11th March 2020. A day that will go down in the history books. The World Health Organisation led by Ethiopian CEO Tedros Adhanom declared the outbreak of covid-19 a global pandemic. So as we plan for a post-pandemic world, what are the key learnings that we need to be mindful of, both individually and collectively that will enable us to prosper for the long term moving forward. Let's take a look.
The world is 12 months on, and some would say it’s changed forever whilst others say that if you zoom out on your timeline, this is just a temporary moment in time. A partial backward step before another several decades of positivity. Regardless of the devastation and scars both physical, psychological and economical that covid-19 leaves, one thing is clear. In all of human history whenever there has been times of sadness and difficulty the world has rebounded stronger than ever. This is at the very core of humanity and human behaviour and desire to succeed and do well and live a good life.
Pandemic Learnings – The Collective Ones
The most important thing we as a collective have learnt from Covid-19 is how much damage may be done by a relatively mild pandemic by long-term historical standards. To call it mild is not to belittle the suffering it has caused, and may continue to cause, but Covid-19 has demonstrated a social and economic vulnerability far greater than experts imagined
In a global culture where it is widely regarded in almost every context that “prevention is cheaper than the cure”, there has never been a bigger wake up call for policy and governmental leaders to take ACTION NOW to prevent future viruses from having such a substantial impact.
Pandemic Learnings – The Individual Ones
Very few people on the planet can say they haven’t been affected at all by the impact of Covid-19. Whether it be the virus itself and the impact on health or the side effects of the governmental lockdowns that have occurred. Everyone’s individual learnings are very personal to them.
If you have suffered with your mental health, your waist line, your social skills, its ok to not be ok right now. But remember, however long the impact is it’s only temporary and one day it will be ok again. A famous line in Rocky says “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward”. Every single individual has been hit during the pandemic, but it’s time now to dust yourself down, get up, take action and start the healing process.
In a few months’ time the world is likely to “wake-up”. When everyone wakes up you can become part of that collective. Or, you can make a start now to put good things in place in your life and you can gain a strategic advantage! Whether it be a health goal, a career goal, a hobby goal or something else. Start today and reap the rewards before the world wakes up.
Pandemic Learnings – The Technological Ones
Tech companies have thrived during lockdown. The world scrambled for technology as we went into lockdown. Many people have embraced this, and others are craving social interaction. The idealistic norm is that a hybrid model will kick in over the next 12 months which will encourage some remote working and some in person working.
When I coach graduates I always remind them. A key way to progress in your professional career is to be able to type fast and master excel and PowerPoint. In a lot of professionals these skills can really help you do things quickly and to a high standard and create capacity to take on additional opportunities.
The tech learnings show that now taking a zoom mastery course or being able to present freely online and build relationships is essential. Often people say, “well it’s so much easier to build relationships over the coffee machine”, or “the sad thing is that when we aren’t in person we don’t get those little informal moments before or after a meeting that make progress”. Well let me highlight this, 90% of people are absolutely right, because in person it is easier to do this. But you can do this online if you learn how. So get to learning and remember whether you’re in person or online, don’t fall into the excuses that it’s easier the other way because this is where your competitors will streak ahead of you.
Finally, remember, the world has been on a globalisation trajectory for the best part of 30 years. It is very likely that this power will return, so if your company has said remote working full time will be in place forever, remember, can your skills be done cheaper by someone else on the planet? If so, remember you need to continue to add value because if remote working remains then redundancies will increase in the western world, that is an absolute certainty.
Pandemic Learnings – The Wellness Ones
You cannot achieve your potential if you are not healthy.
You cannot achieve fulfilment if you do not achieve your potential.
It’s time to take care of your physical and mental health. The world has never given such a wake up call to people within our lifetime that this is important. Speak to friends. Go for walks. Eat nutritious food. Plan rewards. Plan breaks. All very basic things yet often we forget. Many times when I speak to clients I ask how things are and in the UK especially they answer with. “Busy!”.
Here’s a challenge. Ban yourself from telling people you are busy for 30 days and see how it feels. It has a wrath of negative connotations including not allowing yourself time for you, not being on top of your work, being overwhelmed. Let me be very clear, being busy is not good and yet we have a generation or two that believes if they say they are busy that they are important. It’s time for a reset. Scrap the busy and prioritise you!
Pandemic Learnings – The Most Important Ones
From my perspective the most important learning is the most personal one of all. I want anyone reading this article to remember where they were around March 2020 when the news of the global pandemic broke.
What did your life look like in comparison to now. If your life has taken a backwards step or a side step that’s ok. But now is the time to put things right. For me, my biggest learning is that I am the definition of a “people person”. People are my fuel and without that my value is diminished. Whilst I partially knew this before, now I know it as fact and that is my biggest pandemic learning. So what will I do? When allowed, I promise myself to make the best of all of my relationships, with friends, with family, with my team, with clients, with strangers, whoever it might be I know that each individual can give me fuel to fulfilment, and I will nurture that with complete commitment and authenticity.
What will you do to make sure that you learn from the pandemic experience and use those learnings to enrich the rest of your life?
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