Good often comes from bad circumstances. It’s hard to see or feel it as we’re living through the coronavirus pandemic, but past situations prove that we get through tough times as employees, customers, and families having human experiences. The key is reframing our thinking from “I have to” to “I get to” do something new. We need to be intentional about WHAT we focus on and HOW we use our time. I’ve been practicing what I preach.
Over the past week, I contacted dozens of friends from across the globe to hear about what they’re doing to be productive and content (despite feeling as if we’re going against gravity.) While listening to each story, I quickly realized that other people would benefit from ideas shared and that I have an opportunity to spread hope, inspiration, and happiness beyond my own home. If I could possibly make a difference in the world by connecting people through my writing, then I’ve achieved a higher purpose. And, that keeps me smiling.
let’s talk about HUMAN EXPERIENCES during Coronavirus. Please note:
- All views expressed are personal perspectives and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations. Each person has approved my quoting them from our dialogue.
- There are more fantastic stories people have shared since posting this article. I plan to continue collecting and adding to my website.
What People Are Doing in the USA:
- Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D: Pennsylvania: (Pioneer of Positive Psychology): “I’m helping people refocus their minds through simple exercises i.e. “Put It in Perspective,” which starts by conjuring the worst-case scenario, as minds tend to do first, then move to the best-case scenario and finish with the most likely scenario. The idea is to redirect thoughts from irrational to rational. When not working, I’m playing bridge online.” (Stacy’s note: View all his famous books on Amazon).
- Andy Proctor in Utah. “My formula for staying content is going out into nature. The earth is doing just fine even if people are panicking. Birds still sing. Plants grow. Sunsets are still stunningly beautiful and the mountains are still majestic. As I’m in nature, my worries seem to lessen and I feel optimism for the near and distant future. To start the workday, I’ve been doing exercise with employees called Loving-Kindness Meditation, which is known to boost relaxation and neurotransmitters like oxytocin to help the immune system. I’m also thinking about my late grandmother who lived to be 100. She went through countless “major world crises” like these where the World thought it was coming to an end. Just remembering that she lived through all those things helps me calm down.” (Stacy’s Note: Listen to our podcast together about happiness in life & work)
- Shep Hyken in Missouri: “I’m an optimistic guy. Not diminishing the danger and impact of the coronavirus crisis but I won’t let it get me down. With plenty of clients canceling and postponing events, I can complain but rather choose to see opportunities instead. I’m spending more time writing, researching, reflecting on what’s really important, spending time with my wife. playing guitar and practicing card tricks. I’m a believer of the old saying, “This too shall pass!” (Stacy’s note: Check out my CX episode on Shep’s radio show. And, read Shep’s books. It will be time well spent.)
- Joe Pine in Minnesota: “I’m spending much time with my wife. We’re reading a lot and walking on the beach at sunset while in Hawaii (at the time of communicating with Stacy). It’s been a wonderful experience. Heading home and working on new ideas and writing.” (Stacy’s Note: Read Joe’s best selling books like The Experience Economy).
- Bob Thompson in California: “I’m using downtime to reconnect with family and friends. Taking walks. Appreciating the good things in our lives.” (Stacy’s Note: I love his site, CustomerThink. I believe you will too.)
- Nate Brown in Tennessee: “I’m developing new positive rhythms. Starting the day with exercise for my mind and body. Playing Uno with kids over breakfast and other small rituals. Creating space in my home where I enjoy working. I’m putting myself in a good mood by diffusing essential oil and using a salt lamp. Somewhat silly things but help put me on a mental path and ensure a productive and happy day.” (Stacy’s Note: I’m a big fan of Nate’s CX Accelerator)
- James Gilbert in Utah: “I’m incorporating humor any way I can, especially with family. Nothing is more stress-relieving than deep belly laughs. I remind myself of what’s important in life and the work we do in our own homes with loves ones. More than ever, we must contribute to people’s emotional state by being empathetic and allowing others to lift us up too. When fear is a driver of worry, we must reiterate and ensure stability through care and love. We need to band together for a cause.” (Stacy’s Note: Check out our podcast about Customer and Employee Onboarding & best practices).
