What will we tell the youngest of the young

There’s no overstating that 2020 has been a year. COVID-19 created extremes, including exasperation, pain and loss on one end of the spectrum and lightening-speed innovation, personal and professional growth on the other end. What’s more, we were forced to do things differently. In the years to come all of us will have a role to play in shaping and sharing the history of this moment. What will be etched in your memory?

The words

We have a new vocabulary and new way to experience daily activities in our personal and professional lives: remote and hybrid learning, quarantining, social distancing, online shopping for anything imaginable, curb side pick-up, mask wearing, work from home/anywhere, virtual conferences, zoom happy hours, business shutdowns, drive-by and driveway celebrations, window visits, quarantining, parking lot dining, travel bans and more.  

The Economic Extremes

Not since the Great Depression has economic hardship been so widespread. Headlines about job losses, furloughs and financial failure, food insecurity, and more have permeated the news.

Others seized opportunity by answering the deluge of demand for people, products, property and technology: Frontline medical providers and first responders, PPE suppliers, residential real estate, home improvement and grocery outlets. to name a few. 

Emotional Upheaval

Our emotions seesawed as we responded to watershed events:

  • Social unrest exploded with riots and protests that prompted curfews in cities and towns around the world.
  • We dealt with a contentious election and its results that magnified our country’s divide.
  • Thinking about the staggering number of lives lost on a daily basis — grandparents, parents, children, neighbors, and business colleagues has been almost unbearable.

The Stories

Hearing stories relayed by my parents and grandparents has brought to life historical moments that took place before my time. I know that our personal stories from this moment will resonate with those born in this year. Take a moment and think about what stories you will tell the generation too young to remember 2020: will the stories be about hardship or growth? How will the youngest among us carry the story forward? 

Key to my story will be the pivot we made to guide our clients as they worked to stay connected to their clients and employees alike. Sending care packages to:

  • reduce stress and create a bit of self-care and re-energize;
  • create continuity in the absence of lunch dates, golf outings, and face-to-face meetings
  • support virtual events — sales meetings, happy hours and more;
  • help people take a break at home through packages that were open and use from game night to pizza night, from outdoor winter walks to cookie making/decorating. 

The Bright Spots

There are bright spots and the brightest is the new life that has come into our upside-down chaotic moment. For me there has been a constant stream of new lives that have entered mine (the photos include my new grandson, great nephews and babies of my children’s closest friends). I ask myself in 15+ years what will I share with them about a year we never imagined. 

  • Will we remember the fatigue caused by so much uncertainty and the importance of slow thinking to break habits and routines to innovate and be nimble?
  • Will we remember the pain of being physically distanced from so many when as a society we were used to staying connected face-to-face, with hugs, pats on the back and more?
  • Will we remember the unprecedented collaboration between fierce pharmaceuticals to transportation competitors to secure and distribute vaccines? 
  • Will we remember the crucial roles we were all asked to play? Although we are all in this together, we have been asked to do different things to flatten the curve, move our country to the other side of this health part crisis, and begin the longer-term healing process.
  • Will we remember the power of kindness, generosity, and how contagious a kind gesture could be? 
  • Will we remember the gratitude we felt for those, that until this moment, were unsung heroes — our essential public-facing roles on the front line and those behind the scenes? Their work puts them at risk as they serve others. Under normal circumstances these folks are largely unnoticed. 
  • Will we remember the individuals who cooked, collected food, and built community systems to help the food insecure get by – (outside of standard foodbanks)?
  • Will we remember how we diffused stressful moments when we felt isolated and frustrated? We learned new deep breathing techniques, found joy in the power of little wins or carved out more time for solitude. Will you remember how you recharged, engaged, and let go?
  • Will you remember how you prepared personally and professionally for each of the steps you took to get to a next normal
  • Will you remember how much you grew? How will you frame your resilience and resolve to get up every day and get through this whether caring for your family or leading your team? 

It will be fascinating to be a part of emerging from this moment with family and friends, neighbors and our communities, volunteer organizations and business colleagues. We will have an obligation to share our stories of this moment the endurance, resilience, kindness, selflessness, and incomparable innovation to inspire our youngest and future generations to rise above challenge. 

Let me know what do you think you’ll remember? Drop me a note hillary@askhillarys.com, I’d really like to know. And if you haven’t been journaling, start making notes. Stay healthy and connected.