I have to start by giving credit for this piece to my Doing (good) Business podcast co-host, Kelly Stewart. As Kelly and I have been talking in the past several weeks, we’ve both seen the topic of resilience making a resurgence. Perfect timing, and I’m a big fan of resilience. In fact, I was even talking to a friend last week who was lamenting the fact that she’d stopped and started a habit of walking so many times. I shared my perspective which is that restarting after stopping is actually a more valuable skill than starting something new. (Nothing against starting new things, by the way!) Being able to restart something is resilience. Sure, in an ideal world, we’d pick up a good habit and keep it forever and ever, but in reality life happens and we often lose our way. Being able to find it again is a really big deal and something to be proud of!
All of that to say that resilience is a big topic these days. Everyone is talking about how we’ll bounce back and my friend Kelly started talking about bouncing forward.
Huh. Bouncing forward. It got me thinking.
Right now I’ve seen people come together. I’ve watched people learn to make masks to protect neighbors and strangers. I’ve seen people kindly allow an older shopper to go to the front of the line to grocery shop. I’ve had people offer to buy food for me and I’ve offered to buy food for others. I’ve watched organizations and individuals have food delivered to hospitals. I’ve seen entire organizations set people up to work remotely in a matter of days! I’ve seen creativity in supply chains, innovation in small business and generosity of large companies. (I’m looking at you, Shake Shack.) I’ve seen so many people offering so many ways to connect with folks, to support the most vulnerable and to generally just be kinder than usual.
Bounce forward. I think I like it.
While I absolutely want this virus to be under control, there are some things from this time that I’d like to take with us. I’d like to take the kindness and human decency that I’ve witnessed in my community. I’d like to take a bit of the slower pace as we return to gatherings outside of our houses. I’d like to take the generosity and concern for others that we usually only see at the holidays. I’d like to keep the ingenuity that has been happening in companies everywhere.
When we think about bouncing back it implies that we return to the way things were. As for me (and probably Kelly!), I prefer to bounce forward. I’ll bounce forward and take all of these things, so that whatever comes next is better than before.