As many of us approach family Thanksgiving gatherings via Zoom, I’ve been thinking about all the perspective shifts I’ve had during this year of the pandemic. I started using the phrase, “pandemic perspective shift”, a couple of months ago when I began telling friends, colleagues and clients about my upcoming move from Los Angeles to North Carolina.
Knowing how much my wife Diane and I have enjoyed our eight years in LA, the people I’ve told about the move almost always say something along the lines of, “Wow, that’s a big change. What’s driving it?” At first, I’d start listing the reasons – being closer to family, the desire to connect with and be a part of a smaller community, four seasons, cost of living. I could go on. Once I got to around ten reasons, I started summing it all up as a pandemic perspective shift.
And, of course, I’m far from the only person experiencing a perspective shift this year. Housing sales in the United States have set a new record as people reconsider what’s important to them, what their options are and where they want to be. For those of us fortunate enough to make our living mainly by talking with other people, we’ve learned this year that we don’t have to get on a plane and fly cross country for two-hour meetings. I used to do that all the time. This year, I’ve been doing individual coaching, group coaching, leadership development programs and even keynotes to 1,000 people or more via Zoom. Some of the old travel will likely return after the pandemic but I don’t think anywhere close to all of it will.
Almost all of the clients I talk with share the same observation that I do – they’re amazed by how much more they’re getting done, how much deeper their family relationships are and, in many cases, including mine, how much healthier they are from getting better sleep, diet and exercise by staying home. The pandemic perspective shift raises the question, why would I give all of that up to travel all the time when I can get so much good work done from home and still have a life in the process?
I don’t minimize the impact of the pandemic on public health, the global economy, families and individuals. It’s been a brutally disruptive year for the world and all of us who live in it. At the same time though, it’s been an impetus for many of us to think differently about how we engage in the world and the interdependence that we share. The pandemic has shown us there are no guarantees. It’s put a bright light on the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to connect; now is the time to help; now is still the time to support the local businesses who comprise the fabric of your community; now is the time to show appreciation; now is the time to take a stand. 2020 has reminded us that life is inherently uncertain. If there is good you can do, do it now. For me, that’s a pandemic perspective shift.
And as I write this post this morning, the results of a third vaccine with better than 90 percent efficacy have been announced. Who, at the beginning of this year, would have ever imagined that researchers would be in a position to develop and validate life-saving vaccines in less than 10 months? Not very many of us would be my guess. And, yet, here we are with new scientific findings and methodologies that promise to change the face of disease management in radically positive ways far beyond our COVID-19 experience. It’s another pandemic perspective shift.
So, as you celebrate Thanksgiving in new ways this week, I’d encourage you to consider your own pandemic perspective shifts. What are you thinking about differently this year than last? What have you done or are about to do that would never have even crossed your mind last Thanksgiving? For those of you reading on LinkedIn, I’d love it if you’d share your own perspective shifts in the comments. For those of you reading on the Eblin Group blog, please consider sending me an email or jumping on LinkedIn and leaving a comment there. I always love learning from all of you.
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