These days, it may not be ideal for me to talk about all of us being in this together. For many, the natural human need for togetherness is not being met, due to COVID-19. American citizens are formulating opinions about racial issues in our country that challenge us being together in thought. In addition, with a national election coming in a few days, our tendency is to pick a side and not be together. I have some thoughts to share with you on how we can be together when not together, despite today’s challenges.
How can we really be together when social distancing is advisable and mandated in many places? It is difficult. However, I have found success in an old and forgotten approach, one-on-one time. I know you are thinking this is overly simplified, and it may be for you. However, the last two months have proven to be great for me. I figured out how to have quality time with family and friends by spending time alone with them. For some, we have enjoyed time on the phone that was not rushed or driven by an agenda. For others it has been going for a quick coffee, a walk, or even a meal outdoors. The epiphany for me came when I realized I had stopped taking real time to engage with people consistently because we were always in a group meeting or seeking to complete our meeting agenda. My new strategy the past few weeks has been to spend quality time with individuals, twice per week. It has been great.
How can you be together when you frequently have to take or explain your position on issues regarding race? Almost everyone has an opinion, and it is difficult to be together in today’s racial climate. The passion people have around this topic challenges us and our togetherness. However, we can come together with great success if we make two important decisions. If we first decide that our opinion is just one opinion, not necessarily the right one, we can then be open to understanding others and their perspectives. If we also decide to make it a priority to listen for common ground, we will find a way to come together. By coming together, perhaps we can make positive changes.
Is it possible to be together in a country this divided by political lines? I say yes. We are in a time of political conflict. The original definition of conflict speaks to the intersection of chaos and opportunity. There is opportunity for us to thrive together by focusing on solutions to problems versus people on the opposing sides. If we come together and attack the problems that cause us to be in conflict, we will overcome our challenges. Let’s remove the chaos and seize the opportunity together.
Being together or not together is a choice. Even when we start in different places, we can finish together. Join me as I lead with integrity. We can do this together.