Observations from a Pandemic

The Corona Virus pandemic isn’t slowing down, but mentally I’ve emerged from hibernation. It hit hard in April of 2020, and now it’s October. That is how long it took for me to emerge from the haze of feeling mentally unsettled.

So what conclusions do I have at this point? Not about COVID-19, but rather what is going on for me and others.

The Fog

A lot of us started working from home when COVID hit hard. While many people have said they are more productive, they also realize they are burning out.

If you aren’t used to working from home, it is very easy to do this. Add in the stress of a pandemic disrupting your life, and you’ve got a recipe for burn out, among other issues.

I relate this to working outdoors in a fog. It might be exciting at first since it doesn’t happen often, but eventually, it becomes clear that I’m working harder than I need. The fog is making me work a little harder to stay focused. The novelty of the fog eventually wears off and is replaced with exhaustion.

All of us feel this fog for different amounts of time, impacting us in different ways.

All Bets Are Off

Honestly, that headline should be enough. COVID-19 was a slap in the face for me and many others.

Suddenly my ability to stay employed is at risk because my company is struggling to adapt. This is the nature of things, but it isn’t common to see this highlighted so sharply.

So, I decided who I’d rely on. Would I bet in companies and clients to adapt quicker than me? No, I’m going to bet on myself. I launched my business, and now I’m launching another.

The world of working for companies and clients will always exist, but watching how they are struggling shows me how tenuous things can be if I’m going to bet my family’s food and shelter on their adaptability.

Just Getting By

Take both of these two concepts and mash them together, and you get a lot of groups and people operating in survival mode. This is fascinating to watch and experience for myself.

My clients recognize a deep and pronounced need to do things differently. Some see the opportunity right in front of them. But like a child who desperately wants to swim but is terrified to jump in, I’m watching otherwise bold leaders freeze.

I often tell clients that you’ll know a change is sticking if people stay with it even when there is a crisis. I’m watching companies live between these two realities of realizing they have to change, but doing what they’ve always done to weather the storm.

When I’m consulting, this presents a slight pickle, but it means I need to make the change even smaller in practical terms.

Sometimes the most that mean is putting a different version of something in a slide deck everyone typically uses.

We’re Not Done

I’m not writing this because I believe the pandemic is coming to a close. I’m writing because I’ve gone through this cycle myself, and now I’m looking at what is happening around me a little more clearly.

My clients need grace and a reminder that we can take steps even if they feel so small. I have to remind myself about what options and opportunities exist for me. Finally, I need to remember we all are going through this fog and feeling tired and uncertain.