We’re living in some pretty wild times. The current coronavirus pandemic has closed businesses and schools, pushed widespread work-from-home solutions, and in many cases, forced millions out of jobs – hopefully for just a shortened time period.
While it’s easy to let the magnitude of the situation become overwhelming, we have a choice in how we respond. And I don’t mean for this to be a stereotypical “think positively” type approach. Yes, I believe wholeheartedly how you approach the situation individually will manifest itself in reality. You can choose to be the victim and you’ll be exactly that: a victim. You can choose to be frustrated you’re stuck at home and can’t go see friends or visit restaurants and you’ll be exactly that: frustrated. As a business owner, you can choose to let the very real, financial impacts on your business overpower you and that’s what will happen: it will crush you.
We are all playing the hand we’re dealt with this epidemic and the only choice I see is to play it with positivity. Instead of focusing on the lost jobs I’ve had for three months (and who knows how much longer), I’m finding the positive in being home with my family when I’d typically be traveling constantly. I’m finding positivity in seeing my neighbors walking with their families more frequently than ever. I’m re-connecting with friends from afar via FaceTime and Zoom calls. Basically, I’m finding strength and positivity in all the things we don’t make time for regularly. You know, the important things like family, community, and relationships.
But that’s not the choice I want to focus on exclusively. As leaders, personally and professionally, we have a choice in how we embrace failure. We’re all being asked to work and live differently. We’re taking on roles we’ve never tried before and we’re stepping up in new ways. Whether it’s through a reduction in the workforce or by helping support our co-workers, some people are being asked to assume additional responsibilities or work new projects with drastically different guidelines. Some people are trying to figure out how to balance work and be a home-school teacher at the same time (News flash: It’s tough!)
Whatever situation you are in, now more than ever is the time to embrace failure. Give yourself and the people you lead the permission to fail. As a homeschool teacher, I have failed miserably on multiple occasions. That’s OK. You’re not perfect and neither is the next person. But when we come out on the other side of this epidemic, which we eventually will, those around you will not remember your failures. The only thing they’ll remember is your effort, your intent and your heart.
So, fail away! Keeping trying new things and get comfortable with failure. As a leader, support your people through their failures. Almost every successful business person has stories of failure and that’s because those moments test your resolve, help you learn and give you the experience necessary to succeed.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must run back to my homeschool teacher duties. I don’t recall doing math this way when I was a kid, but I’m determined to figure it out!