The Gifts of the Pandemic | Stronger Through Learning

This is the first in my new series, The Gifts of the Pandemic.

I see it in the eyes of those who videoconference with me. I hear the pained tone in clients voices when they say words like “new normal.”

Here’s a question for you, if you could, would you go back to the way it was before COVID-19? Let’s imagine you could flip a switch that would re-instate your life and your business to how it was in November of 2019? Before you decide, let’s also assume you didn’t lose your business, you experienced no family member’s death, and remained in relatively good health. Given those parameters, would you flip the switch?

For me, the answer is a resounding NO!

Granted, I experienced periods of deep sadness in 2020. I had a book deal with GODIVA Chocolate that was put on hold. Speaking client after speaking client postponed and then canceled events, and worse yet, I lost a year of holding and playing with my grandchildren. I also watched people that I love struggle to cope with isolation and loss. That said, here’s the reason I don’t want to erase 2020, and I why I challenge you to resist the urge to flip that hypothetical switch and instead be “Stronger Through Learning.”

For most of us, 2020 offered the following gifts:

  • Humility
  • Empathy
  • Adaptivity
  • Clarity of Values
  • Gratitude

In future installments in this series, I’ll explore those benefits one at a time. However, before I do, let me make my case for not going “back to normal.” In 2019, most business meetings were conducted in person. In my case, that meant hopping on a red-eye flight from Tampa to New York, meeting for a couple of hours, and returning home late in the evening. Today that same meeting occurs via videoconference, producing immense environmental as well as time and cost-saving benefits. I can go on about personal benefits from curbside pick-up, cashless/contactless payment, and so much more. However, I’m challenging you. So please consider these three questions:

  1. Putting aside the costs, what benefits did you experience from February 2020 to February 2021?
  2. What have you learned, or how have you grown in that time?
  3. Given that we can’t erase 2020, do you want to act like it never happened or emerge stronger through the adversity it posed?

In next week’s installment, we’ll talk about how the pandemic offered the gift of humility. 

Until then, I hope you’ll consider picking up or gifting a copy of my recently released book titled Stronger Through Adversity, which provides more than 20 pandemic forged lessons from 140 plus leaders like the CEOs and Presidents of Target, Verizon, Kohl’s, Microsoft, and Marriott. Also, please join my guests and me for our weekly LinkedIn Live conversation every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Until then, may you be Stronger Through Adversity thanks to the gift of learning.

Smoke over black background

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

1 Comment

  1. Lance Peppler on January 21, 2021 at 2:51 am

    Hi Joseph,

    Yes my grandparents have also lost a lot of time with my children.

    For me I tried to start a business in February 2020 but that turned out to be extremely difficult. I did though learn a lot – similar to your list – but including determination, perseverance and most of all God’s provision.

    I have also been lead through this difficult period into a new job which is exciting and challenging.

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