Powering Strong Communities

Making lemonade: A positivity top 10 list

“Prosperity is not without many fears and disasters; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.” – Francis Bacon


“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan


“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit


As I was thinking about this blog, I couldn’t side-step the fact that we are still in an unsettled time with the pandemic continuing to cause deaths worldwide, a divisive federal election, and a real divide in how people assess the truth via social and other media. Besides these more macro issues, on the micro side, many of us are managing the roles of worker, teacher, parent, and caregiver – but none of them very well. I am particularly flummoxed by the role of Zoom presenter, which entails ensuring my lighting, audio, makeup and hair are screen-worthy, on top of making sure the content is accurate. My staff recently got me a light to improve my look (read: to make me look slightly less old) during online meetings that reminds me of something out of Hollywood.

With all this continued suffering, turmoil, and uncertainty, there are the things that would never have happened without the pandemic, like the Hollywood light helping me (maybe) look younger on Zoom. These are – dare I say it – positive, good, heartening. To demonstrate, I am going to share my top 10 list of such good things:

  1. Having the time to watch some excellent documentaries, including “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. I’m not a huge professional basketball fan, but I was riveted. The quote above is an homage to Mr. Jordan and quite applicable to this blog.
  2. Being forced – in my work and personal life – to embrace platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc., more fully. My fellow staff at APPA are already thinking about how we leverage these platforms to reach more of our members and provide them more value.
  3. The importance — no, necessity — of in-person interactions. A corollary to #9. We are human beings after all and need it. But not for everything. For strategy, networking, relationship-building and nuance? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
  4. Walking around my neighborhood, and even other people’s neighborhoods, a lot. Besides reminding me that walking can be healthy if done regularly and for long enough, I have had time to admire the well-manicured lawns, recent renovations and sometimes “quirky” styles of my neighbors.
  5. Digging into an amazing series of podcasts (another corollary, this time to #7). I cannot say enough about “Hardcore History” by Dan Carlin. So good (that is, if you are a total history geek like I am)!
  6. Remembering how many of our fellow Americans are essential workers. Can we even count the ways they have kept us all up and running? Electric (nothing runs without it), healthcare, medicine and vaccines, sanitation, water, wastewater, communications/internet (reminder: these run on electricity, too), farming, ranching, food processing and packaging, grocery and convenience stores, transportation (planes, trains, trucks, ships, cars), military, first response, dispatch, mail and delivery, construction, building and machine maintenance…the list goes on.
  7. Spending a lot more time with our pets — whether from all the walking (again see #7) or because many are still working from home. Pet adoptions are up, too.
  8. A renewed (okay, a new) appreciation for camping. My family has done a lot of it in recent months, and I have to say, there is something unique and amazing about waking up and frying some bacon over a campfire.
  9. Not traveling so much for work, but also missing travel at the same time. Paradox.
  10. Spending more time with my family. But not just spending time with them — pushing the pause button and doing things we have never done together or haven’t done often because we have had other priorities. The clearing of our schedule was cathartic – at least for about two weeks. As I start to add to my schedule again, I hope I am doing so a bit more mindfully.

What about you? What positives have emerged for you as we, together, face this pandemic?