Anticipating a better future

Curtis Sprouse

There is no denying that 2020 was a difficult year that presented global health, economic, and social challenges. The impact has changed all our lives. The magnitude of the challenges was as vast as the scope of impact—from significant loss of life within families, to modest inconvenience associated with one’s personal and professional lives.

Much has will be written about COVID-19’s impact on health, economics, and society. But as I reflect on the events of the last year, the thing I find most striking is how COVID-19 highlighted our need for connection and exposed the significant impact of isolation.

My family, friends, colleagues, and clients constantly comment on how they miss social interactions. They miss seeing and being with other people. They long for the time when they can go to parties, concerts, restaurants, movies, meetings, conferences, class, the shopping center, and many other events without concern for health and the need to distance and wear a mask.

This need for connection and in-person interaction is reflected in the behavioral data we capture during our client engagements. It is not surprising that stress levels increase and self-confidence levels drop. The fact that goodwill, care, and compassion for others has dropped for many (but not all) people we work with has amazed my colleagues and me. People are not feeling the love. The lack of personal connection and the constant use of web services like Zoom, WebEx, and Google meetings has caused people to become more transactional. They get online and they talk to each other, but the connection, the depth of conversation, and care associated with many of our in-person interactions has been diminished in the last 12 months.

As we begin the new year, it is typical to be optimistic. We traditionally set goals, establish resolutions, and have hope that the new year will bring prosperity and good health. At no time in recent history has that been more important to the well-being and productivity of all people. For those of us alive today, not since World War II has any one event impacted so many so quickly and so significantly. As we enter the new year, I hope and pray that we all take more time to connect with others, that we take more time to care for others, and that we take more time to show our appreciation for others. Do not relegate your efforts to those close to you. Work to connect beyond your network.

Strive to help and support the stranger, the new colleague, or the person you pass with regularity in the store. Do not let the mask stop you—it is easy to ignore someone or hide behind our masks and to use social distancing as an excuse. There will be a day when we do not need to wear a mask to go out in public, but that might not be for many months. Let’s not let COVID continue to impact how we feel about ourselves and others. Let us use the lessons of the past year to make a great effort to bring people to us to let them in, to let them know we are there to support them.

My hope and prayer for 2021 is that the year brings you all good health, economic security, and emotional strength. Strive to be a difference maker, and work to spread kindness and joy.  

Note: Skills, scores, profiles, or assessments referenced in this article refer to characteristics defined in the EurekaConnect Behavioral Dynamics program

About the author: Curtis R. Sprouse is the President and CEO of EurekaConnect, LLC. Curtis has spent more than 25 years building companies and consulting for hundreds of Fortune 500 companies.

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