First a quote: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford
I suspect most of us secretly wish life was easy, smooth, and free of problems and challenges. Who doesn’t wish the last two years never happened, or at least everything bad associated with the pandemic and other ugly events in our world?
Clearly, there is still much to be learned about predicting and preventing future pandemics and the rapid spread of disease. And yet, we have learned much from the past two years, not only about pandemics, but so much more. I would like your help in generating a list of positive things learned over the last 30 months.
I invite you to post or respond with something you have experienced and learned over the past two years? What has your team, department, or function learned to do better, or to do differently, since January of 2020? What are your insights and observations?
I’ll go first with a couple of ideas:
We have learned many jobs can be done effectively and remotely from anywhere in the world. I’ve mentioned this before: during the pandemic I employed a person from the Philippines to create Power Point presentations for me with excellent results. Because of the difference in times zones, I could request changes in the evening and have them completed before the start of my day the following morning. We’ve never met in person.
At the Bryan Yager Group, we believe many, if not most, leadership and team development workshops continue to be most effective when facilitated live and in-person. However, we have also learned how to maximize learning events virtually when necessary. I’m now able to facilitate learning events, on a variety of topics, without ever leaving the comfort of home. I’m also able to reach markets I have not traditionally or typically served.
What examples do you have? Please post an example or two from your experience, observations, and/or line of work; what have you learned and applied over the past two years?
My point this morning: resistance, problems, and setbacks can strengthen us for the challenges that most certainly lie ahead in our careers and lives. According to research I have seen, COVID-19 isn’t likely be the last virus we’ll fight in the years ahead.
I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind, Well I’m older now and still runnin’…
Against the wind… Against the wind… Against the wind…
– Bob Seger
Here are a few additional thoughts to ponder as you reflect on the lessons you have learned over the past two years:
- On takeoff, airplanes get more “lift” by flying into the wind, not with the wind. Resistance can be a positive thing; it can elevate our thinking to new to levels of experience and understanding.
- Muscles grow stronger through resistance training. When we lift weights properly, our muscles are stretched and even suffer microscopic tears. It is the repair and recovery from those tears that increases strength and muscle mass. Muscles grow and strengthen under pressure.
- Broken bones heal stronger. Much like muscles, bones also grow and strengthen under pressure. It is believed that broken bones heal stronger at the break point than prior to the injury.
- Strong winds grow stronger trees. Oak trees that survive strong winds and ice storms grow stronger through the years. It is also true that strong trees become brittle when they lose their ability to flex and bend with the wind.
- Vaccines strengthen our immune system. While this is an oversimplification, vaccines help grow, strengthen, and expand our immune systems by introducing small amounts of harmful pathogens into our bodies. Our bodies then go to work building a stronger defense system against those same viruses, to protect us from them.
- Kites fly higher in stronger winds. Like airplanes, kites soar to greater heights against stronger winds.
I have often used our education process as a metaphor of sorts. Ideally, preschool prepares our children for kindergarten, kindergarten prepares them for elementary school, then middle school, high school, etc., you get the point. If we’re looking for lessons learned, one set of experiences can prepare us for the next set. I propose the same is true for most of our life experiences.
In what ways have you grown stronger from your life experiences?
This might be a good time to reflect upon all that we have learned and intentionally apply those lessons in all aspects of our jobs, careers, and lives. In what ways have you become stronger and more prepared for the future?
How will you live, love, or lead, differently, or better, this week?
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”