“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” ~ The Crisis, Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
There is nothing new about the presence of a crisis. Humankind’s lack of animal instinct imposes trial and error as our preferred methodology for progress. Right now, it’s time to do an internal inventory. As difficult as things are, there are some very basic responsibilities we all need to assume rather quickly.
The first is leadership for our families, our clients and our neighborhoods. Be a good example for those around you. Even in times of social distancing, it is possible to reach out with a few words of encouragement, some gestures of compassion and, when appropriate, instruction. While our leadership in government struggles to find solutions at a national level to the crisis of our time, we at a local level must engage in our own effort to properly orient and adjust to the new realities as they develop.
Communicating with those you you trust is important. Be both teacher and student. There are important reserves of strength everywhere and I have seen great messaging from so many colleagues, keeping up each other’s spirits with information, humor and honesty. Likewise, communicating with your clients now is important. You must stay visible. Don’t go dark. Reach out to provide leadership, coaching, and to demonstrate the presence of a conditioned response to our circumstances. If you are in business and you want to remain there, keep a light burning in the window.
Next, in our well-intentioned communications on social media, which is nearly the only mass two-way social medium available to us presently, we are too often interrupted by those whose desire for an argument seriously outweighs their capacity for judgement. What is the point of giving a forum to those who find an angry word salad fulfilling? Those who argue with little control or discretion need to be let go. They contribute little and they take away much of the well-being you need right now. I’m am not dismissing the need for discussion or alternative points of view, but undisciplined language and socially unacceptable ways of addressing each other simply are not productive. If you are attacked, turn off the offender and save a little bit of your spirit for more important matters.
Finally, take care of yourself. Get outside when you can, get some exercise and fresh air. Play with your animals. Learn a new language. Stay informed but turn off the 24 hour news cycle for some portion of each day. Dig up those books on meditation and mindfulness you have been meaning to read, and give them a dusting.
I have been publishing materials you can share on your own social media platforms on TRO’s Facebook page and on my own personal profile. We will also periodically publish suggested communications you can modify and use with your clients.
Dig deep into your soul and tap into your personal reserves. Fall back on the heroes you have accumulated in your reading and study. Remember, you are the product of 50,000 years of human evolution, of tens of thousands of years of survival. There are skill sets you will want to bring out of the closet now and put to use.
Hang tight, friends, hang tight.