In a recent article, Leadership Coach Rachel Thalmann encourages leaders to leverage conscious processing during times of uncertainty. She reminds us of the Stockdale Paradox and the lessons learned from it. She challenges readers to reflect:

Think back to the most pivotal moments in your life. Was pain involved? Joy? Both? To make this current experience a defining time in your life that in retrospect you would not want to trade, what would have to happen for (or in) you?

This challenge is thought provoking. It promotes self awareness. Here is my initial response:

One of the most pivotal moments in my life happened 5 years ago. Yes, there was pain. Trauma would be a better description. I was cycling with a friend when we were struck by an SUV traveling over 60 miles per hour.

My friend died. I suffered a fractured vertebrae, compressed vertebrae, fractured ribs, and a traumatic brain injury. Pain was physical. It was emotional. It was devastating.

I kept faith that I would prevail in the end like Admiral Stockdale suggests. Today, I am an Ironman who has raised enough money to endow a scholarship in memory of my friend at her alma mater, Zane State College.

Many people are talking about how they can’t wait for life to go back to the way it was before the pandemic. It isn’t going to happen. Twitter recently made it clear, announcing their employees had the option to work from home “forever.” Three of New York City’s large employers shared it is unlikely that many of their employees will return to work inside traditional office buildings. Changes caused by the pandemic present an opportunity.

The Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity for a gut check. Traditional approaches to my profession such as coaching, training, and project facilitation will have permanent shifts into virtual space. Team-based problem solving typically happens in person. For me to “not” want to trade this experience, I am ready to be on the forefront, leading the way into this virtual space. I am ready to be a pioneer in this new space.

  1. What did you learn from the Covid-19 pandemic “gut check?”
  2. What would have to happen for (or in) you to not want to trade this experience for something else?
  3. What do you need to prevail?

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