While the headlines these days are full of tough news, the frontlines of humanity contain stories of hope, support, care, and concern. It seems there is more humanity in our interactions with others nowadays. Before the pandemic, people were more often treated with little respect.  Today, during the pandemic, we are witnessing a different climate in human relations. It seems people are demonstrating a greater and more expressive interest in health, happiness, security, and safety that goes beyond their own selfish interests. It is a hopeful sign and bodes well for us during these challenging times. Let us hope that this renewed emphasis on the value of others lasts through and beyond COVID-19.     For most, we know clearly that the coronavirus is impacting the way we work, if we are working.  Many of you are going through a re-organization as a result of the company’s strategic changes. Some people have been laid off, furloughed or are experiencing a workload decrease, having been placed into a downshift role due to business necessities. Some are taking on extra work and or experiencing extended hours on the job. All of these changes present challenges. They may leave you wondering how you can continue to live the life you used to have when the path you were on has been altered so much by this pandemic. 

     Now is the time for both small actions and big thinking. How you handle change says a lot about you and your character. It is best to think of how you can build bridges and not burn them. If you are still employed, it should be about the team, results and success. The “me first’ and “what’s in it for me” attitude is very destructive to both personal and business relationships, especially when we are all experiencing significant challenges on a daily basis. We are in this together and we need each other to get to a better place in the future. Be the example you want others to follow and treat everyone as a valued guest in your life, even if just for a moment. 

    For those of us that have more free or open time on our hands, think of the skills you can build during this period, beyond job-related, and how they can have long-term benefits. This new paradigm of thinking can help you build other valuable capabilities, agility and resilience. If you are not happy with the changes brought into your life, broaden your definition of success.  It could just be that during the COVID recovery season, you find fulfillment and growth outside of work in ways you never imagined.  Recognize that if this is a detour on your career path, you might as well enjoy the scenery. Imagine that you are looking back on this period one year from now. What would you want your future self to be proud about? 

     Disruption is a catalyst for re-imagination and re-invention.  We are witnessing the beginnings of epic changes and shifts brought about by COVID-19. The current shifts in our economy are bringing anticipated and non-anticipated changes for all of us. The uneven nature of the pandemic’s impact leaves some people feeling relatively unscathed and others completely blindsided. But no matter how you have been affected, it is essential that you try to anticipate and adapt to changes on the horizon and shape your personal response to the pandemic.  Clarity is an extremely important element here.  The more aware you are of changes you would like (or need) to make, the more you can incorporate them into your life as you find hope and opportunities within the disruption, at work, in the general public and at home.

     Being in the moment is a helpful way to experience significant change.  We all need to be more present than ever before to keep our motivation at a realistic level, our minds attentive to what is going on, and find joy and hope in the midst of challenge. An old Samurai maxim states “embrace difficult times and your mind will blossom”. May you all blossom immensely. OSU!

Kevin Blok 
Chudokan Dojo