In March of 2004, I was working for Unilever and was fortunate enough to attend our annual sales meeting. It was held in Kiawah Island, South Carolina that year and the theme was Dare to be Great. I’m not sure who came up with the theme, but remember Mark Bernard having something to do with it.
It had the tropes of a good boondoggle; a motivational speaker (Alan Hobson), golf, people singing college fight songs, Axe Angels, and a band (I still have my Blue Dogs CD). Oh, and somewhere in there we managed to have a few meetings and do some store checks—I still feel bad for the customer business manager who had an unfortunate experience at a Piggly Wiggly.
All attendees were given the same blue windbreaker with the words Dare to be Great printed right on the front. Sixteen years later I still have mine and wear it to go running almost every day when the weather requires an extra layer.
With the threat of COVID-19 looming around us, it’s an understatement to say that our ways of life have been changed temporarily. Many of us are working from home (if we are fortunate enough to be working), our kids are home and engaging in distance learning, and everyone is adjusting to a new normal.
As I peeled off my Dare to be Great windbreaker after this morning’s run, I had an epiphany—all around me I’ve noticed people daring to be great in the face of this crisis. Here are just a few examples:
- Grocery stores are remaining open and even the small, independent stores are putting customers first by offering online ordering and curbside pickup while putting safety measures in place for their shoppers and staff alike.
- Delivery drivers continue to bring us packages as more and more of us shop for daily necessities online.
- At times like these we are reminded how important truck drivers are. I’ve heard stories about them working around the clock and with fewer and fewer options for bio breaks and food service along their routes.
- Doctors and other healthcare practitioners are offering virtual visits (i.e. online house calls) to evaluate patients.
- Teachers are working hard to pivot from in-person lessons to remote learning.
- Manufacturers like Ford and Apple are retooling their production lines to help make protective ventilators and respirators, without thinking about short-term profits (or losses).
- Anyone complying with social distancing, who realizes that short-term inconvenience will lead to a healthier environment for us all.
Every day we are presented with a choice regarding the type of world we want to live in and that outcome is driven by our thoughts. Each and every one of us is capable of having a great day or a bad day based on what we choose to focus on. What choices will you make today?
One of my favorite inspirational quotes is the following from Saint Teresa of Calcutta, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Who wants to spread a little love with me? Do so by sharing examples of people who are daring to be great during this pandemic and let’s shine a light on the darkness that is trying to overtake us.