Stepping Into the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Things feel different today. Masks are coming off, activities are coming back, and life is returning to normal. The question we’ve heard asked multiple times over the past few weeks is this… Do we want to return to normal, or are we craving something better than normal? With that in mind, we’re resurfacing an exercise that our friends at Good Leadership shared with us years ago: Stop, Start, Continue.

Using the past year as a catalyst for learning some valuable lessons, here are three simple questions we should all be asking ourselves right now as the world is opening back up:

1. What are some of the things you did in the past, or over the past year, that you want to STOP?

Some of us have learned that we don’t need to travel for work as much as we used to and that traveling was something we accepted as status quo but didn’t enjoy. Others have moved to entirely virtual work and are craving the interaction that comes from connecting in an office again. Many have rekindled connections with family over the past year and want to stop living out of balance and sacrificing those essential relationships for the sake of work. Maybe the past year was the moment where you looked at your business model or career and realized it was time to stop walking down one path to pursue another? In any case, create some space for yourself to see those areas where you want to stop something that was or is holding you back.

2. As things open back up, what are some of the things we want to START doing?

For many, the opportunity to start meeting back in person will fall on this list. As much as some people want to stop traveling, many of you we’ve talked to are excited to start back up again. The opportunity to reconnect face-to-face comes with some great rewards. At the same time, as you’ll see in question three, technology has opened some unique doors. The answer to all of these questions will be vastly different for everyone. Looking at what you want to start doing, or “restart” for that matter, think about the things that you’re most excited about. As well, think about the things you’ve missed the most or the things that you’ve stopped that feel like they’ve held you or your business back.

3. As things open back up, what are some of the tools, habits, or activities we want to CONTINUE leveraging?

As much as we’re excited to meet with people in person, we’ve also learned over the past year to leverage technology in a way that helps us take back our time and energy. “Zoom-fatigue” may be a real thing, but there is also massive value in leveraging those platforms to help enhance our work and connections. As we move forward into this post-pandemic world, the technologies we’ve activated in the past year will be something we continue using to help us be more efficient and agile going forward. What’s on your list? What new skills or assets have you picked up over the past year that you will weave into your teams, culture, and workflow in the future?

The past year has been challenging on many levels, but we are finally approaching the end of the tunnel. This leaves us with a decision to be made. We can stumble our way into this new world with little to no intention, or we can walk boldly into it with purpose and the valuable lessons we’ve learned. As we leave the tunnel and step into the light, how we answer these three questions will greatly impact what’s to come.

We hope that each of you has survived the pandemic well. We know that many of you have thrived. In either case, don’t miss the power of these three questions. Spend some time with each of these, and start to build your strategy for what tomorrow looks like. Don’t settle for “back to normal” – start making something better than normal right now!

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