how precious our days are.
As I sat on the couch later that night, I reflected on the accident and on what’s happening in the world right now.
Yes, we’re stuck at home. Yes, this isn’t easy, Yes, struggling financially, struggling mentally, or even struggling physically is hard.
And we didn’t see any of this coming. It was unexpected and within days our worlds shifted.
What we took for granted just a few weeks prior, is no longer a possibility. What we believed to be secure, no longer is.
But despite all the pain and hardship this crisis created (and I’m not neglecting any of that!), it’s also making us stronger. It’s providing new perspectives and it’s offering new opportunities.
So let me ask you… what are those for you?
- What did you learn about yourself during the past 2 months?
- What became more clear to you during the past 2 months?
…And what changed for you as a leader?
- How did you get to know your team in new ways?
- What did you change about the way you lead?
- What do you know now about your team or your work that you didn’t know 2 months ago?
And… what’s that bullet point that you’ll want to add to your resume about how you led your team during the COVID-19 crisis? Even if you’re still working on assumptions, what would you like it to read?
- “Retained all employees on my team throughout the COVID-19 crisis despite [x]”
- “Managed a 40% increase workload due to a team size reduction of [x] during the COVID-19 crisis”
- “Improved employee engagement amid COVID-19 due to increased communication, personal care, and [x]”
And what stories do you want to tell yourself and others about how this crisis has shaped you as a leader? How you demonstrated resilience, change management, or adaptability? How you handled uncertainty and stress?
I invite you to pause for a moment RIGHT NOW and to reflect on this. Maybe even take a couple of notes.
Because what you’re learning now should not be forgotten. Capture the lessons, principles, and insights. Don’t waste this crisis – it won’t be the last one.
Remember… choices make us, crises reveal us.
Lastly… in a few words, how do you choose to show up for your team this week?
Mine are HOPEFUL, GRATEFUL, and INSPIRED.