Gorgeous weather. We are so fortunate to have it to enjoy. Hopefully, you also have a garden and can get out into the fresh air and peace. Though it is getting noisier isn’t it? I can still hear the birds singing but I can also hear the traffic again.
There is a definite change in the air. We are starting to get a sense of our new lives and how they will be. Are you peaking at this new world wondering about it or are you making decisions about what you do, where and with whom. We are still extremely cautious and rightly so, but thinking about the future. It seems to me we can let it happen or we can take the lessons we have learnt and put them into practice.
Many of us have been reflecting on how it has been in recent years. People are my passion and I have been worried about our casual acceptance of others and the disposability built into society for the last few years. We started to see it about twenty years ago when it became the trend to hire contractors short term, give them no security, suck their skills from them and then terminate their contracts at the earliest opportunity. It was often sad to see these exceptionally talented people out of work for long periods and then flogging themselves incredibly hard for short phases. Then we moved into acceptance of glancing at faces on our phones and with a swipe they were condemned to obscurity. All we cared about was a quick, possibly sexual, transaction. People were very expendable.
Now we have started to think differently. Since March we have been very careful with whom we have associated, keeping our distance and treating people with respect. We have learnt how important people are in making our lives bearable – maybe people who were invisible to us previously. We have learnt the difference between highly skilled and highly paid. Society has reset its dials to clap for key workers and in particular the NHS.
Now we are coming out of lockdown I want this to continue. I want us to remember for more than a nanosecond. To make it a different world.
Dolly Parton has brought out a new song When life is good again. You can find it on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEUYlo6OoDY and it is worth a listen (OK you all know I am a fan). It talks about being a better friend, being more thoughtful and making amends where necessary. As usual with Dolly it is right on the button. And I was already thinking about the changes I am going to make as we move forward.
We have all been through so much. Most of us have had all the classic responses: fight, flight and perhaps worst of all freeze. We fought the virus by refusing to give in, by staying busy and finding new passions – painting water colours, learning a new language, playing the piano again after forty years. We fled the virus by spring cleaning, eating too much and wine o’clock. And we froze – maybe going through days at a time when we found it impossible to do anything except sleep.
Who has helped you with all this? Who has been important to you in these last lockdown weeks? Who has helped you stay sane and who has given you some perspective on the troubled times? I have been asking myself who has been kind to me, who has been generous, who has been there, who has been caring, supportive, encouraging and available when I was having a wobble? Who has surprised you? Who has disappointed you?
I have found myself with some strengthened friendships, some new ones and some old ones that are questionable.
And in our business lives I think we have all done our best to support each other. As the devastation to the economy has come clear, as the bottom has dropped out of some businesses and potential ruin has appeared in some people’s lives I hope we have all reached out – not with trite answers, but to listen and to recognise people’s pain. It was certainly interesting in my weekly cuppas, just to create a space where people could chat about anything – serious or frivolous depending on the mood of the day. In the future, personal support is going to remain very important but I want to encourage you to have a long memory not just at a personal level but for organisations.
New businesses have come into my life such as AB Fruits here in Bedford. Who quickly set up a domestic delivery service saying, “Please bear with us, we haven’t done this before”. They have been brilliant and I will continue to trade with them. There were other organisations who were already in my life. I think of Timpson’s (who bought Sketchley whom I once worked for) who cut my keys, mend my shoes and organise my dry cleaning. I have always admired their employment ethics especially in employing ex-offenders. However, in lockdown they said before the government furlough scheme that their colleagues would receive full pay. I really respect that approach – people are valued. There are a number of small, medium and big businesses whose ethics I like and I want to succeed. Then there are other organisations like Weatherspoons who did not have that approach. Their people have been sacrificed and some have even put the prices up of items like hand sanitiser to make money from our fear.
I am not going to forget and I am not going to forgive. Businesses have had an opportunity to show their true colours; I will support those I admire and I will not trade with the ones who regarded people as expendable.
I invite you to join me. Every action has an effect.
As a mentor my job is to help people find a different perspective whist supporting, challenging and stretching you to be the best at whatever you do.
So if you like my ethics and want to grow why don’t we talk? I love speaking with people, off the meter, to help explore possibilities and whether/how to take them forward. Please feel free to contact me.
If this Thought has been interesting please share it and tell me what you think!
Life will be good again; be more appreciative of how lucky we are and live the lessons we have learnt.