I was listening to Rachel Hollis’s podcast Rise a month or two ago, and she called on women, especially leaders, to stand up. She noted that the pandemic was keeping a lot of us down, literally, but that we need to step up. We raised our hands to take these jobs, they weren’t forced on us. And so, I straightened my shoulders and told myself to stand up taller. That usually lasts until about 11:00 a.m., when I am slumped over at my desk at the enormity of what we are facing.
In March we were overwhelmed, and in April scared. In May we thought we saw the end. Sadly, there is no end in sight. We will be leading these communities through a pandemic for the foreseeable future. As in “years” with an “s.” If that doesn’t make you want to lie down, I don’t know what will.
In addition, of course, we are facing down this pandemic while gearing up for a financial crisis, and amid the call for racial justice that is resonating in our communities and city and town halls. Are you still standing?
Labor Day is one of those temporal landmarks for me, probably even more than the New Year. It is a good time to take stock of work and career goals. Who else wishes we could be handed a syllabus this fall, with clear guidance as to what success looks like by 2021? So what can we do?
We can stand up and make the best of a long season of social distancing, canceled vacations, and postponed family events.
We can stand up to create some joy in a year at work with all of the hard things and none of the fun things – no in-person conferences, no wedding or baby showers, and no holiday parties.
We can reestablish routines that got lost in the pandemic or over the summer – regular staff meetings, one-on-one meetings with director reports, and all staff training events, thanks to Zoom.
Most importantly, as local government leaders, we can to stand up and have difficult conversations about race, while at the same time supporting the men and women working in our police departments. (Note: This topic is so difficult to navigate that I rewrote this sentence 11 times and it still isn’t right. That’s why we must stand up and tackle it.)
How about you? What will you stand up for this fall? Do you possibly have a road map to 2021 you could share? Who wants to write that syllabus?
Let’s practice, standing up, for ourselves, our staff, and our communities.