Silver Linings From the Past Year

A sign indicating a Silver Lining Ahead.By Cindy Campbell

Many of the virtual trainings I conduct include a group discussion. This last year, one of my favorite discussion topics has been, “Tell us about something good that’s come out of the disruption caused by the pandemic.” Many of the responses have been incredibly thoughtful and uplifting. Here’s a sample:

  • Someone who left the comfort of home and traveled over 2,500 miles to assist one of his adult children after a medical procedure. He spent six months helping his son and in return, received the gift of extra time with family members.
  • A colleague who found herself questioning the current purpose of her professional life in the midst of the pandemic. While talking with an industry friend, she realized she needed help to sort everything out. Through hard work and determination, she found her renewed purpose and is now actively helping others who may be dealing with similar struggles. She believes “it’s all worth it if I’m able to be that help to someone else.”

More cool things: Participation in a campus mentoring program, more time interacting with a young child attending school virtually, learning a foreign language, planting a vegetable garden for the first time, starting a podcast, volunteering at a local food bank, discovering a new appreciation for cooking–the list goes on.

I wanted to share some of these examples with you for a couple of reasons:

  1. As a reminder that there is usually something positive we can discover in every situation. It may not be easy to identify or what you expected to find. It can take time and perspective. The good stuff may not present itself to you–you might actually have to go in search of it.
  2. As humans, we are hard-wired to resist change. When we’re comfortable, we naturally want to maintain that feeling. We also have an amazing capability to adapt and overcome–and we do it all the time.

How many times have you heard (or said), “I can’t wait for everything to go back to normal.” (Believe me, I can relate to that sentiment.) My question is this: How do you adapt when today’s normal isn’t fully returning to yesterday’s normal? When you find yourself removed from the comfort of your normal, consider what you might be missing–are you open to new or adjusted possibilities in this situation?

With or without a pandemic, it is important to recognize that our normal is continually changing. It is natural to find comfort in the normal we know–the challenge is finding it when we experience our NEXT normal.

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist. She is available for customized in-person or virtual training; click here for details.