Early last year, a colleague sent me an article from the Harvard Business Review entitled, That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief. The article was published on March 23, 2020. That was just 5 days after Governor Gavin Newsom issued America’s first mandatory order for Californians to shelter in place due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic that had claimed just under 10,000 lives in the U.S.
Two months after the article was published, George Floyd was murdered on the streets of Minneapolis sparking protests and violent clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement troops around the world. Four months after the article was published, towering civil rights era leader, John Lewis, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, followed the next month by the shocking announcement of Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer, followed weeks later by the loss of beloved Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The collective grief in the air in March of 2020 was from the loss of normalcy, the fear of economic toll, the loss of connection, and uncertainty about the future. Little did we realize that the grief we were experiencing in March was like the vacuum effect on the shore that precedes a tsunami. We rushed to witness it in person not realizing that it was a prelude to a massive wave train that would chase us relentlessly through the remainder of 2020.
It is now January 2021, and I’m cautiously optimistic that the year will be marked less by shock and awe and more by steady advances in reclaiming normalcy. Instead of jumping headlong into resolutions and vision boards, I’ve been talking to my team about the need to address the collective duress that 2020 put us through. Whether you were a school principal who fought off threats from parents on both sides of the “to open, or not to open” debate, a manager who lost a team member in 2020, or a working parent cum distance learning aide, this is the perfect time to name and claim that 2020 was a sh*tstorm.
Boxing up our cumulative grief would be unhealthy. So, we’re building time in our January Re:Imagine Leadership Summit to name and claim what we grieved in 2020 and to own what we’ve signed up for 2021 without knowing the terms and conditions. I’ll be detailing the agenda for the January Summit in a LinkedIn post next week. Until then, give yourself permission to acknowledge what you’ve been through before plowing headlong into the unknown of 2021.
Question: How do you plan to reclaim some normalcy in 2021?
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