From the CEO: Lessons In the Crisis


By Lisa Nichols, CEO |
March 24, 2020

Lessons in the Crisis

As we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been encouraged to institute social distancing. This is so contradictory to our very nature, since we are social creatures. After all, love and connection are basic human needs. However, it is paramount that we implement social distancing to stop the spread of this very contagious virus. The number of cases and deaths all over the world continues to climb daily. My heart goes out to those who are suffering and to those who have lost loved ones. This is a tragedy.  

In relation to social distancing, I have found myself with mixed emotions. Ally and I have a wonderful trainer who comes to our home (it was a gathering of only 3) and as we were talking the other day, he mentioned how crazy it is that we frantically drive through rush-hour traffic to get to a yoga class… that is supposed to relax us. Maybe this is a time for all of us to hit a “reset” button on the crazy pace that our society seems to be moving at these days. The freedom to get off the hamster wheel, at least for the time being, has been liberating. The stay-at-home order completely removes any guilt that we would normally feel for not attending that next networking event, gala or children’s activity. It has given us permission to take time for rest, reflection, reading, more prayer, moving the needle on our Growth Quotient and simpler things. We are doing our best to create “moments” of peace, optimism and hope during these uncertain times for not only our own family, but for others, as well. 

However, I’m also experiencing emotions of sadness and empathy for those who are already suffering from feelings of loneliness and isolation. We all have friends that were already struggling with these feelings before COVID-19, and now those feelings are only exacerbated, I am sure. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean disconnection. We have the opportunity to reach out to friends and those most vulnerable via phone, texts and video chatting. I am part of an Executive Women’s Bible Study with over 100 women involved. We meet twice a month in person, however, last week we did a Zoom call. This afforded women who have not been able to join us in person for months due to relocation, etc. to join us virtually, which was awesome. We were socially distanced, but very connected.

Last night, I told Greg that I have been so inspired by the altruistic actions I’ve witnessed on a daily basis from others. Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, is offering Zoom at no charge to schools everywhere; another friend here in St. Louis, the President of a mid-cap company, posted that he would help anyone who needed help – just private message him; a sweet friend yesterday told another dear friend who has underlying health issues, that she would pick up her meds for her – no worries; another friend in Nashville, a sought-after coach, is doing a series of free webinars for anyone who wants to join in about leading through crisis; the President of a Fortune 50 company here in St. Louis is posting daily inspiration and encouragement–and the list goes on. We are dealing with a contagious virus currently, but let’s let the altruism we are seeing in the world become contagious as well. 

Finally, but certainly not the least lesson in all of this, there are just some things that we have no control over. We may not have seen this coming, but now what can we do? We control what we can. We pray fervently, we offer real hope to others without giving false hope, we take care of our people the best we can, we try to stay positive for ourselves and others, we practice good hygiene and encourage others to do the same and we strive to create peak moments of optimism in the midst of the storm. My dear friend, Elise Mitchell, said something yesterday that I will not forget, and it will be a question I ask myself often: “When I look back on this season in the future, what do I want to be able to say about how I showed up?” I am praying that I will carry this loaded question with me every day for the rest of my life.  

Signature - Lisa Nichols