Episode 46 – Thriving in Virus

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It’s an incredible time to be alive! We’ve gotten through tough times before. It’s just that this time it’s impacting the entire world in much of the same ways all at once.

Still, whenever there is an increase of the negative there is always an outpouring of opportunity.

What will you do with the changes to life that you face right now? What if this is a chance to re-think everything you are doing?

Tune in for some reminders from the past. We got through experiences like this in the past. We can get through new experiences now.

It’s a time to survive and …thrive!

Episode 46 Show Notes

Episode 46 Transcript

This is Rebecca Clark. Episode 46. Thriving in Virus This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk way hard with things in the midst of the cove? It 19 Pandemic Corona virus? And it’s April 2020 and I don’t try to put dates in most of these podcast episodes because I’m hopeful that the topics kind of live on that. Most of them are principles based. But I wanted to share dates in this particular episode because some of those dates have meaning to all of us listening.

And there will be different meaning to different listeners but their shared events in some way on September 11th 2001 it was a beautiful day in the Washington D. C area, and I worked for a virtual company. It was an Internet startup, teachers teachers dot com, and before my work day started, I typically would put on my tennis shoes and go on a bike ride or walk, and that often involved riding my bike right by the Pentagon and over the Memorial Bridge and to the Lincoln Memorial and a little bit around the National Mall.

And then I’d come back to Pentagon City, where I lived at the time. That day. It was different. I was doing a favor for a new friend. She needed me to create a poster for her to market some kind of singing event where some up and coming singer was going to teach voice lessons or something to the effect of that at George Mason University. So I went out to George Mason University. I went to the music building and asked permission and put up a couple of these posters for them to get the word out that this singer would be their particular dates.

They could sign up, pay money and go get some vocal training. As I was driving back from George Mason University on Route 66 I randomly turned on the radio and turned it to country music station that I was kind of flipping the channels and I heard some people in a panic, and I stopped on the station, so, like what is going on? And it sounded like they were talking about some little airplane and hit a building in New York, and they were just panicked. And one of the announcers of saying, OK, can you calm down for a minute and like, Tell me what’s happening?

And so I kind of had this in my head not thinking much of it. And I thought, Wow, you know, don’t know what’s going up there, but there’s some little airplane that just hit a building and that’s not good. And I got to my parking spot parked in my car. And instead of going up the back way to my apartment, which is very high up, 12 storeys up, I thought, I’ll go around the front of the building and get the mail from the day before and I still remember where I was at that moment because I was walking up the sidewalk, probably about 40 feet from the front door of a very large apartment complex.

And I just had this overwhelming feeling that I would remember this day for the rest of my life. That that well, that’s kind of odd, But okay, I go up and get my mail. I go upstairs, I go and start to work on my computer, and at that point I was actually working. My bedroom is a bedroom plus office because I had roommates and I had this great view out this 12th storey window of the Pentagon City mall and the Pentagon, and I could see some of the monuments in DC in the distance.

So is a wonderful set up. And then I remembered, Oh, I haven’t taken my morning walk And so you know, it’s It’s around. I don’t know, 8 30 or something. I’d have to really look up. The time’s right that everything happened. But it was in the morning and in that 8 to 9 ish AM time, period. And so I thought, OK, I’m gonna go put my tennis shoes on the living room and I’m going to turn on the TV and see if it says anything about this New York thing. And that was interesting in and of itself, right, cause first of all, I’m not in my car in the mornings at that point in my life, and I turn on the radio to some obscure station in the car, and then I go turn on the TV, which I never turned on.

The TV in the morning. That’s never been a habit of mine in my life. And that day I was just like, you know, I kind of want to find out more about this airplane that hit the Pentagon. So I turn it on and I see, like, for a minute or so that this was not a small airplane. This was a large airplane like, Whoa, that’s crazy. But okay, I’ll check into that later. And then I had to go back into my bedroom for a minute, and I sat down at the computer just to make sure, you know, my boss hadn’t sent an email or something I needed to respond to you really quick.

And there must have been something cause I stop for a minute and type something. And then I heard this loud bomb noise like, What is that? And I don’t know how quickly I looked, but I turned and looked out the window and I saw this ball of fire near the Pentagon. And in that moment everything changed because before that point, I’d lived in D. C. A Year two at that point, and we always joked with people that we live by the Pentagon. We either live in the safest or most dangerous spot in the world.

In that moment, I had my answer right, because, like, Wow, what just happened? And then toe look on the ground and I saw these construction workers like running toward the sound. Now we were probably almost 1/2 mile away, like I would have to measure that, because when you have huge buildings like that, you think, Oh, it’s just across the street or it’s just two streets over when really those air massive streets. So it’s probably almost half a mile. Plus, there’s a Pentagon parking lot, and that’s fairly large.

