A lot of stories have been written at this time about the recent case counts, projections, narratives of heroism, and politics. However, there is a specific story that is of interest to everybody. It is a story of looking back into the COVID-19 pandemic – what you have experienced, what it has done to your family and significant others, the lessons you’ve learned, and how you have surpassed this global crisis. It may be written from your conscious or subconscious mind, but ultimately, you are the story’s author.
During these challenging times, it is easier to feel pummeled about by coincidence and circumstance. Undoubtedly, the present pandemic and the consequential economic turmoil are not in your control. You may be striving hard to manage a team of online workers while you’re dealing with your crawler, which doesn’t want to sleep or with your teen that insists on playing video games instead of doing her online homework. Or perhaps you are all by yourself, dealing with a Skype meeting while being troubled with the current numbers, anxious and depressed about your high-risk family members and friends. There have been situations before this that have been out of your control. We all are facing our own helplessness amidst these COVID times.
Nevertheless, you are responsible for the way you engage with the circumstances that you are being confronted with. You are capable of making decisions about how you act and where you put your efforts as you traverse the storms of ambiguity. How you behave and think during this crisis will influence the narrative that you will tell. Do you want to play the hero or the victim? The victim usually asks herself, “Why does it have to me?” Being the author of your own story will help you climb out of that victim role, although it’s also not always being about the hero. The key is to take the creative view of things, overcoming the crisis with a humble heart and becoming the wiser, better version of your previous self.
Deciding to author your own story involves the ‘by me’ format of leadership. You decide to utilize creativity, not reactivity, being positive and open rather than being defensive and fickle-minded. You own up the task of responding to situations that are uncontrollable. You can create your own story as you have lived and led in the time of COVID-19. Imagine your future self and use that imagination to influence your decisions now as you live into and create your narrative. But how?
Here’s something you can try. Envision yourself traveling through time, perhaps into the summer of 2021, when the global crisis has subsided, and some normalcy has been regained – or a new normal has been established. Imagine having risen to the occasion and overcoming everything, making you feel so proud, thankful, and fulfilled. Ask yourself these questions:
- What small or big ways did you do as a community member, a friend, spouse, significant other, parent, or a leader for the common good? Did you perhaps volunteer cooking and giving meals to seniors? Sharing your expertise to help others?
- What principles or values were you able to learn and practice? Did you stand up for anything?
- What influenced your actions? Was it optimism or pessimism that drove you to become more determined to surpass the challenges? What habits were you able to learn under the circumstances?
- Were there relationships broken or established because of the situation? Which relationships became stronger? Which ones faltered?
- Was there an experience that affected your life and the way you see life now?
- What are the things you were thankful for during the pandemic? What are you grateful for today?
- Did you discover new strengths (and weaknesses)? What traits did you rely on while you were trying to survive and thrive? Do you think these traits should be retained?
- What did you discover about yourself and your relationships?
- How did you grow as a person, parent, friend, leader, or community member?
- Do you think you can surpass any challenge that will come into your life?
These are components of your story that you should consider when you write it. Let these questions hopefully guide you on your venture. What could your story be? Could it be one of tragedy or hope? Failure or growth? Stagnancy or transformation? It is all up to you.