The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every person working in associations, from those on staff to board members and volunteers.
The last few months have reshaped how we approach our lives, both professionally and personally. Now is the time to decide how to carry on as the world returns slowly to what it was before.
Fallout from the pandemic
This pandemic has left a trail of misery, heartache, worry and fear in its path. “Back to normal” will be anything but what we used to define as normal. Our psyche has changed as we watched the world shut down in a matter of weeks. We wonder if we will ever see another hotel ballroom packed with members and vendors at our annual conference. Sending out renewal invoices fills us with anxiety as we wonder how many may cancel their membership due to decreased finances. Our travel habits have been altered and our commutes shortened. Working from home may become an option for those who are able to do so and our meetings may remain virtual as we work with our staff, board and membership. As the world shrank and we retreated to our homes, so too did it expand as we utilized technology to reach out in new ways without boundaries.
Finding reason for hope
Despite all the challenges that these changes have created, there have also been some positive shifts that will hopefully last beyond the COVID-19 era. It is as if we all woke up and began to look at our reality a little bit differently. Beyond the external changes that had to be made in the name of safety, there were some internal pivots that we can now draw upon to enhance our resiliency to any crisis.
Shift away from fear
At first the fear of the unknown gripped our consciousness as we considered the impact this disease would have on all aspects of our lives. However, over the course of weeks, we shifted and adjusted to each new piece of information we received. It seemed as if we could hardly remember what life was like before as we accepted and adapted to a new rhythm.
Some have taken this time as an opportunity to slow down as calendars were emptied and there were fewer places to go. It was a chance to pause, reflect and enjoy a break from the busyness that previously filled the schedule. Now is the time to consider what to add to those schedules and how to best invest in free time.
Appreciate the present
Eckhart Tolle spoke truth when he wrote The Power of Now. Suddenly we are unable to make regular plans. There are no dinner dates next week, no summer vacations and no idea when we will be able to return to that normalcy. In a sense, this virus has brought us to live in the present, taking our lives day by day. All we can do is embrace this moment, and however, we safely can embrace each other.