Build Your Tribe to Weather the Global Pandemic and Any Other Cat 5 in Life and Business. … I made it through the first wall of the storm and was just in the beginning of the second wave of the monster storm. I tested the sliding glass door that was my escape hatch and realised that I was trapped. I had no idea how I was going to be rescued. I didn’t know my neighbours, couldn’t reach my friends and, with everyone dealing with their own fallout, no one would be looking for me.
I was alone. I had made no post-catastrophe plan with anyone and the storm was still raging. It was the loneliest, most traumatic moment of my life – I had large communities of friends, thousands of social media connections, and none of them could come for me.
Have you ever found yourself in a crisis and felt like you had no one to talk to? The most recent landmark studies have shown that 40% of our population has no one to talk to. I never imagined that I was one of them. Yet, one day I was speaking with a friend of 10 years, sharing my hurricane stories with her. She told me that she had never seen me cry.
It was a revelatory reflection.
Build Your Tribe to Weather the Pandemic. In the time that I had known her, I had been through a divorce, business and financial challenges. How many times had I powered on alone through any number of crises and found myself unconsciously isolating?
Do you have any friends that might say the same thing to you?
In our current time of lawfully-imposed lockdown, for most of the world’s population, under the spectre of a global pandemic, we are all self-isolating as if our lives depend on it. And they may well do.
The critical question is, how well-prepared are you for long-term physical isolation – going on week 6 as of the time of this writing? Do you have the relationships in place or the necessary skills to create a community that you can count on in these “Category 5” situations. One that can help navigate the inevitable and often immobilising fear, loneliness, frustration, anger?
We have it easier during this pandemic, with Internet connectivity, than I did during the hurricanes when telecoms and electricity were down for months. But having virtual connections doesn’t necessarily mean that we are actually connected in a real way. What I discovered, when it became a matter of life and death, is that we all need someone who will come for us in a storm. We shouldn’t mistake social platform connections with the kind of community that will come for you.
Build Your Tribe to Weather the Pandemic
How do we find community when we are at our most vulnerable? At those times, we often find that the phone weighs a ton and asking for help is the last thing we are capable of doing in the moment that we need it most. You may be like me and have a blind spot to your own tendency to isolate or simply assume that you can handle whatever comes your way. I didn’t realise how complacent I was when, on the eve of the most powerful hurricane the BVI had ever seen heading directly for my house, I went home alone.
I had no exit plan, no way for anyone to check on my survival. I took for granted that I was a professional mariner/rescuer, navigator of businesses, boats and people, for decades. I never gave a second thought to my own survival. I certainly didn’t reach out to ask for any help when it became apparent that something beyond my capacity was headed my way. It was only months later that I realised that I didn’t know anyone who had been alone during the first of two Category 5 hurricanes in two weeks.
Community starts with recognising that we need help. Yet, It can be impossible to ask for that help for ourselves when we are at our most vulnerable. What got me over the hump was by first being a person who would be there for others going through the same crisis. And we can always take this kind of action, regardless of whether we are in record-breaking weather conditions, or any number of the many (and common!) challenges that can affect any of us. Financial distress, partnership loss, business failures, serious illness, and now, a global lockdown from a potentially life-threatening pandemic.
When we reach out, to be of service, we will find that others will step forward for us when it is our turn. That is how I was able to receive the support I needed to manage in the post-apocalyptic aftermath. After being rescued from my shelter, I took inventory and offered up anything that I had that I didn’t need for my own survival.
I also took initiative to scout supplies, food and water sources for the neighbours that were previously strangers to me. These neighbours, in turn, helped me to keep my car running with fuel and an only occasionally-functioning battery.
Build Your Tribe to Weather the Pandemic
A Category 5 situation like the hurricanes I endured, the Covid 19 pandemic, or any number of other crises all give us an opportunity to examine the habitual behavior that can keep us separate and alone during the most trying times of our lives. We don’t have to wait for the next catastrophe to learn these lessons. We can start by building a tribe before the next storm, to come through to thrive. Reaching out to help others, is the first step in creating a community to weather any Category 5.
In this continuing series, I share with you some key strategies to weather any Category 5 crisis, both during and in the aftermath, to not only lessen the impact, but to come through thriving. These are the “7 Barometers of Resilience” that I introduce in my upcoming book, The Resilient Leader: Life-Changing Strategies to Overcome Today’s Turmoil and Tomorrow’s Uncertainty.
More to come…