A Sense of Purpose
Over the past week, as the impact of the coronavirus took hold over our lives, after the initial actions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, I spent much of my time in video conferences. I talked to our customers—more in one week than the entire previous month. I spoke with our account teams, who are working tirelessly to assure our customers that we are there for them. And I listened to working parents, as they juggled to provide the nurturing for their kids, while doing the best they can to meet their professional obligations. In these calls, I felt a great deal of fear and anxiety. It feels like we entered a dark tunnel, and we don’t know quite how long it is.
It’s only human for us to feel these things—our very lives have been turned upside down. News headlines have left us discombobulated. We feel a sense of loss for a tumbling economy and for our careers and lives, which we’ve been forced to reimagine. For many of us, the outside world has been shut out.
As the CEO of a technology company that strives to inspire change, I am an eternal optimist. I believe in a few weeks, once we’ve learned to move to the rhythms of this new world, we will adjust. We always do. It’s what we choose to do during this time that will truly matter. My hope for us is that we’ll use it to look forward and stay positive.
Beyond survival, perhaps the most important thing for a human being is a sense of purpose. If you’re an emergency room doctor, a nurse, a firefighter, or a paramedic, you’re feeling an extreme sense of purpose right now—lives are literally in your hands.
Each of us already had a sense of purpose before we got into this. Your sense of purpose could be to support your customers. You might ask, “How can I pay attention to their pain, so I can be most supportive as they live through this time—and be helpful when they come out of it?” If you are in charge of a production line that is still running, you can ask yourself, “How do I safely continue to produce and keep the economic engine running so it can spin back up to normal when this is all over?” If you’re a leader of a company, perhaps your sense of purpose can be in communicating often and with honesty as you navigate this uncertain period.
Beyond work, do the things you always wanted to do in life that you couldn’t (minus the things that involve travel of course). Get back in shape. Spend time outdoors. Keep your mind healthy by reading. Spend time with your family. Catching up on sleep is also good.
This crisis has the potential to bring out the best or worst in us. It’s our choice. It is heartening to see the best of humanity and the generosity of so many people around the world. Some of the greatest innovations were also born during times of great uncertainty. Sure, the conventional world has been turned upside down, but I work with some of the most ambitious, innovative, caring, committed, resilient bunch of people that inspire me to be positive and believe in a brighter future every day.
I don’t know when this crisis will come to an end, but I can assure you: It will. There will be another side to this. We will come out of the tunnel. Let’s take this time to decide what kind of world we want to see when we do.