Coronavirus - What Is It Calling Us To?
Mar 11, 2020
I don’t know where you are at in terms of the Coronavirus. I have a risk factor and so I have been watching it closely. Definitely beyond the denial stage.
I am worried for my family and my community. I am not a Doctor and so I can’t pass on that kind of advice. Although my Doctor has advised me to do as much as I possibly can to strengthen my immune system.
I know a lot of people who are currently wearing as a badge of honour that they are not afraid. I am not one of those people. I am afraid. I think that this is an issue and something we need to respond to consciously and carefully.
If I am honest I have also felt pretty powerless. I have done the basics - wash my hands all the time, I have switched my meetings to Zoom, bought a thermometer and stocked up on the immune boosters my doctor has recommended. And I keep checking on my parents and asking them to stay home - which they are not doing. I am not a toilet paper hoarder so not done a lot there. But I am strongly from the contain and delay school of thought. And doing my part on that.
What I have also been doing is reflecting - What is this disease waking us up to and how do we respond to that call?
Climate Change: First we have been told for a while now that Climate Change will mean that viruses we don’t have immunity for will spread. This is the advance trailer for that scenario. We can use what is happening to check in as to whether this is really the future we want. And if not we can finally start to make changes. It is serving as the wake up call we need - to get us out of denial.
Our Humanity: I believe that it is reminding us of our sisterhood and brotherhood as human beings. The reality is that we can’t beat this alone. It will entail us all coming together. It means understanding that each one of us is part of a whole. That our actions impact others - and on this one could mean death to another person. It has always been the case - but here it is front and centre. It means asking yourself whether you are really going to go and see your mum this week-end - especially after you saw that friend with that cough the other day. It means you actually care that everybody can get treatment. It forces you to see things from another's perspective - especially the ones more vulnerable than you. I loved the WHO leadership on this one who said that for them every person counts. It is not about saying that it is just a flu and dismissing the much higher mortality rate and also the number of people who will need to be hospitalised to get through. The ‘I am all right Jack’ approach is being challenged. We take precautions not just for ourselves - but so that others might also stay well. To contain and delay as much as we can so that our hospital systems can cope and give others the best chance of survival. And so that we buy our scientists more time to find a cure. We are in this together. We do it not just for ourselves but for them.
Humanitarian Leadership: I have been watching kings of spin get elected as leaders recently. Peddling smart taglines but lacking real care or compassion. The thing about the virus is that you can’t spin it. There seems to be a big chance that many people will experience it. I don’t like to say this as for me it is the worse case scenario - that means a lot of suffering and that many will die. And that will call for real leadership. Not smart platitudes. You can’t get the coronavirus ‘done’. You are going to have to be really there for people - as a human being not manipulating them to get reelected. We need leaders who are really there with us, understand what we need, can speak to that and meet us there.
Taking Our Power Back: This could be our new normal. That means it is time to reinvent ourselves and our ways. Why I am still optimistic is that I work with Visionaries, Disruptors and Change Makers. So I know we can 'innovate our way out of the Coronavirus’. I also really believe in humans and their capacity to find solutions. A vaccine and a treatment will take time. For now, even if you can’t cure it, there is still a lot you can do to innovate around it. So if you are one of those visionaries or just great at thinking out of the box then it is time to step up. We can use this as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our ways. We can make this more manageable. If this might be our new normal - how are we going to protect ourselves, stay safe and rebuild our health, our lives and our economies? How are we going to face this together? How can we find new ways quickly? People are loosing their livelihood right now - how can we support them? Older and at risk people, sons, daughters and parents are plain scared. They are wondering how they will be able to care for themselves and their loved ones through this? How do we keep everybody safe? How do we make it easier to cope for those quarantined at home? How are we going to help the hospital staff and medical ‘soldiers’ who are currently on the front lines? They are going to get exhausted and they also have families to worry about. How are we going to deal with shortages - and instead of hoarding toilet paper how can we already start innovating our supply chains? How about we get to work and solve the problems this virus is throwing at us? And start preempting them and being one step ahead? I know all of you - you have amazing brains. Start using them. Many of you are in leadership positions in all walks of life. This isn't a drill - I don't think our governments can do this alone. We need to step up and innovate to help ourselves and each other.
Rising to The Change: In essence this virus is snapping us out of our comfort zone - out of the status quo. It is showing us that we can change when we have the will to. It is reminding us of the qualities that we need to evolve the way we live on this planet. It is showing us that we have them inside. And calling us to reawaken and practice muscles that have been asleep. And when we have got through this virus. We will know that we have what it takes to change the course of humanity. And finally tackle the big issues rather than just talk about them.
Until Next Time... and in the meantime stay safe...
Louise Le Gat is a Next Generation Leadership Catalyst and Advocate. She supports Leaders to become the Visionaries, Disruptors and Change Makers who are building the sustainable world of tomorrow.
She is the Founder and CEO of Positive Energy Leaders and the Creator of The Positive Energy Academy - An online transformational community for leaders to create, sustain and succeed at fulfilling, meaningful work that has a positive impact.
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