- Dennis Wakabayashi in Texas: “I’m rethinking my 2020 strategy now that in-person meetings are nonexistent. It’s clear we all need to take a step back and rethink how the media channels can be used for a richer conversation. On that note, I’m taking time to create better visuals to go along with communications to friends, family, and audiences. This opportunity for artistic expression is something I normally don’t have as much time for, so I’m embracing it fully while working from home to keep ourselves & our community safe. Listening to Podcasts i.e. Worthix is a welcomed change of pace.
- Lan Phan in New York: “I’m doing group chats with old & new friends. Never done that but WFH has inspired me to do so. I manage a team of millennials at Fortune magazine and want them to feel connected while remote. So, every morning we have a digital coffee, and an icebreaker to get to know each other “beyond the office.” We go over our three daily priorities and big org goals. At the end of the day, we have a virtual “happy hour” where we discuss how the day went. I feel our team is closer from our WFH experience as it forces us to start and end the day with each other.”
- Jodi Schreiber in Florida: “I’m attempting to learn Spanish and looking into other online classes too. I’m enjoying catching up on reading and reconnecting with family.”
- Micheleigh Perez in Tenesseee: “I’m finding teachable moments to share with my 9-year-old. Focusing on my son’s experience and helping others create a purpose to get through it all…I pray for individuals and businesses who’ve been hit hard.”
- Kristen Walker in New Jersey: “I’m enjoying watching documentaries, staying outside in the woods and being mindful of sunrises and sunsets, and exercise.”
- Laura Fowler in New Jersey: I’m enjoying extra quality time with my dog and boys especially as they’re so close to being fully grown up and out the door. We’re spending time cooking meals that generate conversation and taking walks in the woods. Also, I found an online program that teaches how to knit a cowl and includes online Facebook instructions, called a quarantine kit. I’ve always wanted to learn to knit and soon, I’ll have a cute new cowl for when I return to the office.”
- Chris Gialanella in California: “I’m practicing yoga and meditation. Something I rarely ever do! My wife is talking about doing art. My son has a ton of stencils and sketch pads. We are excited to become artists too.”
- Lauren Volpe in Connecticut: “I’m taking advantage of free access to Lynda.com through my library card. I’m grateful for the best gym, and neighborhood for walking. Professionally while remote, bonding through virtual “wine o clock” with family invited. It’s a rare opportunity to meet family, so why not? My team is also signing up to attend webinars and share a 1 pager with takeaways. Appreciative that my company values employee health.”
- Anne Perschel in Massachusetts: “I’m connecting with friends and loved ones virtually for Coffee O’clock, Wine O’Clock, Anything O’Clock.”
- Todd Sherman in New Jersey (my husband): “I’m keeping things as normal as possible. Wiring my office so that employees can work from anywhere, and completing home repair projects that I’ve put off for many years. I’m also cooking a lot for my family.”
- Eileen Brenner in New Jersey (My mom): “I’m happiest when I’m productive so I’m using the time to clean my home a lot. Also, playing with my dog Sophie, and exchanging funny comics and stories with friends on Facebook. Social media comes really handy. We don’t know what the future brings but knowing that we can share our experiences helps everyone get through it.”
- Robyn Bennett in Hawaii: “I’m a pretty happy person no matter what. I have never had a problem with being alone. During this time, I continue to do what works well for my peace and happiness such as work out, play with my puppies, walk in the neighborhood, cook and eat really healthy good food.”
what people are doing in other countries:
- Ben Motteram in Australia: “I’m staying active. Setting up a makeshift gym, walking in neighborhoods, starting a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Reading & Writing.
- Nima Bahadori in Singapore: “I’m enjoying playing Chess with my son. Also, planning to start a YouTube channel. We’re learning about video editing, digital media & digital marketing. I’m experimenting with how to conduct online brainstorming sessions. It’s amazing how resilient & innovative we are when faced with adversity.”
- Anna Choi in Hong Kong: “I’m spending time on MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and joining webinars which I normally don’t have time for. Also talking to my friends by phone versus texting to have meaningful social interaction.”
