COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our lives. We went from a booming economy to great uncertainty almost overnight. We have seen illness, death, job loss, social unrest, increased anxiety, and a loss of normalcy in our lives. We are grieving over many things, including the sense of security many thought we possessed. But the truth is, the only things we can control are our own reactions and attitudes to what is put before us!
As we start to wind down 2021 and set our mind to a better 2022, I think we should seek to live out the universal commandment to love others. No matter your faith perspective, the words about love written by the Apostle Paul over 2000 years ago are still very appropriate today. Paul defined love, the verb, in seven key concepts: to be patient, kind, trusting, truthful, unselfish, forgiving, and dedicated. In this blog I would like to explore three of the seven words of love that are most needed right now: being patient, kind, and trusting.
Be Patient: Have Self-Control in Difficult Situations.
Paul says that “Love is patient.” And from what I have observed this year, many of us could be more patient, especially with our words. It seems in 2021, we have lost our ability to have constructive conversations with those of opposing views and opinions. This is a troubling trend.
Let’s remember that disagreement does not have to equal conflict. With our words, we have the power to stop the negative dialogue that is so prevalent online and off. Let’s return to constructive dialogue. Remember to listen more and talk less (there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth!) Engage in discussions that seek the truth, always try to find common ground, and in the end, be respectful.
Be Kind: Show Encouragement and Enthusiasm.
My mother taught me that every time we come into contact with people, we can make their day better or we can make their day worse. Why not make it better? In fact, research shows that the human brain needs five points of encouragement for every point of constructive criticism in order to stay encouraged and positive. Unfortunately, we seem to remember the negative more than the positive.
COVID focus and can be very depressing. So, we need to be more encouraging to family, friends, and those around us. Writing notes of encouragement or saying kind words will not only make the day better for others—it will brighten ours, too!
Be Trusting: Place Confidence in Someone.
Years like 2021 make it harder to trust, period. It is harder to trust our government leaders, to trust the future of our society, and to trust our own judgment.
If you struggle with trust and hope in the future, try to keep a broad perspective. I would encourage us all to remember there have been many times in history that seemed to have little hope.
The Revolutionary War went on for seven endless years with no hope in sight until things started to turn near the end which resulted in a Patriot victory. The Civil War seemed like a hopeless loss of life with more than 600,000 casualties over four years before the end of the war came quickly. The Great Depression tested the hope and trust of our nation for ten years, yet was followed by great prosperity. To people living through these events, it appeared they would never end. In the same sense, our battle against COVD will be won, it just takes time. We must trust in the future and place confidence in our leaders.
We all need a bit of hope moving forward. Although we can’t have certainty over what will happen, we do have clarity in how we are called to behave, and I encourage you to be patient, kind, and trusting. Putting these words into action will give us hope for the end of 2021 and beyond!
I am so excited to share these concepts and more at the Live2Lead event on October 8, 2021. I plan to discuss how servant leadership can transform your leadership results. This approach has been systematically proven to increase employee engagement, decrease turnover, increase customer satisfaction, and improve profitability in every business in which it has been employed. If you care about people and want to increase the performance of the enterprise that you lead, this is the ONLY way to lead. I can’t wait to share more with you at Live2Lead on October 8. See you then!
The John Maxwell