As global citizens, we are communally responding to the coronavirus pandemic — but we are doing it in a variety of ways.
Some of us are frozen by fear of the unknown…fear of the radical changes in our daily habits…fear for ourselves, others, and our community.
But fear can only grow through the continuous repetition of negative self-talk that emphasizes the “what ifs,” the “if thens,” and the belief that we are incapable of effectively responding to these challenges.
Yes, we would like that this pandemic miraculously disappears. We pray that the number of fatalities subsides. We mourn for the destruction of our routines and daily lives. And we recognize that the world has been transformationally changed as a result of this virus — even though we can only speculate as to what will replace it.
It’s no wonder that many of us “tune out” the warnings, disregard the recommendations, and blindly attempt to conduct “business as usual.”
But this is not “business as usual.”
To overcome fear, we must shift our focus. While I do not recommend putting a “happy face” on our very real emotions, I do recommend that we take an objective look at what is causing our stress and grief:
- Are we faced with financial difficulties arising from salary reductions or decreased hours?
- Are we fearful that our current health (and that of our loved ones) will be compromised some time in the future?
- Do we feel ill informed and frustrated by the rapidly changing statistics, projections, and recommendations on a daily basis?
In all of these situations, we are trying to develop a new set of habits. A new routine. A new way of living our daily lives.
In other words, we are faced with profound changes on an individual, professional, and global basis.
Ignoring the current realities does not remove them.
As we face what might be one of the biggest challenges in our lifetimes, we need to focus on what we can control — and in this (like any other situation), we can only control ourselves and our responses to this external stressor.
We must decide to continue to enjoy each moment of our lives. We must recognize that nothing is permanent: life is not permanent and neither is the coronavirus epidemic.
Courage is, therefore, a decision. We can pull through this. We not only have to, but we want to…we need to. And in so doing, we can unleash the creative human potential that exists in each one of us.
- We can become aware of our roles as citizens of a global community.
- We can help others where we can.
- We can search for ways in which we can be kind to one another.
- And we can use this time for much needed self-reflection on what we want the legacy of our lives to be.
We can consciously address our fears and transform them into the courage we need to move forward to combat this pandemic. We know that the coronavirus (like everything else in life) is impermanent. This too shall pass — but how it will affect us will be determined by how we respond to it.
The coronavirus is not only a referendum on organizational leadership, but it is also a “pause” for us to individually question the nature of our current lives. Life as we know it is bound to change as a result of this pandemic. Old paradigms about the “nature of things” will be replaced. We are uniquely positioned to make a profound difference in the world in which we live.
By objectively addressing our fears and harnessing our innate courage, we can boldly move forward toward the lives and legacies that we envision.
I hope and pray that you are safe, healthy, and courageous as we combat this global pandemic.
© 2020 Dr. Geri Puleo