Each of us is coping with our reactions to the Coronavirus Crisis in different ways. Our opinions and reactions are based on our own circumstances — how our health and businesses are faring, how much money we have in the bank, where we are sheltering-in-place and whom we are sheltering with, how our loved ones are faring, and so much more. Because while we are all be affected by the same Coronavirus Crisis, we are not being affected in the same ways. A couple of paragraphs from an essay by an unknown author explains this more eloquently than I can:
“I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be.
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Or vice versa.
For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial and family crisis and mental health crisis. Some are safe in their homes while others must go into the front line and face this virus head on.”
Even in the same family we each experience the storm in different ways. For example, I’m working from home. I’m finishing my new book, shooting videos, talking to clients, and creating blog posts like this one. My wife, on the other hand, puts on her scrubs every morning and heads to the medical office to see patients. She comes home to the same shelter I’ve been in, but she spent her days doing very different things and dealing with very different problems.
Even though we share our lives together, Gloria and I are in the same storm but not the same boat.
It’s the same for you, your family, and your friends. You and each of them are experiencing this crisis in very different ways.
And, it’s the same for your clients and customers. Each of them is dealing with their situation in their own way, with their own problems and concerns and their own solutions.
Continuing your profitable relationships with them, and positioning you or your company for further business with them, therefore, requires that you understand what they are going through. Not what you think they’re going through, nor what you would do if you were them, but actually what they are feeling, thinking, and doing.
What’s the easiest way to find this out?
It’s simple. Just ask them.
Drop them a note, send them a text or an email, or give them a call. Ask them how they are. Ask them what they’re going through. Ask them how they’re feeling. Ask them how they’re coping. And then do two more things:
Shut up and listen to what they say. Really listen.
Don’t editorialize, don’t correct, don’t try to help, don’t try to demonstrate how smart you are. Just listen. If you do this sincerely and properly, most people will tell you exactly what they need. More important, they’ll tell you what they want.
Your work, then, becomes figuring out how to use what you know and what you can do to help them become who they want to be. Thanks to the Coronavirus Crisis, that’s now your job. That’s the work you have to do.
Once again, someone has said it much more eloquently than I could. A stanza in country singer Jason Isbell’s song Something More Than Free goes like this:
“I don’t think on why I’m here or where it hurts,
I’m just lucky to have the work.
Sunday morning I’m too tired to go to church.
But I thank God for the work, I thank God for the work.”
Bruce. Definitely one of your best.
Once again, your wisdom is so refreshing.
The continued stream of uninvited emails that I am receiving, from folks that I have never heard of, offering their assistance,( which is really an excuse to sell me something), is incredibly annoying.
Thank you Bruce for your terrific words, articles and inspirations. I would like to share one of mine. These words were given to me from a women I had known for many years. She suffered many loses in her life. When I asked her how she managed to always be smiling even though life had been very tough for her. Her answer : I am not where I want to be, but I am grateful for where I am. Last year I read something that you wrote, it was very powerful. I did not remember that I had read it in one of your blogs, I didn’t remember how it got into my head. I repeated it to some people that really needed to hear those words. It made a difference in their lives. “Make your scar your star” Thank you.
Excellent! Right on point. Thank you.
What I particularly love about your blogs for the past few weeks is that they are right on point yet so comfortable. You give us great insight without being preachy. The message is accessible and valuable. And I absolutely love the idea that we are in the same storm but different boats. That could be said for all of life, right? We’re all here on the planet but taking different paths. It is our responsibility to understand the paths of others. Thanks, buddy.
This was perfectly said and much appreciated at a time like this.
We all get affected differently by the storm and for some it might regress progress and for others it might pull them into a different shore out of necessity.
This is my favorite post I’ve read all quarantine. Beautifully said. Also – Thank You for practicing what you preach! Your phone call the other day, out of the blue, helped me shift a few things I hadn’t thought about or seen – and I’ve even changed some things on the web site, and working on more of what we discussed. You’re a good man, and I appreciate you and this post.
Did you say you have a new book coming out? I learned a lot from _All About Them._ Can’t wait to see the new one. Can you give us any inside intel on the topic?
This is the most profound thing I have read about how we “all” are doing once the COVID-19 crisis began. We are in the same storm but not in the same boat. BOOM. Thank. you for sharing this concept and also sharing from YOUR life in illustrating it. I will be forwarding this to my family and posting on my FB page!
This is such a great piece on communications and how we can all do it better,