There are times in a person’s life where resilience is tested. As I reflect upon this pandemic, I feel hopeful. I say this because time and time again, we Americans have risen to challenges such as natural disasters, 9/11, the Great Depression, rationing during wars, etc. I remember the extraordinary story of people forming a human chain into the ocean to rescue someone drowning. I remember how I was assisted after Hurricane Katrina and we recently saw volunteers lined up in Nashville to assist tornado victims. One of my city leaders said, “We have to face this with storm coming mentality. That’s when we check on our neighbors and make sure they have a plan, especially elderly neighbors. Let’s make sure they have groceries or whatever they need to stay home and stay safe.” I love this sentiment- that in a crisis, we band together where the fate of us all matters more than the individual. Surrender the ME to WE!
In wars, natural disasters, or pandemics, we are called upon to be our best selves. It’s time for you to ask the question, “How can I be my best self in this pandemic?” Staying calm and collected is important. Anxiety about the future just inflames your immune system. Live in the present. The past is done, the future cannot be controlled, but the present is the state in which to live and appreciate the little things. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Preparation is important in a possible quarantine situation. Yes, buy groceries for a couple of weeks, but don’t hoard. I know someone who was worried about families who don’t have childcare, and she decided that she would volunteer to babysit. How generous, she will make a difference and leave this world a better place.
Psychologist Gretchen Schmelzer wrote, “For most people worldwide, this virus is not about you. This is one of those times in life when your actions are about something greater, a greater good that you may never witness. A person you will save who you will never meet. This isn’t like other illnesses and we don’t get to act like it is. It’s more contagious, it’s more fatal—and most importantly, even if manageable, it can’t be managed at a massive scale anywhere. We need this to move slowly enough for our medical systems to hold the very ill so that all can be cared for. There is still cancer, heart attacks, car accidents and complicated births. We need to be responsible because medical systems are made up of people and these amazing healthcare workers are a precious and limited resource. They will rise to this occasion and work to help you heal. They will work to save your mother, father, sibling, grandparent or baby. For that to happen, we have important work to do. Yes, you need to wash your hands, stay home if you are sick and comply with all social distancing rules. But the biggest work you can do is to expand your heart and your mind to see yourself and your family as part of a much bigger community that can have a massive impact on the lives of other people.”
I’ve already seen amazing stories happening- the patron who left a $3,000 tip at a restaurant for workers to split, people delivering groceries to those in need, stores dedicating hours for elderly shopping and many more. Let’s share these stories to encourage others. Imagine if we can make our response to this crisis our finest hour. Hopefully, we can look back and tell stories of how we came together as a team in our community, our state, our nation and across the world. Your contribution to the finest hour may seem small—but every small act of kindness adds up exponentially to save lives.
At MRO, we have an incredible team and a culture we’re so proud of. I recently shared with our team, that if they start to feel stressed, take a deep breath and practice mindfulness. One thing that always works for me is to name 5 things for which I’m grateful for right in this moment. It eases your anxiety. Rely only upon reputable sources for information. Unplug for a while to de-stress. Now is a great time to journal your daily thoughts. You’ll appreciate reading them in the future.