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Adapting to the “New Normal”

two arrows: "old way" versus "new way"For more than two years, I’ve been writing these blogs based on life experiences and knowledge that I’ve attained over the years. I’ve written about a variety of wealth management issues, community, and health issues. This year, life has been changed by something invisible to the naked eye—something most of us did not see coming. I am the first to admit that the extent of COVID-19, its impact on the global economy, and the changes we’re experiencing in this “new normal” have been greater than I had anticipated.

Although this year has been challenging, it has provided me the unique opportunity to see things from a different perspective. In the midst of adversity and unprecedented circumstances, I’ve seen people:

  1. Rise to challenges and choose to thrive OR
  2. Break down and become blinded to opportunities

As we approach what feels like day 1,000 of 2020, it is time to have a look at what has happened and begin thinking about how we can adapt to the “new normal” rather than succumb to the heaviness that we may feel rising in the air.

Learning new technology and a new way of life has been challenging. Still, I have found that it is truly beneficial to work for progress over perfection. While we look forward to advancement in therapies— and perhaps even vaccine(s) —it will be counter-productive to hide in a foxhole until the virus is gone. Waiting it out is not a tangible option. Regardless of the advancements made by the doctors and scientists, COVID-19 could be present in our world for a long time.

The “new normal” in medicine

liquid medicine on a tableWhile we wait for “normalcy” to return, the show must go on. We have good things to look forward to, even though it might not seem like it right now. One example is the possibility of unprecedented medical discoveries amidst the research that is happening now. In addition to a likely vaccine, we are hearing regularly of advancements in treatments and detection. As often happens with medical research, discoveries are made that were not the focus of the original investigation but are useful in treating other diseases.

On top of vaccines and therapeutics, advancements are also being made in how drugs might be delivered outside of a hospital setting. As we gain a clearer view of research without the political overtones, this may prove to be the most significant period of medical advancements in our lifetime.

The “new normal” in business

Aside from medical advancements, we may look forward to new efficiencies in the world of business as well. I recently spoke to someone whose business was dramatically impacted when the economy shut down. He certainly has strong opinions about the shutdown, but rather than letting his situation define him, he looked at every aspect of his business to see how he could adapt to the “new normal.” I’m pleased to say that his revenue in August 2020 was nearly 10% above August 2019. While year-to-date revenue is behind last year, the review of his business and the resulting changes are showing promise of returning to pre-shutdown levels.

The “new normal” in our everyday lives

Even if you don’t run a business, you can be a part of the recovery effort; many organizations all over are in need of assistance (your assistance!). A few weeks ago, I was at a Rotary Club meeting where we had the privilege of hearing a presentation from a local school board member who spoke about restarting schools in the current environment. As we typically do, we inquired of this man: “what can we do?” Among the several suggestions was one that specifically stood out to me: helping the schools’ maintenance crew. Due to current conditions, the staff at this school has an added responsibility of deep cleaning the schools. While non-staff members cannot enter the schools, things like ground maintenance can be handled by non-employees when school is not in-session. In response to this presentation, one of the Rotary Club members volunteered to bring his riding mower to one of the schools and cut the grass. While it may seem small, this effort to rise to the “new normal” gave an opportunity to a school staff member to attend to more direct matters within the school.

He also mentioned that water fountains in this particular school couldn’t be used by students unless they were “hands-free.” While there are ongoing discussions on how to develop a more permanent solution to this issue, members of the Rotary Club once again brainstormed ways to adapt to this “new normal” and delivered more than 2,000 bottles of drinking water to a local elementary school to temporarily alleviate the issue.

two businessmen facing different directionsAll in all, in this season there lies a choice: we can either turn our backs on what’s happening and wait until everything becomes as it was before, or we can choose to adapt to this “new normal” by stepping beyond ourselves and choosing to add value to the world around us.

In the midst of learning to adapt, we may even find that some of these adaptations become normal in the process.

 

October 2020

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