The Real Essentials

Social distancing—a term you can bet will be added to Webster’s next year and a concept that has abruptly altered behaviors.

Our good friend ended up in tears after a quick trip to the grocery store. She described normally friendly, warm exchanges had been replaced with masked faces unwilling to make eye contact or even to utter a simple “hello.”  

And it shook her to the core.

This got us thinking: the term “social distancing” itself evokes feelings of anxiety, fear, suspicion, and maybe even resentment. Resentment over the loss of any semblance of normalcy. And there it is—the realization that a focus shift is in order.

Not everyone and everyplace is consumed with the effects of COVID 19. Some of us in essential industries, like construction, are moving forward, albeit in a modified environment. It is important to stick to what we know is right; to uphold our values and morals as a company. So, what can we do, what are we doing, to ease tension and still get the job done?


It sounds silly and simple, doesn’t it? Think about how a genuine smile diffuses negativity and is almost always greeted in kind. Although a simple gesture, and maybe harder to do under the circumstances, the ripple effects of a warm smile are worth the effort.


Proverbs 23:7 says, “As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” Thoughts become actions and actions become habits. What habits are we cultivating now to sow peace and calm? To take advice from The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, “don’t take anything personally”. Tensions are high and people are cautious, maybe even reacting in ways they otherwise would not. Step back and remember there is no telling what someone else is going through.


The rumor mill is wild, and speculation abounds in the uncharted waters of COVID 19. Checking the validity of information before sharing is the least we can do. It is our responsibility to speak the truth and not perpetuate fear; to filter everything through a series of questions: is it true, is it helpful, is it necessary, is it kind?


Taking time to nourish our bodies with exercise and adequate rest is essential. Equally as important is taking care of our minds. What good are we to anyone if we are too sick, tired, stressed or distracted to help? Is there a new skill we can learn, a different perspective on a hot topic to hear, a book to read that challenges our thinking or finally attempt meditation?  


Television commercials abound right now with messages of goodwill and we’re-all-in-this-together. Maybe you’ve seen the nightly news wrap-up stories and the social media posts of meals shared, anonymously left thank-you notes, and groceries delivered to those who should not be out-and-about.  What can we do today to show kindness to a neighbor, a co-worker, to someone less fortunate, to the stranger—six feet away—in line at the grocery store?

Life will return to normal. Our economy will bounce back. People will gather in churches, cafes, restaurants and at sporting events. Our children and grandchildren will ask about COVID 19 and social distancing and they will hear how we did not falter; we did not fail; and our pride in the way essential business carried on.

Stay safe, friends.