Covid 19 was a chapter in everyone’s life story. Some have suffered more than others. But no one in the world escaped the pandemic in one way or another from knowing people who had it or worse dies from it to work conditions changes to home isolations, we all lived through it. But did we take the time to incorporate it into our life story? What is the role of this experience in our overall journey? What did we take from it to live better moving forward?
It is easier to write a chapter about a dream that was turned into an achievement. From the beginning you were the hero of the story and could very easily identify the efforts you took to fulfill the dream. The reason is simple, you felt in control throughout the whole process. You initiated the dream, you put the efforts, you chose to make the sacrifices and hopefully you completed it successfully. But what happens when life happens unexpectedly. In the famous words of John Lennon life is what happens when you make plans. No one planned for Covid 19. No one expected the massive disruption to the world because of it. The starting point of this story is victimhood. We all started as victims.
In fact, when we examine the Covid 19 impact we realize that humanity suffered a major distribution to an underlying belief. Our lives were based on the belief that experts and authorities will save us when we run out to knowledge and resources. We subconsciously counted on medical authorities, legal authorities, academic authorities, religious authorities to guide us in the land of the unknow and unexpected. They were the sources we counted on to handle life unexpected nature. Then came covid 19 and they all responded in the same exact way: “I don’t know”. None of our traditional authorities were ready or knowledgeable about the pandemic. They were helpless and started to look for answers. As a result, all of us as humanity as a whole and individuals suffered an extreme helplessness. We lost a foundation of our life in the form of trust in authorities and experts that were supposed to guide us and make life understood when we could not comprehend it ourselves. Not only the physical restrictions and the removal from loved ones. But the more mental loss of authorities that left us exposed and in an extreme victimhood state.
Yet, while we have seen significant growth in drug and alcohol consumption, we witnessed something else. Early on we have seen 5 stars hotels opening their doors free of charge to homeless in New York and elsewhere. We have seen restaurants giving away food for the needy. We have seen volunteers everywhere helping the elderly. We have witnessed companies despite the difficulties joining forces to find solutions and invent medicine. We have seen humanity in some of it most beautiful states helping each other and caring. So, was Covid 19 a story of victimhood or of heroism? It was a story of choice.
A choice that individuals and organizations and societies made to elevate above the victimhood. To use the victimhood as a catalysis to rise to the better version of themselves and discover, in some case, resilience and creativity they didn’t know existed within them. They chose not to be victims even in the shadow of a global phenomenon that rendered every one of us helpless and incapable of solving the whole problem. We chose to focus on the power we do have. We converted our helplessness into empowerment. When the opportunity presented itself, we discovered the skills that allowed us to make an impact.
What is your Covid Chapter?
Imagine you sit down with your grandchildren who have not experienced Covid, and they only read about it. What would you tell them? What will be the story you will share? Let’s develop that story together
Chapter one – the unexpected is emerging – Many of us saw it first a remote story evolving elsewhere. It took some time to realize that it is coming near and will impact my close friends. Even as it did come closer, “It will not happen to me” affected many who resisted the suggested measure of washing hands and wearing masks.
· As you have heard about Covid starting to spread from China to the world in early January 2020, where were you?
· What did you think about the threat?
· What was your initial reaction?
· Did you take any actions?
Chapter 2 – Its hitting home – You then heard about a person you know who is in a hospital or even died from it. Now it feels that this is no longer a problem far away. It is here. Its hitting home. Yet the medical experts have no real way of treating it. No medicine exists and a vaccine is years away.
· How did you feel that this point?
· As you have seen the authorities struggling and the fact that there is no magic medicine, how did affect your confidence?
· What fears or anxieties did you experience?
· How did you cope with the fear and anxiety?
Chapter 3 – Stuck at home – For the first time in our lives we hear about governments mandate stay at home. We are required to avoid human contact. Hugs are considered dangerous. Handshakes are risky. We wash our hands constantly. A concept you grandchildren will struggle to comprehend.
· How did it make you feel?
· Whose hug did you miss?
· What place you were eager to go to and couldn’t?
· What replacements did you find to connect with loved ones?
· What Netflix shows did you binge on?
· What home redecorating did you do during that time?
Chapter 4 – Must do something – You are working with Zoom and can’t see your colleagues. Misunderstanding is rising. Everyone can miss on a moments’ notice due to catching Covid or needing to help a loved one who got it. The staying at home is starting to take a tool. You are becoming anxious to act. Passivity is not your cup of tea. Staying at home for that long becomes painful. Totally zoomed out you need to do something. You need to feel helpful, useful, something.
· What toll did this new situation took?
· What did you do?
· Who did you help?
· Did you volunteer somewhere?
Chapter 5 – emerging a hero – somewhere during the process you started to refuse to be a victim and started to discover new capabilities. Decided to take on a new hobby learning how to cook new things. Learning a new language. What did you do? When was the moment when you said enough is enough when was the paint you decided to stop being a victim? What power did you discover?
Chapter 6 – my special superpower – as you emerge from the passive nature of a victim and try to act, you discover your superpower. Maybe it is listening to others. Or baking cookies to playing a guitar on the porch to entertain others.
· What was your superpower?
· How did you feel discovering it?
· How did others respond to it?
· What impact did you make on others when you sued your superpower?
· How did you enhance and perfected the superpower?
Chapter 7 – Lesson and growth – as your superpower activated and you were no longer a victim, you converted helplessness into empowerment. A passive story becomes a milestone in your life. A story to tell.
· what did you learn about yourself?
· What growth did you experience?
· How did it affect you in the long run?
· Did you make some life altering decisions?
For all of us crisis is a test of our values. We may claim we are someone, but until this value is being tested in real life, it is merely an intention. Only a true test can validate if we are the people of values, we claim we are. What values of yours did you live during the pandemic? Which values you did manage to live by? How would you react differently tomorrow?
Yesterday’s Lessons – Tomorrow’s empowerment
Turning covid into your life chapter is empowerment for the future. The need to rise from victimhood of the unknown to heroes of the present using our unique superpower is chapter we need to write, learn, and repeat. The more we do so on the life journey, the better and faster our emergence from victimhood to heroism will take place. It is a process of practice learning to address the shock of the unexpected early and fast and reach out to our toolbox which includes our superpower and our past experiences to rise to the hero role we were meant to play in that moment.
How proud would you be of the story you tell your children?
What lessons would you share with your grandchildren?