But I could see that side of the Pentagon, and I just kind of stood there stunned. Then I turned around to my computer, and I’ve saved this email and I wrote to my boss, I’m out of here. A bomb hit the Pentagon, and I sent it, which freaked him out on the other end. But all the phones were jammed by that point, right? No one could communicate. We didn’t know that till a day or two later that everyone was trying to call everyone, but no one could get through.

But I just stood there. I didn’t go anywhere, even though I just e mailed him and said I’d go somewhere. So it was almost like the movies. Am I the only one at the movies that gets mad at the person that there’s an obvious danger and the nice freeze? And you’re like, What are you doing? Or the like? Stop to kiss someone? Like what? Why are you kissing them right now? Get out! Danger. And yet I stood there and I did not know what to do. Now I don’t know how long it was.

It could have been three minutes, 5 10 but one of my roommates called me. She worked in D. C. And she said, Rebecca, will you please take pictures? And so I have a couple of pictures of smoke rising from that building, and I’m glad surely Houston’s called me. That was a very pivotal moment in my life. It changed everything. Within a couple of days, there were no airplanes flying over our apartment. Every two or three minutes, it became silent in the air, but people banded together. We would walk over to the Costco and stand in long lines and we talked to people and we would share where we were when it happened and people would share that.

They were in a huge traffic jam that lasted the whole day where they shared, they couldn’t get on the metro, so they had to walk home. And then when you finally got a hold of people in New York, you found out all of the crazy stuff that happened with trains that made it possible for some people to live That would have been in certain buildings at that time. I hope you understand why I shared the first part of this story because I would have been walking right there at that spot where the Pentagon was attacked.

That was right where I would have been. I calculated it out and like, I cannot believe I was not there. But simple, minor little changes to my habits that day put me in a different place, put me in a safe space that I did not know was safe. At the time we heard there were more airplanes coming. And so you spent all your time on the lookout, and then I still remember being out there on the sidewalk doing some kind of shopping excursion. And when we saw the first airplanes coming out of the National airport, a Reagan National airport and how we all stopped and watched to make sure it was okay that there was nothing wrong a few weeks after that experience, I actually headed home to my parents in Indianapolis and lived for another eight months, and I couldn’t see it then.

But I saw it soon after that. I was having some kind of post traumatic stress response, and I took that with Meet Indianapolis. Every plane in the sky. I watched until I couldn’t watch it anymore. I want to make sure it was okay, and I had to find someone to take my spot in the apartment to cover the rent. It changed the dynamics of that apartment cause the others didn’t leave. My job was virtual, so I could go do it wherever I needed to do it. At the time, it also changed the trajectory of some of my choices.

I enrolled in an MBA program and a few, maybe two months into it into the prerequisites. A friend sent me an email that sent me into a different Masters degree program, and I dropped the n b A. And I came back to Virginia. As someone enrolled in graduate school, I made different choices. And then the fall of 2002 which was that year after we experienced the sniper attacks in Northern Virginia, Washington, D. C. Maryland, Baltimore. Right. Remember that? And that was scarier than September 11th because it just kept on going.

I lived about two blocks from the building I had to go to every day for grad school is a full time program. Eyes their day, a night, and a roommate would have to give me a ride, Right? We gave each other rides to campus, and if we walked, we would make sure we called to say, Hey, I got there at night when you went to the grocery stores. There was hardly anyone in the parking lot. I still remember one night when my roommates and my boyfriend we crammed into a car.

We’re like, Okay, have you looked around the parking lot? Okay. On your mark. Get set, Go. We’d all rush out the door, slam the doors, run into the store, go get food. We would stay away from the front of the store until the very end when we’d have to pay for our food. And then we go. 123 go or we’d say, OK, you go, we’ll get the car, bring it right up to the front and we run into the car with Dr Home Run into our house. I still remember my roommate and Collier Watkins and I had to go up for a work meeting in Baltimore.

We kind of went through an area we shouldn’t have. And yet we weren’t scared of that area, even though people were walking in the streets around our car and everything when we sat at a stop light. We were afraid when we had to stop and get gas where he had to get out of the car. And we’re like trying to bend down and hide behind the car and get gas right. Who cares if it’s half full? Just get in, let’s get going And we would live our entire life that way that fall until they caught the snipers.

