Listen to the audio version of this post here.
You hear people talking about lemons and lemonade … rainbows in the aftermath of a storm … and the search for the silver lining.
I’m on board with the effort to look at the bright side when things are bleak. I always say it’s in my blood. (My friend and former business partner Karen Hand still laughs when I mention my blood type is, after all, B-positive.)
And … I have to tell you; I’m having a hard time with this one. Seems like there are a lot of lemons right now. And precious little lemonade.
For some of us, the pandemic has already taken a devastating personal toll. We’re sick ourselves, or we’ve lost a family member or a friend.
Some of us are nervously working on the front lines, risking our own health and our families’ well-being to continue caring for sick people who are or may be contagious.
Others grapple with financial fall-out. Our businesses have cratered as clients cancel engagements and everyone hunkers down. Our jobs are eliminated—our work is deemed non-essential. Our kids—or our parents—need money that depletes our rainy-day funds.
And then there are the irritants, the things we sometimes mock as “first-world problems.”
Restless, frightened children at home testing our ingenuity and our patience. Appointments with dentists and chiropractors and allergists on indefinite hold. Personal services canceled because providers are closed. (It’s hard to argue that hair color is “essential” … unless you’re looking at that gray streak down the middle of your head.)
Where are we supposed to find a rose among these sharp thorns?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
There’s a reason we have so many metaphors like April showers producing May flowers. The rose, the rainbow, the silver lining … they dovetail with our lived experience. Good things do emerge from bad ones, although it often seems to take an unreasonably long time.
Whatever else may arise out of a negative experience, it’s a pretty sure bet it will become a learning experience. Yes, seeds are being planted. And watered. And nurtured.
Always, no matter how bad things are, we have what I’ve long called “another f*cking growth opportunity.”
(I’m clearly not alone in this—the Urban Dictionary has a listing for AFGO. Just in case we want to text about what we’re learning.)
So, what does growth look like for you, as we find our way through this crisis-on-so-many-fronts?
With speaking engagements canceled and consulting clients preoccupied with things other than professional development, I have plenty of free time on my calendar. Why look—it’s a silver lining!
I’m using these un-booked hours to develop skills I just haven’t spent the time to master up until now. For me, this is all about technology and especially video.
I don’t like video, I don’t want to be seen on video, I get impatient watching video. And all the experts say (over and over and over) video is a must now for consultants, advisors, coaches and yes, speakers.
Newsletters are, by all accounts, becoming passé. Although I’m certainly glad you continue to enjoy this one, I should prepare for a future that doesn’t depend on people reading. Video, they say, is becoming the preferred way to stay in touch.
Plus, with IRL events out for who-knows-how-long, virtual programs and meetings and workshops are the wave of the future.
This intention to master making and editing videos is huge for me. This is my growth opportunity.
For openers, I set up a virtual dinner party with Karen and her husband—it’s not quite like sitting at the same table, but you can see we came as close as we could on Zoom. And yes, it did help with my Video Avoidance Syndrome.
And what about you?
It might be cementing family relationships with more frequent phone calls and FaceTime.
Maybe the opportunity is regular posting on social media to maintain your business’s presence and create connections with potential customers.
That book you’ve been saying you’re going to write? This is your opportunity to sit down and put pen to paper or pixels to page.
I’ve never been known as the queen of time management. This isn’t about productivity for me. It is about growing. Developing. Making meaning out of what is otherwise feeling pretty bleak right now.
You’re probably way ahead of me. Post a comment to tell us about the growth opportunity you’re finding … or creating.