Sometimes it is indeed best to appreciate the journey, rather than grow increasingly anxious about reaching the perceived destination
When I was five – a really, really long time ago – my sisters and I used to call, “Are we nearly there yet?” from the back seat of my parents’ Austin Maxi on every single trip. How boring we must have felt the journeys, and how tedious our refrain must have been for the grown-ups.
COVID-19 and lockdown really are like a long car journey to an unknown destination
When I became a driver and I talked with my dad about the distractions of having us kids playing in the sunny boot of whichever car we had (oh, way before seatbelts in the back!) as we got progressively bigger, he surprised me with his answer.
He never really noticed, he said, because he was always looking at the apex of the road, just at the point where the curve of the road disappeared from view, and he was always planning ahead. It was my mum, he said, who was the heroine of the piece, putting up with us and calming us.
We have all become so much more human through our shared experience
For the past few months I’ve been meeting my clients’ and my colleagues’ kids. I’ve seen them climbing over mum and dad during meetings – and if I’m honest I have thoroughly loved all the subtle and not-so-subtle affirmations that we are all human and all in this together. I’ve also commiserated with those who are both working and teaching and taking kids on a probably fairly tedious journey through unknown territory. There are heroes all around us.
My colleagues in particular have been incredible, from our marketing assistant Mia who joined us on lockdown day and has truly been thrown in at the deep end, to our management consultants and leadership coaches. They have so generously volunteered their time to anyone who wants it and have enabled us to open the doors at 2Y3X to anyone in need of advice or help.
I’ve been using the time to add many more resources for existing clients, to teach people how 2Y3X works and, with my co-founder Frank Kelcz, to expand our international network. We’ve met some incredible, decent human beings during our own particular journey.
Keeping an eye on the horizon with feet firmly planted in the present
But thinking of the road: we should keep an eye on the apex, on the farthest point we can see in the curve of the road ahead. While we continue our tactical interventions and assistance, we must also keep our focus on what is coming. We’ve been helping our clients to plan ahead for their customers, so we should be doing it for ourselves too.
The world we lived in has changed. The new connections, the new recognition of our shared journey, will change the way we do business in the future, not least because we will likely go towards a more decentralised, less landlord-centric model of working; flexitime will no longer be even up for question; virtual meetings will have become normal; virtual workshops will be desirable, often more efficient, and more inclusive.
So, it is time for all of us to start thinking about planning ahead!