As I reflect on the past year, I would be remiss if I did not share that the personal development and professional gains, I have experienced would not have been possible, if not for a global crisis.
The Covid19 pandemic was a pivotal moment for our global society. Overnight, the structure of community services, healthcare, education, and business experienced an unprecedented disruption. Our collective courage was tested as we focused our energies for a quick response. We were facing the unknown, recognizing that our situation required us to develop new skill sets quickly. As a leader and member of my community, I challenged myself to choose compassion, resilience and to become a better person.
Reflecting on the beginning of March 2020, my team and I were still on the heels of widespread robberies taking place around our community. Regrettably, members of my team were involved in a traumatic robbery in January. Personally, and professionally, we were still working through a rollercoaster of emotions when Covid19 was officially deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Within a week of our robbery, my husband was involved in a similar robbery involving the same gang and community setting. We were all experiencing a high level of angst.
There is never enough preparation to help you through these moments of truth. I admit that I was unprepared for the raw feeling of helplessness and vulnerability that came as a response to these experiences. The inability to provide the why, the how, the what, that would come next was foreign to me. I pride myself on being able to make sound decisions, backed up by facts and details, and being able to connect the dots for people even when I do not have all the details, or when events seem far fetched or intangible.
For me, the year 2020 came with no rule books. I recognized that I lived and worked within complexity and uncertainty. That prompted me to see that being human, bringing my true self to work and home, and genuinely sharing what I was going through allowed me, as never before, to connect more authentically with my peers, my colleagues, my work family, my immediate family, and my husband. This was a time when differences were set aside, biases were minimized and the purity of one’s health and wellness became top priority.
Moving into a full fledge pandemic with many unknowns, tested our resolve to accept there were more questions than answers and to avoid panic and misunderstandings. This was an opportunity to be creative in how we came together as a family, a community, and a nation. Supporting each other as social distancing protocols were introduced, acknowledging fear, and then moving to actively seek solutions was what kept us focused on the task at hand. Without question, we are in this together.
When I think about these past months, I am proud of the resilience and courage demonstrated by my colleagues, my peers, my family. We continue to band together, with common goals and a united front to take on the challenge that continues to face our global world. Regardless of the new norm that we often hear and talk about today, I know we have the capacity and determination to successfully navigate what lies ahead.
What have I learned in 2020 when it comes to work life and togetherness? For starters, never take others for granted – appreciate family, colleagues and those who cross our paths. Do not sweat the small stuff and be grateful for the life that has been given. Stay connected and foster support systems for the benefit of our mental health and wellness. Belonging and keeping in contact using virtual technology is critical for our well-being. I have learned to be more patient and compassionate with myself and others. I have accepted that there will be difficult, and even more uncomfortable conversations, which will be necessary to advance our understanding of one another.
Above all, I have learned that humour is essential. Focus and enjoy the little things in life that make us smile and laugh. Kindness and respect, compassion and happiness will see us through the most difficult of times.
Let us forge ahead together – because we are stronger together.