Apr 19, 2022
Over the last two years, our entire system of communications changed. (Yes, it’s been two years since the onset of the pandemic.)
In-person, face-to-face interaction seems to have largely become a relic of the past—personally and in business. Zoom calls, emails and phone calls have taken over. Even when we do see others in person, face masks present a literal barrier between people, making it difficult to read facial expressions and gauge how others are feeling.
As human beings, we were not born to be in isolation. It’s not natural. It certainly isn’t for me.
In addition to the pandemic’s devastating health effects, there have been countless residual impacts on businesspeople, the elderly, health care workers, teachers, students, children and the list goes on. My own mother is 88 years old and in assisted living, and she has spent a lot of time—too much time—isolated from others. It’s extremely challenging for people like her, who need social contact to keep their brains functioning at an optimal level.
Fortunately, mental health is now a prevalent topic of discussion. It’s no longer taboo or “off-limits” to discuss mental health struggles, even if you’re famous. Olympians like skier Mikaela Shiffrin and gymnast Simone Biles—world-class athletes— have come out publicly as vulnerable people. And that’s okay. It’s no surprise that such people suffer from the pressures of greatness, and they are brave enough to admit it.
Of course, celebrities aren’t alone. Millions of everyday folks deal with mental health challenges too. Life is just plain hard oftentimes. As business leaders, we need to recognize that: Life is hard. I think the pandemic has taught us that we need to be more compassionate and empathetic than ever before, even in company meetings.
The article read in this episode originally appeared on the Forbes Agency Council CommunityVoice™ in March 2022.
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