Americans are creative and resourceful. Right now, I have no doubt there are novels being written, movies being imagined and start-ups being developed. Many individuals are using this time of uncertainty to re-assess, re-tool and re-invent themselves and their careers. I’ve talked to entrepreneurs who are filling the unexpected time they have now with online courses to improve their skills; some are refreshing their investment properties to make them more attractive for when the market rebounds.
Much too often I hear fear creeping into the minds and out of the mouths of competent, talented people: fear of lost income, fear of disease. The unknown is omnipresent. It can be crippling and it is certainly understandable. COVID-19 has become an almost invisible and murderous boogieman who doesn’t show any mercy, whether you’re on your bucket-list cruise or treating the sick.
But, leaders rise up when chaos abounds. Leaders think creatively, seek solutions, take action and inspire. Leaders, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, are worth listening to, especially when we’re in need of encouragement.
“America is America because we overcome adversity and challenges,” Cuomo reminded us, as the number of patients infected with COVID-19 soars in his state. “That’s how we were born. That’s what we’ve done all our life. We overcome challenges and this is a period of challenge for this generation. And that’s what has always made America great and that’s what is going to make this generation great. I believe that to the bottom of my soul.”
He talks about how we will look back at this time, how we’ll shed a tear for the ones we’ve lost, but also how we’ll be proud of the actions we took to take care of one another.
As Dave Engelthaler and his colleagues at TGen work overtime to understand and track the deadly virus, Engelthaler encourages us to find strength and courage in facts and science, and to think of others. “It’s important to help the less fortunate and disadvantaged,” he said. “These are the individuals who are going to be hurting without our help. We can deal with this. We’ll get through it. Most of us will get exposed, but not get really sick. Most of those who are seriously ill will survive.”
During this time of widespread illness and social distancing, I’ve learned of one retirement-age Scottsdale community creating a neighborhood pantry of sorts. On the email thread, an 80-something-year-old woman asked if anyone has extra cranberry juice. Others quickly responded by offering some up or pledging to be on the lookout when they shop for their groceries. It’s a little thing, but it’s kindness, love and time.
Pastor Joel Osteen says time is one of the most valuable commodities we have, and we have a responsibility to use our time wisely: “It’s more valuable than money. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.”
Right now, we have the opportunity to make the most of our time. We can improve our skills, reposition our businesses, seek inspiration and be kind. Perhaps 10 years from now we can look back, as Governor Cuomo imagines, and be proud of how we faced adversity together, because that’s what is going to make this generation great. FBN
By Bonnie Stevens
Bonnie Stevens is a public relations consultant. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.