First a quote: “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” – Max De Pree
Who has not wished for things to be back to normal; to go out for dinner, attend or watch a sporting event, or go to the store without wearing a mask? Who does not want to have a gaggle of friends over to hang out for a BBQ, give a friend or loved one a warm embrace, maybe meet friends for a cold beverage after a neighborhood softball game at the park? How about going to a movie and sharing a giant tub of buttery popcorn, being able to clear your throat in public without having people scramble to distance themselves from you out of fear you are contagious?
While I never thought I would say this, I miss being on an airplane and traveling around the country without a concern for my health, or that of others. I miss shaking hands with friends, both new and old. There are a couple people in my family who long to spend an afternoon at the mall browsing from store to store… I will leave it to you to guess which family members those might be.
I do not know anyone who does not long for the pre-Covid-19 world, we now know, we took for granted. I will admit, I have said those three words myself. There are many things about the “old normal” I miss a great deal.
Having said that, I suggest that wishing things were “back to normal” is the wrong wish, and not an example of how great leaders think or act! (While leaders dream about a better future, they move well beyond simply dreaming and wishing… they take action and make things happen.)
My issues with the three-word phrase, back to normal, are with the first and third words, back and normal. I will explain:
- Leadership is about moving people and/or organizations forward, not backwards. It is about looking to the future, finding new paths forward, looking at old problems with new eyes, and seeing opportunities for improvement, growth, and advancement. It is about bringing people together, collaboration, and leading forward! Let us not go back. Let us shift our focus to moving forward!
- The second issue I have with back to normal is with the third word, normal! The normal we now crave was a long way from perfect. In fact, watch any nightly news program in recent weeks and you will see the normal we crave was, and is, filled with unsolved challenges and opportunities.
Instead of back to normal, I propose we “go forward to better.” We can do so much better than the normal we now miss. In my opinion, we are not thinking, or dreaming, nearly big enough! There is much work to be done, in our homes, churches, cities and towns, companies, and in our country, indeed, on our planet.
If you have been following me for any amount of time, you know how fortunate I have been to work with, and learn from, many great leaders in my life and career. One of those leaders worked for years in the animal protein industry. His name is Bill Rupp, he used to say:
Ladies and gentlemen; better is possible! We can do better than the normal we now desire for return. I will repeat, let us go forward to better; not back to normal as we knew it!
I have taken the liberty of modifying Max De Pree’s quote above;
organizations, or as a society, by remaining to be who we are.”
I cannot lose weight, by continuing with my current eating and exercise habits. Couples cannot grow or strengthen their marriages without both parties changing their current thinking or behaviors. Our country will not heal and move forward unless each of us, and all of us, begin to think and act differently.
Just imagine if all 7.5 billion people on this planet would each do our part to dream bigger and strive to be better every day. John Lennon was right when he wrote, and sang, Imagine.
Our friends, spouses, children, churches, companies, country, and every human being on this planet needs each of us to be our best right now! Let us all be our “best selves” this week!!
Bonus Quotes & a Personal Request for Help Below
How will you lead differently, or better, this week?
Have a safe and wonderful weekend!
Friends, pictured above is a small part of Team Gillispie.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our team has fed almost 2,000 people… homeless, hungry, veterans, medical teams, a police department and simply, the food challenged.
I am so proud to call these people friends. They are leaders! They are choosing to make a difference in the communities where they live. They are role modeling the “go forward to better” philosophy I wrote about above.
- “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
- “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” — Bill Clinton