This past week I heard a pop psychologist on a talk show say that this pandemic is not happening “to” you, it is happening “for” you. As a result, a useful question is: “What am I learning about myself from this experience?”
I am usually a cynic when it comes to Dr. Phil media types dispensing self-help advice on the airwaves. However, the statement that this is happening “for” you, along with the follow-up question “What am I learning about myself” kept coming back to me all week.
I am learning the great extent to which I get my energy from live, in-person interactions. I am learning how much I appreciate my wife and kids as we spend time doing house projects, exercising the dogs and simply hanging out in the back yard sharing our mundane daily experiences. These live interactions have been so energizing!
At the same time:
- I am learning that the virtual zoom game nights, the living room concerts from my favorite bands and the exercise videos are all just OK. For me, they are an interim, mildly amusing form of interaction.
- I am learning that having your favorite restaurant owner run out to your car and throw a bag of food into your back seat, is not nearly as rewarding as being welcomed at the door as your about to enjoy a leisurely meal.
- I am learning that it is ten times more difficult to design and deliver work-based virtual team experiences that match the level of engagement and output as compared to in-person.
My positivity for the week is to stop looking for these virtual events to be more gratifying experiences than they are. Yes, I will continue to dial in and gain some good things from the virtual world. And no, I will not rush out into a crowd, abandoning social distancing.
However, I am keeping my eye on the prize. And that is the day when we can once again gather in person. And when that day comes, I will be even more aware and grateful of how amazing and inspiring it is to be together in real-time, in the same space.
And so, this pandemic is happening “for” you.
What are you learning about yourself?
Note: this blog does not reflect the views of my employer.