Three Things you can do to grow professionally during this time

I have heard this story more than once during my life and I’ll do my best to get it as correct as can be to make my point:

A man was driving down the road when a car drove by slowly.  The driver of the car rolled down his window and yelled out “COW” to the driver heading into a curve.  Feeling offended, the driver entering the curve yelled back “PIG” to the other driver and proceeded to accelerate into the curve.  As he rounded the corner he saw a massive cow in the road that he had to swerve to miss.  While swerving he lost control and ended up in the ditch.

There are many morals to the story, but one of the most important for today is that you need to focus on the road ahead and less on the distractions you encounter along the way.  A side corollary is that what you hear from others may not be intended to offend or hurt you, but it could be offered to help.  Let’s build upon this as we move ahead today.

Without a doubt this is a challenging time for many.  My heart and prayers go out to those who are on the front lines in our health care facilities dealing with the sickest of those with the COVID19 virus.  There is never enough thanks that I can offer for their bravery.

For those of us on the back lines this is a time to reflect and grow.  There will be a morning after this event and those who are wise will use their time now to prepare for those future days.  What should you be doing to prepare for those days?  Let me offer a few suggestions.  There is always more, but here are three things I think you can be doing now to be better positioned for the future.

  1. Now is the time to learn something new.  If you are reading this from home, I would guess you are one of the millions who have been moved from your normal office to your home office.  For some of you this is comforting and for others it can be painful and distracting.  My encouragement for you is to make a list of 3-5 things you wish you had time to learn and work the list from top to bottom.  Even if you only complete one of these, you will have made some progress.  This could be work or career related or it might be a life-long ambition.  Make the list and get started.
  2. Your health can never be good enough.  For those of you who value your health, you are probably missing the gym or classes you previously were involved in before we all stayed at home.  There are endless possibilities available online (start with YouTube) and find a class or two to use.  My wife and I vary between a Yoga class and a stretching class.  We also strive to walk daily and my main missing ingredient now is my weight training.
  3. Use technology to stay in touch.  I wish I had invested in Zoom a year or so ago.  I had been a Skype user for years, but it has fallen out of favor and my subscription with GoToMeeting also lapsed, so I started focusing on Zoom about a year ago and I am so glad I did.  Zoom has almost become a generic term, sort of like Google, and the ways you can use this tool to connect, both for work and play, are pretty endless.  I use Zoom daily for my work and I am also conducting a Happy Hour for Sigma Chi alumni on April 1.  That is quite a variety of ways to use this tool.

All of us have the same amount of time and those who use their time wisely now will benefit in the future.  Make an investment in yourself now and the harvest you reap will be bountiful.