182 countries are currently struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are on well into the “Shelter in Place” order and another to wear masks in public that our Governor instituted for the state of Illinois.
The medical necessity for controlling or “bending the curve” of the spread of the coronavirus seems to be very clear. The personal and financial impacts of this pandemic are being felt everywhere as the scope of this develops.
The mandated isolation grates on us and, as social creatures, enforced social distancing – which I agree with and follow – is unnatural and impacts our sense of BELONGING.
One of the key measures in a new team assessment survey I have begun using contains great insight into our current situation. I would like to chat about BELONGING which is defined as:
Valuing and respecting differences; fostering an environment were all experience the fullness of membership and affiliation.
Let’s break this down:
Valuing and Respecting Differences
Early in my career, I worked for the consumer electronics division of RCA. We were number one for a market share of color televisions in the US the entire time I worked there.
I was chatting with a college friend the other day who also worked there, and we reminisced about the interesting and brilliant people we had the privilege of working with.
I learned a great deal about organizations and how the best ideas were always the result of thoroughly thrashing around concepts and designs to come up with the best solutions, whether it was for a color TV design or during the critical discussions we had about succession planning.
I was quite junior to many of the folks I interacted with, but I learned to find my own voice and make a contribution or two.
I took great pride in working for a well-known brand like RCA in establishing my early career there.
The Fullness of Membership and Affiliation
I can think of the wide variety of business, community, academic, church and professional groups I have worked for, with or served during my life and career.
My family comes first before all of these.
I either valued and enjoyed my participation in each or moved on. I seem to have reflected on an awful lot of them with all the time – traditionally a limited commodity – I have had on my hands.
Thinking about belonging when we are greatly limited in our ability to connect with others may seem like a counterintuitive idea. It has provided me the opportunity to binge-watch a lot of shows on Netflix and Amazon that I never had time for, but it’s also opened my eyes to many other ways to connect that at least partially fulfills my need for belonging.
This is not an exhaustive or original list of activities or opportunities to connect but hopefully, it may spark an idea for you or open an avenue for reaching out and connecting.
- Set up an instant message Family Chat. That’s not a technical thing it’s just the name one of my kids chose to call this for us. At this point, there is a long string of ideas, comments and youtube links that keep us connected.
- Zoom: I wish I bought stock in this 6 months ago. This is an easy-to-use way to create audio and video chat opportunities. Sunday Church service now comes via Zoom. We are trying a Zoom chat for interested owners in my building, including a virtual Cocktail party this Saturday.
- Connecting with friends, clients, former classmates. I realize Facebook is a ubiquitous presence for this but make a list of anyone you have thought about calling over the years and call away. Look through your contacts. Enjoy the sound of their voice and reminisce. People are usually flattered and appreciative of such opportunities to catch up. You may be surprised.
- Organize your photos, family videos, pictures, and other memorabilia. It’s never too late to sift through the stuff you value and thin things out for stuff you don’t. We had a thousand photos. We sorted through the ones everyone valued the most, had them digitized and everyone got a copy for themselves. I did this years ago from some of my Dad’s 2500 slides as well.
- Paint a room or two in your home. I’ll tell you if that turns out good or bad sometime next week.
- Clean up your emails and/or contact lists. This is somehow always “long overdue”.
There’s nothing terribly insightful about this post, but I did want to reach out and I hope some of the suggestions and insights might be of value to you.
I wish you all the best during these trying times.
Stay safe and healthy.