I have been making a list of all the new COVID-19-related terms all over the media that drive me nuts:
- “new normal”
- “unprecedented times”
- “back to the way things were”
- “managing during a conflict”
- “pivoting your business through a crisis”
I’ll stop while I’m ahead; I am sure you have your own to add, which I would love to see in the comments. (I will soon be writing a book called ‘You Have a Lot Going on…” & Other Useless Phrases Humans Use. I will undoubtedly include the above phrases, as well as any others you care to share in the comments. So, if you comment, you might get published!)
The thing about these ubiquitous phrases is they don’t mean anything, especially the idea that somehow there will come a time when it will be as if this crisis never happened. There is not going to be a “new normal” because there was never an “old normal” to begin with. Change happens all the time. And the longer you stay in the mindset that eventually things will revert, the quicker you will be left behind.
As awesome as it would be to meet a time-traveling legend, Doc Brown is not about to swing through your neighborhood in the DeLorean to pick you up and take you back to March 13th, 2020. It’s just not going to happen (but if it does, text me immediately). The only predictable “normal” any of us really experience is by using the “normal” setting on our washing machines. Aside from that, the present moment and the future are all we have. Knowing we can’t and won’t ever go back, isn’t every moment from this point forward an “unprecedented time?”
If, in the middle of COVID, the future is too overwhelming for you to consider, then just focus on the next 10 minutes. Will you spend (waste) those minutes reading the 113th email regarding this crisis? Or, will you reach out to some of your clients and strategic partners to see how they are doing, just to be present in this moment with them?
No one knows the future, so put your energy where it is most valuable right now. If you look around and discover you are surrounding yourself with people who use these phrases regularly or who believe we are going back, I strongly urge you to make some new connections with people focused on moving forward. In my experience, businesses that try to move back or which do not move forward (Kodak, anyone?) are about as useful as a cruise planned for this summer.
Things do not regress. Things go. Where they go is up to you and how you choose to devote your energy and your time.
Godspeed on the journey. I will see you at 88 MPH.