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Editorial: Learning lessons from the pandemic

Editorial: Learning lessons from the pandemic

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I’m a list maker.

And a reflective learner.

As such, when COVID first hit, and we were in the beginning phase of looking around at the crazy world we were suddenly thrown in, I started a list I titled "Pandemic Lessons."

Initially, I documented things that were related to supplies. While most people were scrambling for toilet paper, I tried to stay a step ahead and think through the things I would need in case our supply chains were severely disrupted long term.

I hadn’t stocked up on kerosene.

My dog food supply was low (which ended up not mattering – my baby sadly did not make it through the pandemic. I’m counting Oliver as a COVID death.)

I hadn’t taken my new grandbaby into consideration with my prepper supplies.

Those are the kinds of lessons I tried to assimilate for future use in my life. But lately, I’ve tried to focus a little more on the professional lessons. What could I have done better as a community leader? We are all so on edge, so anxious by the “what’s next?” of 2020 (cue the murder hornets!), it creates leadership instability. What are the leadership lessons that I can integrate into my life?

Ultimately, I have turned to John Maxwell, one of my favorite teamwork and leadership gurus. Here are a few of his words I’ve been trying to lean on.

"Do you know the difference between leaders, followers, and losers? Leaders stretch with challenges. Followers struggle with challenges. Losers shrink from challenges." I’ve taken on a new position this year as the Executive Director of the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. Struggling with our current challenges and/or shrinking from them are both not options. So, stretch it is. Innovate. Suck it up, and for Pete’s sake, Rebecca, don’t be a loser.

"Good leaders know when to display emotions and when to delay them." The difference between a leader who feels uncertain on the inside yet maintains a cool attitude, and one who feels panic and lets it show, is night and day. We have an innate desire to follow level-headed people. Don’t panic, don’t whine, and for the love of God, Rebecca, keep your chin up and project a ‘yes we can’ attitude. Open your mind. Focus on the good.

"When the leader lacks confidence, the followers lack commitment." Much like keeping your emotions in check, I’ll put this in the fake-it-‘til-you-make-it category. Stop letting yourself slip into self-pity, Rebecca. Stop doubting yourself. It’s not doing anyone any good. People need direction. Stop projecting your doubts and just know, really know, that it will work out in the end if we are diligent. Work hard. Think outside the box.

Maybe somebody else out there needs a slap across the face that says “Stop playing the victim and get to the business of leading people out of 2020!” I’m focused on controlling what I can control, and trying to stay in the driver’s seat of life as best I can. I hope you find the will to do the same.

Rebecca Grizzle is the executive director of the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Lebanon City Council.

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