That was a long time ago. Now those experiences air almost 20 years ago, almost 18 19 whatever those experiences that I had in the Washington D. C area that time changed, how we shopped, changed how he went to school, changed how we thought about everyone we met. And there were a lot of unknowns to both experiences and all those experiences brought out a lot of fear. Ah, lot of hatred. Ah, lot of insecurities. But at the same time, it brought out creativity because people had to work within different constraints and people’s daily habits had to change to fit the new circumstance.

And because of that, it forced our minds into different ways of thinking and dealing with the problems at hand. And so here we are now with the Corona virus, not knowing how this story ends, not knowing if we’re in the middle of it or just the beginning of it or where we are. But now it’s different, because now we’re all online. Where in our social networks were talking, we’re sharing. We’re using our other methods of communication. Ah, lot more. And so it’s interesting to watch to see with all of the advances in technology between now and 2001 there’s also been an increase of fake news.

There’s been an increase of opinions being shared and there’s an increase of everything both good and bad. And so we have a choice toe, learn how to self managed during these times and go. We’ve been through stuff before and we’re still here and we’re gonna figure this out. We figured it out in other situations in our lives. We’ll figure it out again, and it’s gonna be tough, and there’s going to be hard ache and pain more so in some than others. There’s going to be some people that are really afraid and scared during this time.

They’re going to be people that have what one of my professors in a certification course I had called pre post traumatic stress. I know some of you have this personality type where you live the situation before it happens and you feel all the pain of it before it even happened. And there are a lot of people feeling that right now there are a lot of us in homes sharing space with everyone 24 7 and we’re not used to doing that. There’s going to be goodness in that. I’ve seen more people taking walks with their families outside at this point, right?

Maybe be on this point. We won’t be doing that. But I’ve seen more family taking walks together. But on the flip side, there may be some people that air in more harmful situations because they are at home all day. And so what do we do? Well, this is our time to figure it out. It’s a time of opportunity. A time for gratitude, a time for creativity. It’s a time to take a look at our life and go, Wow. I really don’t know how long it will last it being our life, not the virus.

But we can wonder about that too. How long is my life gonna be? What will I wish I would have done with my life? What am I doing right now? Am I doing the best I can at my home? My doing the best I can with the people in it. Am I going to have to let go of certain expectations for a certain time? Is this the time to de junk my house? Is this the time to allow more TV for my child instead of claiming I’m really good at not having my child have screen time.

Is this the time to think of people that are alone and reach out to them? Or is this the time to pursue a hoppy that you always said you do? If you had time and you may now have two more hours of time a day because you’re not in a commute, there’s opportunity whenever there is a new constraint or new limitation or a new circumstance. And this is a unique situation where it’s happening to the entire world at once, and everything slows down in some respects and other things speed up.

I know a lot of people that are working harder and Maur because everything’s gone online and they’re uniquely positioned to support that. And so how wonderful that they have work and they have a lot of it, and other people are now out of work as they’re out of work. Maybe this is a chance to reassess and go. What skill do I need to learn more about? What do I need to improve? What’s a new way I can look at what I d’oh so that I can offer that up when I return toe work?

I am connected to people that air very fearful and hurting right now. And I’m also connected to people that are entering into the best work that they have ever done in their lives. And if you are listening to this podcast, you are someone that is positioned to offer up the best work you’ve ever offered in your life because you’re listening regularly to people that want to do their best work that want to serve. You understand technology enough to find a podcast and understand what it is and what it is not.

And so you’re perfectly positioned if you choose to do so, to use this time to up your game and prepared to help other people up their game, whether it’s you yourself, whether it’s someone in your family, whether it’s to help a coworker, a neighbor, a friend doesn’t matter who it is. And it doesn’t matter how many people but the attitude of looking at this as a time that has been granted to you a time and a space to rethink life, to use the constraints to get healthier, stronger, more savvy and to reach out and help those in your human orbit in the way that best makes sense for you and your particular circumstances, and all of us get to do this from a place of faith because we have zero evidence that it will work out.

And so I encourage you to give yourself some time to reflect on what this time means for you. I chose to do that last week, and I gained lots of insights and started creating some things that I had been putting off. And I have a tremendous sense of peace at this moment in time, and I realized that could change at any time. But for now, I am grateful for this piece that I have amidst a storm, because it allows me to continue creating to continue offering up my best work, and I am hopeful that I can help others do so in the process.

And I know I will, and I know you will. So let’s get to it. Let’s not hang out all day. Let’s not work so hard that we lose our capacity to think right, But this is a special moment to discover who we are and what we can offer up. Best of luck to you. We’re all in this together and we’ll get through it. Have a great I am ready to help you move your mind and move your desk. I am a coach. If you’d like to work with me, go to move your desk dot com and select the work with me Tab.

We can put our minds together and help you offer up your bus to work.

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