- Jost Bendel in Germany + working in Switzerland: “My family has a plan of what and when we do things. During the morning, the focus is on school. Bavarian schools have a media they open for all pupils with respective learning videos. We have also a family fitness calendar. My son now improves my skills in playing hockey 1:1 (Just survived my first lesson) and he’s writing articles with friends via WhatsApp for a future book. I got my parents an iPad and we’re connected visually. Everyone has a mix of adventure and respect for the unknown.”
- Alexander Ozbahadir in China. I’m doing well, though worried about the rest of the world. The worst period here should be over soon. The government in Shanghai has been strict but for good reason. The idea of a home office moved from a “better way to work” to “I have never been so busy.” I’ve been on Teams Meetings every day from early until late. Going back to the office is fantastic and I value it even more now. Personally, I’m realizing that eating, sleeping and sitting 24/7 is not a good regiment, so I brought sports equipment from the hotel gym (now closed) into my hotel room (moved in March) and started in-room workouts.
- Chris Ward in England: “I’m being creative while stuck indoors. The temptation is always to turn to screens in moments of downtime; however, I’m acutely aware that my long-term mental health will benefit from limiting it. So, I’m picking up a pen, a book, my guitar or a puzzle. Keeping my mind active. Professionally, I’m learning time management techniques to remain productive and motivated. A cohort recommended adopting the Pomodoro technique, so I’m learning that this week. I’m most content at work when I feel like I’ve ticked things off a to-do list. So keeping those lists active is going to be as important as anything else.”
(Stacy’s Note: Check out our podcast about customer journey mapping).
- Aimee Kessler-Evans in Canada: “I’ve worked from home for years. Now I’m working from home with my husband and three teenage boys, plus three dogs! In the past, the gym was my break, my outlet. Now, I plan to take my breaks outdoors – hiking, riding my bike, going for runs on the trails. We’ll walk our dogs every day, in the neighborhood and beachfront trail along Lake Ontario. I also bought a yoga mat and blocks, so that if we’re stuck indoors, I’ll be able to work out at home. Between my workouts, my Kindle and my Calm app – along with lots of family movie nights, I think we’ll be OK.”
- Sergio Rossini in Italy: “Taking Skype classes and learning how to make bread.”
- Karen Kong from China. Now in NJ: “I’m acknowledging the situation, understanding what we can control and what we can’t. I’m being prudent, calm, and optimistic. It’s time to shift focus to some aspects of our life that we normally don’t have time to enjoy i.e. when was last time you appreciated cake and coffee with a book sitting next to a sunny window? I am now.”
- Shailesh Vilankar in India: “I’m enjoying spending more time with my 20-year-old daughter and feeling good from it. I strongly believe in Karma and am actively spreading normalcy within my social connections. While we need to be aware, we must not panic. We Indians have a very strong immune system to fight issues.”
- James Dodkins in England: “Spending time playing music. Seeing more people that I don’t normally get to while traveling around doing speaking events. I’m also busy creating a new online training course that launches soon.”
- Ana Flavia Cavagnoli from Brazil: Now in USA. “I am sustaining happiness by reading books and my bible and watching inspirational videos. I am practicing empathy and not spreading negative thoughts, fear, and complaints.”
- Ronen Gafni in Israel: “The Israeli market is almost completely shut down. I’m focussed on playing and selling games everywhere as people are going to spend more time at home.” (Check out FreshBiz).
- Ian Golding in England: “I am running as much as I can and trying to keep my mind fit and healthy as much as my body. I’m also walking my dog Poppy at this time, as our pets are a wonderful comfort!”
what I’m doing to achieve happiness:
- Walking outdoors with my dog and friends and family. (It’s the best therapy).
- Spending “face time” with my work teams. Laughing while staying productive.
- Writing and more writing. Learning about the process of book publishing.
- Expanding my professional skills via TedTalks, LinkedIn videos & Audible books.
- Learning “plant-based” cooking. GameChangers impacted me. (See StacysNotes)
- Playing games and sharing humor. It’s the only way to survive a non-funny time. I.e. Conference Call Bingo.