Everyone – all over the world – is suffering from Pandemic Fatigue. We are tired! Collectively as an industry dependent on social, physical face-to-face engagement, we’re tired of this virus. We’re tired of the impact on our businesses and facing an uncertain future. We’re tired of planning for one set of circumstances, only to be tasked with facing another – over, and over, and still over again. Business owners are tired of figuring out how to stay open. Employees are tired of experiencing job insecurity or are (unfortunately) looking for new sources of income. We’re definitely tired of the word, “PIVOT.”
Pandemic Myopia is different from Fatigue. Our entire life is virus-centric and virus-related. It’s kind of hard not to when simply going for a walk out the door requires a mask and hand sanitizers for most of us. In our business lives, chances are very good that the only webinars and virtual events you’ve attended in the last few months have been on the subject of the virus and its impact on our industry, or yet another virtual conference or exhibition. This is true for me as well.
Our entire world is myopic: short-sided, nearsighted, or in the case of this blog: narrowly focused. Perhaps too narrowly focused! A couple of weeks ago I attended a global networking session by Jeff Pulver (click here), a former US exhibition organizer who is an amazing connector of people, generator of content, and big ideas. He is one of the original adopters of Twitter not long after the platform made its debut at US-based SXSW (South by Southwest).
Held on Zoom and described as a “Social Experiment”, the global networking event consisted of a quick general explanation of the concept followed by three different breakout sessions. Attendees were asked to introduce ourselves and communicate our passions. We regrouped between each session for a 5-minute hosted conversation, and again at the end of the third breakout.
Honestly, it took me awhile to get into the spirit of the event, but after the first breakout, I was delighted. Smart people were sharing their life passions instead of discussing exhibitions or the COVID-19 virus. People were kind, eloquent and funny (at times). Everyone spoke.
After the event, it felt though I had drawn the first fresh breath of air in months. In a way, I had! I was suffering from an undiagnosed case of Pandemic Myopia, being narrowly focused on only a few things in life and had stopped paying attention to the larger world (bigger picture). By getting out of the usual routine and entering an unfamiliar world – if only for a short time, my perspective changed.
2020 has been a year of incredible stress. It’s been a year of change including months-long lockdowns, working/schooling at home, Netflix/Social Media/News binging, bread baking and Zooming/Teamsing/WhatsApping.
Consider reading a book in a genre you normally don’t. Attend a virtual event out of your normal or work-related interests. Reconnect with an old friend. For those of you fortunate enough to take a holiday this year, stay in the moment and absorb every second. Turn off your iPhone and leave those emails in your inbox where they belong.
Take off the blinders and break out of your Pandemic Myopic condition with 20/20 vision.