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05-07-2020 · Leadership & Strategy,

A Coronavirus Reflection

I have been living in dog years for the past several weeks: each day feels like seven. Sometimes the hours feel like an endless vacation. Other days, they’re filled with concern about my family, my company, and the state of our nation. I choose to see the last couple of months as a gift. They’ve been an opportunity for reflection and clarity.

At home, our three teenagers arise at the crack of noon—when they get up early. Each day, when they emerge from their monastic cells, they look us in the eye and have multi-sentence conversations. We play baseball as a family, which we haven’t done in years. The daily chore board is almost always complete. I have witnessed my children sitting shoulder to shoulder, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. At dinner, each of us shares what we are grateful for, what was difficult, and who we helped that day. Those reflections are deeper and more personal now.

There have been some challenges with all of us working and learning remotely. My wife and I take advantage of the first part of the day to be productive. The kids’ school district and college, like many, were not prepared for the sudden onset of “virtual learning.” However, teachers and administrators have worked diligently to provide some academic stimulation with a compassionate approach.

As a small business owner, the SBA loan roulette has been a wild ride. Six fellow entrepreneurs and I have been sharing our daily trials and successes while navigating the mercurial set of regulations and qualifications. Most of us have managed to obtain financial support for our companies, but the real reward has been learning that I am not alone. I have colleagues to celebrate victories with—mine and theirs. Even more importantly, this support system has reached out to pull me back from dark thoughts in more difficult moments.

This sense of connection has also extended to the team at MindMax. Our daily morning huddles have grown from a few people to the entire company; we meet over video instead of by phone. We’ve added a weekly virtual cocktail hour. But the uncertainty takes its toll, on us and on our clients. I find myself sharing more openly and more often; it’s necessary to deal with the challenges we’re facing. The benefit is that our team has learned more about each other than when we sat side-by-side.

My wife tested positive for COVID-19 in early April, and a couple of my family members have had possible symptoms. We are recovered and grateful, but the deadliness of this virus lurks in the back of our minds. My parents were released from the hospital three days before it was locked down due to COVID-19; they are now at home 450 miles away. Our daily phone calls have more importance and sincerity, and my sisters and I are deeply bonded around our parent’s health issues. Vulnerability has made us all grow closer. 

My heart is full of emotions: sadness, joy, anxiety, curiosity, and hope. I keep thinking of that bumper sticker that says “Think Globally, Act Locally.” The community I interact with directly is contained within the walls of my home, but my world is broader than ever. I hear so much about distancing, and yet, I feel more connected than I have in years.

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