By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Dean, School of Business, American Public University
We are in the midst of one of the most uncertain times in history. We have never experienced what has become the new norm across the world. We are living through a pandemic health crisis that involves more than just our family, friends and confidants. With more than one million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide, our current lifestyle is uncertain and scary.
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However, I have always been an optimist. I believe there will be a bright light at the end of the tunnel. While our current time may be frightening as we await the end of the crisis, challenge yourself to use this time wisely.
What do I mean by “use this time wisely”?
We Will Never Go Back to the Way Things Used to Be After This Pandemic
I do not believe that we will ever go back to the way things used to be. Why? Because too much has happened. Lives will be changed as a result of what is currently transpiring (i.e., deaths, massive job layoffs, closed and failed businesses).
When we finally emerge from this calamity, businesses will open that did not exist before because we did not see a need for them. These might include businesses similar to temp agencies but focused on supplying and managing remote workers.
In addition, traditional businesses that provided coronavirus-based products, like GM making ventilators, may find new and lucrative lines of business. Also, I believe that smart entrepreneurs and savvy government leaders will start to think of contingency plans in a different light.
Therefore, let’s use this time wisely to think about how you and your family will transition to a new norm of living when this crisis is over. Will you continue to spend quality time with your family once the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted?
Do you see the value of being a part of your children’s development by actively participating in their education once they return to school?
Are you ready to partner with your school system to ensure that your children develop into well-rounded adults, so that our country will continue to be productive?
Will organizations develop the ability to “see” things beyond what is in front of them? Is this a time when entrepreneurs and small business owners rise to create niches that are effective and innovative of the “shift” in our new way of living?
During This Deadly Pandemic, Let’s Challenge Ourselves to Have a Sense of Hope
We may not like what is occurring, but let’s not focus on the bad. During this period, let’s challenge ourselves to have a sense of hope and assess some of the positive things that have occurred in our lifetime.
Many of us may be experiencing things we never imagined we would have the time to appreciate. Some of us may be seeing events and people in a different light. Are there situations that have occurred to make you grow as a person? How have you changed during the past few devastating months?
When the quarantine started, I, too, was uncertain of where we were headed as a country. Despite some of the confusion at the beginning, I saw some real leaders rise at state and local levels, including the governors of California, New York and Illinois. They were individuals who responded to the challenge when chaos occurred. Not all “leaders” can do that!
I also felt as though my life was becoming more organized and simplified. Instead of multi-tasking and over-committing, I found myself saying, “Hold up!”
I wanted to regain control of my life despite the uncertainty, and think about, what’s next? How will I land on my feet once the storm has passed? When you have quiet time to think, ideas and plans will start to evolve in your head. Thoughts can become a reality if you write them down and begin to create paths that will make your dreams a reality.
President Trump says the next two weeks will be very painful. So stay focused, and be safe! Use the time wisely by doing what we are told to do. Being in isolation is new for us. Think of this pandemic as a time to reflect on your life and what you want it to be like when you emerge on the other side of the crisis.
Have a plan. What will it look like for you? How will you interpret the events of your life during this pandemic? Do you have a plan to turn what seems like massive devastation into restoration and re-creation? Embrace the new!
About the Author
Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist, and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.
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