How to deal with a pandemic? Ask the smartest people you know.
Like many people, I spent the first days of the pandemic in a state of surreal shock, trying to make sense of a world turned upside down. During those early days, I relied heavily on my mindfulness and meditation practices simply to stay grounded and relieve anxiety. I turned to government and traditional news sources to find needed information to mitigate fear and reduce stress. I navigated life in the bubble, turning inward and focusing on staying connected remotely to family and close friends and had difficult conversations with clients and colleagues as their businesses ground to a halt. Life became quiet and introspective. As I observed my feelings, I noticed a growing welling up inside—a sense of possibility, a strange feeling of optimism, that maybe… just maybe-- this crisis could awaken a new way of being in the world.
Around that time, I received an intriguing text message from Sean Moffitt of Futureproofing : Next , inviting me to a Zoom open forum about “COVID-19, and what might follow”. I felt a little prescient tingle and texted back my yes. It was early days, but on the Zoom, I stepped into the already fast-moving river that was the start of the Grey Swan Guild.
Today, just a few scant weeks later we are a global community of 200+ sense makers that acts as an action-based think tank. Made up of established experts, rising stars, and impassioned agents for positive change across many professional domains, geographies, and demographics, we formed in response to the first shocks felt in those early days of COVID-19.
This week we launched a report and a website that captures 60 diverse points-of-view from around the world, all of us trying make sense and offer perspective on the effects of the pandemic. As well, we offer a set of sensemaking tools—polls, trackers, and primary and secondary research to inform and inspire change.
I’m proud of my involvement. I believe that individual action has an impact, and that the global pandemic, beyond its nature as a serious crisis, offers us an opportunity to rethink, reset and reinvent how we look at business, culture, work, and what it means to support the common good. Our work is collaborative. These are some of the smartest people I know. Our aim is to surface, inspire, and invite additional evidence-based observations, perspectives, contributions and opportunities from those who are committed to affect and influence positive change. This is a mission I can get behind.
Crisis events, like the pandemic, can leave us feeling powerless, constrained by forces beyond our control. They also offer us an opportunity, not only to recognize our common humanity, but to step into personal leadership. We can awaken to each other, and to the needs of the collective. We can say yes to positive action. We are not powerless.
Besides doing my part to usher in global change (a woman has to have a hobby, right?) there were two other areas of enquiry that emerged prominently for me:
You can read my thoughts on these areas on the Grey Swan Guild website. I heartily join my voice to a bevy of others—making sense of the pandemic, reimagining the future.
Why Grey Swan?
A “grey swan” is a term used to describe a potentially very significant event that is considered unlikely to happen but still possible. As there is a slight chance the event will occur, it should be anticipated, particularly as it could shake up civilization, the world economy, culture, marketplaces, workplaces and life.
A “guild” is an organization of persons with related interests, goals etc. especially one formed for mutual aid or protection.