Over the past 12 months, every one of us has faced many personal and professional challenges. Fear of a virus. Adapting to remote work. Hoping and praying that our jobs or our businesses will survive. Wearing masks in public. Navigating the growing chasm dividing us politically. Through these struggles, we have done only what we can, which is to say we have sought merely to cope with this vastly different world.
What will the future hold?
Not knowing what the future will hold can be terrifying, but only if you allow it to be. We can choose to be fearful of this uncertain future, or we can accept — with certainty — that life will be better.
How do I know it will be better? Because as a country, as a culture and as individuals, one of our most enduring qualities has been how we learn and adapt after enduring challenges.
This is not the first time we have been tested. You can bet that, like always, we will rise above and get better as a result.
Work might look slightly different in the future. Some companies might hold on to some measure of hybrid work, even if collaboration and productivity have suffered to the tune of 30%-50%. And we may all need to continue adapting to different types of working and living spaces, along with the technology that allows for these hybrid models of work.
The difference between imagining the future and being the future is how you react to the uncertainty. On a personal level, if this pandemic year has taught me anything, it’s that I need to get better at being OK with not having all the answers and with not knowing exactly where we’re headed. It has also taught me that the most important thing through any crisis is to maintain your conviction, commitment and discipline to keep forging ahead.
What drives us?
It is one thing to fear an enemy we cannot see and entirely another to not know when the battle will end. So as vaccines provide at least a hazy view of the end of this crisis, the most beneficial self-care we can engage in is to reexamine our mindset. To do this, we must ask some important questions: Why do we get up in the morning? Why do we go to work? What motivates us to achieve?
Perhaps you get up out of curiosity about what the day will bring. Maybe it’s an inner drive that propels you. Maybe it’s the pursuit of something you value. Maybe it’s just a good old-fashioned love of life.
As a people, we have always demonstrated a pioneering spirit, the courage to keep changing and developing, and an ability to reflect on the past while fearlessly flying into the future. We’ve survived because we have always enjoyed the ride. What hasn’t changed: The need to put people first. First over money, and yes, even first over the customer.
Covid has stopped a lot of things, but it hasn’t stopped our culture, our integrity, our ambition or our passion to succeed. These past 12 months have been incredibly difficult, but they have also brought a jolt of confidence in humanity. I have learned that challenges can sometimes feel like brick walls, but with enough creativity, leverage and pressure, even those brick walls can bend.
In this spirit, let’s continue this new year with renewed strength. The world has not ended. We continue moving forward. We will get through this together, and together, we will create a better, brighter future.
Jim Scalo is president and CEO of Burns Scalo Real Estate.