There’s no playbook for this, but there is a play

BY BILL HORNER III, Publisher
Posted 3/20/20

For months now, I’ve been casting a look ahead to April and May and July, months where we have — or, we might say, had — much-anticipated travel plans.

Two out-of-state trips were scheduled …

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There’s no playbook for this, but there is a play

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Posted

For months now, I’ve been casting a look ahead to April and May and July, months where we have — or, we might say, had — much-anticipated travel plans.

Two out-of-state trips were scheduled in April (a short one mostly for work, a longer one mostly for pleasure), a major wedding anniversary jaunt during May (my wife Lee Ann and I celebrate our 30th in June, but we have a trip to Eastern Europe on the books a month before) and then a westward road trip with our best friends for July, taking us to, among other places, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, one of our favorite stops.

You likely have — or, you might say, had — travel plans for the spring or summer, too. A few Sundays ago, back when COVID-19 was called a novel coronavirus and it seemed something that might cause some disruption here, I began to think: April just might be a bust, but by May we’ll be golden. Then a week ago Sunday, as I planned my week and looked ahead, I thought: hmmm…it’s not looking good for our overseas trip, but surely we’ll find our way to the Rockies in the summer.

This past Sunday? Trying to figure out a way to make it to Monday.

With things changing so rapidly as the world reacts and responds to the virus’ spread, it’s difficult to keep up with the tide of information, new news and shifting realities. So it’s hard to imagine what will be on my mind as early as this coming Sunday, when once again I’ll cast a look ahead and…

Well, who knows.

The fact is there’s no playbook for a crisis like this. Life seems to have been canceled, but living isn’t, so it’s incumbent upon us to find solid footing where we can, be as nimble as possible, and be of good cheer in the midst of it all.

And also to think hard about what to do next.

I’ve quoted writer and teacher Seth Godin in this column before because I love his insights and wisdom. He posed an interesting question in a blog post this week that I think we should all consider.

React? Respond? Or initiate?

“That’s pretty much all that’s on offer,” he said.

So what to do? Reacting, he writes, “gives us visceral satisfaction and emotional release, and it almost always leads to bad outcomes.”

We’ve seen that the last couple of months, no doubt.

Responding, Godin says, “is smarter. It requires each of us to think hard about the action and emotion we seek to create after something is put on our desk.”

And the third choice?

Godin writes: “Initiating is ever easier and leveraged than ever before, which, surprisingly, also makes it more difficult to move up on our agenda. In normal times, it’s easy to get into a rhythm of simply responding. Someone else setting the agenda. When things are uncertain, it’s easy to react.”

But times of deep uncertainty, like where we are today, are, he says, “the single best time to initiate. We’re in for a slog, but there will be an end to it.”

There will be an end to it. But for now, he says: “Make things better by making better things.”

Let’s all put that on our calendars.

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