Do you remember where you were when the world stopped spinning the way it was supposed to? Can you recall the exact moment when the very things we take for granted—say, hugging a family member or best friend—seemed like the wrong move?
This is the world in 2020. I am not here to remind you that life—and everything you do, everyone you know and love, all of it—has changed. You already know that. You are living it. We all are. If you are like me, in those fleeting moments when you reflect on just how simple things used to be, you probably ask yourself why. Why us? Why now? Just why?
There are no easy answers. That notion is as easy and as complicated as that. I mean, what do you do when you are not sure what your next move is?
I believe you start by looking beyond the questions with no answers. I believe you take a deep dive into the impossible and try to get to the other side with what is possible. The examples are everywhere, being done by decent, hardworking people who have decided, in this moment, to reach out and make the impossible, possible.
- Lidl uses food truck for deliveries to seniors.
- Chick-fil-A puts hand-washing stations in all eateries.
- Hy-Vee joins H-E-B in online service expansion.
- Stop & Shop feeds front-line healthcare workers.
- Kroger tests one-way aisles to aid with social distancing.
- Coopers Beach in The Hamptons offers a live feed to virtually hang out by its placid waters.
- A series of live cameras in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area enable you to experience its scenic surf or airboat-lined Everglades.
- A human flood of healthcare workers from all over the world (my sister-in law included) volunteer to walk into the fire, instead of asking why.
Right now, each of you reading this are part of a community of professionals who are helping as much as they have been hurt. There are scores of small retailers that continue to serve customers while respecting the social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines. They are offering curbside pickup, sending photos of items to customers and allowing online payments. They are working as hard for your survival as they are theirs.
In Bothell, Washington, a company used a virtual inspection via FaceTime and notes to enable a building inspector to issue a certificate, allowing a recently completed Starbucks to open and help serve the surrounding community. In the heart of New York City, in ground zero of the infection rate, a local optometry practice runs a lean staff to help take care of its customers.
These stories are everywhere. When the bottom fell out of our cultural and business lifelines, we had two choices: give in or push forward. The smart money is on pushing forward. None of us can make up for the choices, decisions and circumstances that took us to this place, this moment. All we can do is make the best of what we can, reaching out and grabbing hold of whomever and whatever we can until the storm passes.
Remember, although I know it is hard, that this is just a storm—one that seems unrelenting and unconquerable in one moment, but able to deliver the best of us in the next.
That is where I choose to stand. The choices we make in times of peril are the ones we live with long after the peril passes.
It might be good to remember that when it is your turn to step up.