April 17, 2020

Business As Usual? No Thank You!

You’d think that getting smacked with a roll of newspaper wouldn’t be much fun.

But this was our School Christmas party.
Bowmansgreen Primary School.
I was just 10 years old.
And we were playing one of those versions of ‘Squeak Piggy Squeak’.
(Maybe you’re old enough to remember.
Otherwise, ask your parents… or grandparents.
This was before technology.
This was before everything.)

A few of us were blindfolded. Rolled newspapers in hand.
Prostrate on the floor of the Assembly Hall.
I was laughing so much that I had to rip off my blindfold…
And dash to the boy’s loo.

I almost made it.

Choosing to be blindfolded as a child can be a hoot.
Being Wilfully Blind as an adult in business?

Well, that’s something else entirely.

Yet, we all choose to do precisely that, at various times in our lives.
We just won’t see what’s staring us right in the face.

Like our children, passing through their teenage years…
We think we know so much.
We won’t be told.

As we all face up to this Covid Crisis in our own way…
(Yes, The Dreaded Virus has hit our home)
I’m hearing consistent themes emerge from my conversations with business leaders. With anybody.

  • “I never knew how resilient our team could be under pressure and in the middle of a storm of change”

  • “I have learned more about leadership in 4 weeks than I learned in 4 years!”

  • “I never knew what amazing, thoughtful, caring neighbours we had around us”

  • “I never realised how creative our children could be. How we all could be!”

But here’s what stands out for me:

  • “I always dreamed of a life that was more balanced… calmer… more family-focused.
    And now I’m living that dream!”

  • “So… Why on earth would we want to go back to living the manic life I lived before?!”

  • “Why did I assume that we had to do all those toxic things… just to get on; to get ahead?”

The answers to living more generously…
to living at a slower pace…
to being more with those we love most…
to being more ‘balanced’, physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually…
to being more kind, more considerate, more selfless of the (essential) strangers around us…
to finding time to really, really think about what really, really matters…

Those answers were right in front of us all the time!
But it has taken a tragedy to get us to rip off our blindfolds; our focus-on-this-goal-in-front-of-you blinkers!

Last week, our 25 year old daughter, Briony, pointed out that people in frenetic, un-neighbourly, noisy, choking London…
well, their bodies are moving at a much slower pace. They’ve literally slowed down.

Our Australian son-in-law, Steve, is working from home…
Daily besotted, and regularly playing with, his newborn son.

“So, why on earth would I want to “Go Back To Normal”?”
Is the question I’m hearing again and again and again.

Like every generation before us…
We’re being taken back to school.
The curriculum is tough.
But the lessons can create more Beautiful Beings.

Let’s pray we learn what’s being taught this time.