What gifts have you received during the COVID era?

Recently my wife and I were sitting on the porch drinking our morning tea. My wife was reading me a new affirmation she had received via social media about how COVID has presented the world with unique opportunities to reprioritize and focus on what is most important, yadda, yadda, yadda…

I am sure like me you have received many of these affirmations and videos. Many of them rung true, some even touched and inspired me.

In the same spirit, I asked my wife: “What gifts have WE received so far during the COVID era?

My wife and I generally feel very blessed in our lives and we frequently count our blessings. This has especially been the case recently as we know that COVID has had devastating effects on many people in terms of lost loved ones, serious illness and loss of livelihood.

I challenged my wife to share her views on “What net new gifts have we received as a direct result of the COVID era? In other words, what good things have happened to us that would not have otherwise occurred without the pandemic?”

We came up with a list of things that were meaningful to us. Here are a few of them:

  1. We grew closer to our kids
  2. Our kids grew closer between themselves
  3. We spent more quality time and grew closer as a family
  4. My daughter had wanted to change her job for a long time, but she was too comfortable. Her employer had to shut down the business, and she was temporarily laid off, which gave her the opportunity and courage to resign and start working on a new direction
  5. We completed a few projects in our home that were on our ‘bucket’ list for a long time
  6. I significantly improved my classical guitar performance.
  7. Our garden is looking more beautiful than ever…

While traditional and social media keep pumping the notion of looking at the half-full part of the glass and finding the silver lining in the COVID era, I am not sure how many of us truly feel and own it.

Most of us probably dedicate a big part of our mindshare to coping and managing our work/home life, another part to keeping updated with information and relationships, and the rest to hoping, wishing and waiting for things to get back to ‘normal’.

How much time do we really spend on acknowledging our ‘COVID gifts’ and enjoying them?

I invite you to do the exercise of listing all your COVID gifts. You could do it alone or with your loved ones.

When you do it, keep your list specific and real. Don’t censor or judge. Don’t disqualify any gift because it is ‘too small’. If it is something that enriched your life and you feel that in reality it wouldn’t have naturally or easily happened without the COVID era, count it in.

If you come up empty-handed and you feel you didn’t receive any gifts it could be for two reasons:

  1. You are too self-critical or cynical. In this case, be more generous with yourself and find the gifts that probably exist. Alternatively, ask someone who knows you well and help you see the gifts that you received and have not acknowledged.
  2. You are not taking advantage of this era and living as fully as you can. If this is the case, it is never too late. Start now. Connect with your loved ones and friends. Use any extra time to complete something you have been wanting to achieve for a while. Read a book, learn something, be creative, watch a Netflix series, clean out a corner in your home or help someone else.

There are always gifts. You just have to be ready and willing to see and own them.

Founder and President of Quantum Performance Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in generating total alignment and engagement in organizations.

His work has encompassed a broad range of industries including banking, telecommunications, manufacturing, entertainment, real estate, retail, startups and non-profits.

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