I think most, if not all of us, would say this is the most chaotic time in our lifetimes. The interruption to our daily lives, businesses, etc is unprecedented. So, a legitimate question would be, are you really going to Run to Chaos now? My wife had a really good and important answer…
We have been taking a long walk every day to make sure we get some fresh air and exercise. It truly has been one of the highlights of our day. Doing it in the morning has tended to start our day off on a strong note. Even if it has been a bit cold, we simply put on another layer and keep going…
We were on our daily walk this morning and as you can imagine, almost everyone was practicing social distancing and really not even looking at each other. Towards the end of our walk, one man said, “Good Morning” and it was so refreshing. We immediately started saying good morning to people we passed and you could see their expressions change immediately. There was one elderly gentleman walking his dog and he just lit up when we said good morning. It really made us feel better and we could see the smiles on others’ faces too.
Prior to the gentleman saying “Good Morning” to us, we noticed no one looks at each other at all. In fact they do all they can to avoid looking at someone else. I have to admit that at times I too have been guilty of that this week in particular.
This is a battle, a war, etc — pick your own description—no question. And it is very serious indeed. We absolutely all need to take all of the precautions that we have been told to take. Yet, I would suggest, we also have to be careful not to lose our connections as a society, our humanity. More than ever, I believe we need some kind of connection with others. Whether that is a greeting when you are on a walk, in a store, etc., or an email, text, or call to a friend you have not communicated with for a while, we need to take some time to maintain our relationships and our humanity.
Most people are working from home now. For some this is a new experience. Whether it is new for you or not, one of the risks is that we lose the “connectedness” with our fellow employees/teammates. One company I talked with the other day has implemented 9:00 am coffee hours and 5:00 pm happy hours every day. They are using one of the popular video conferencing tools available to make sure everyone connects and talks with each other. The conversations are mostly business, but they are also updating each other on their friends, families, etc. They might talk about how to help a customer solve a problem, etc. They are staying connected. And they are finding that these sessions are facilitating broader idea exchanges than normally occurred in the office. And people are all making sure any changes that need to be made are made more effectively. These coffee hours and happy hours are an attempt to replicate the informal and important discussions that occur multiple times every day in every office.
So my suggested Run to Chaos “to do” today is to greet your neighbors or people on the street or in the store. We can and should keep our distance and practice all of the appropriate precautions. But let’s also emphasize our humanity and greet one another. Lets find new and improved ways to stay connected at work — maybe your company needs coffee hours and happy hours! These are incredibly stressful times. We can see it on our own faces and that of others. Stay connected with friends, family, co-workers, and even people you see out and about. If you see a Health Care worker, thank them. When you go to the store or the pharmacy, thank the people working there so we can get the things we need. Thank the people stocking the shelves, working at the checkout, etc. A simple, sincere “Good Morning” helped brighten our day. I’ll bet it will brighten yours too and to whoever you greet. I think in these strange and stressful times, it is more important than ever to emphasize our humanity and acknowledge we are all in this together. In my opinion, that is the way to Run to Chaos during this crisis. Good Morning!!