These are crazy, uncertain times. COVID-19 and the widespread, global protests against police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death have permeated the news with feelings of despair and hopelessness. My wife is an ER doctor and being on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic has amplified this for me. At Modus, we’ve responded to these events by contributing to the search for a cure for COVID-19 with distributed computing, creating resources for businesses and individuals shifting to remote work, and establishing a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to combat racism and prejudice and better support our employees.
As the world sees unprecedented change, I found myself looking for inspiration. I reached out to leaders who inspire me and wanted to share their message and thoughts with a larger audience, and thus came the Embracing Change webinar that Modus hosted on May 28th, 2020. What I enjoyed most about this conversation was that we had three different perspectives, and we talked about the real issues affecting our lives: how we were coping with our families, how we were dealing with uncertainty and anxiety, and how we can try to be positive and creative in these times.
Jennie Snyder Urman is a writer and producer who has done a lot of amazing work, having recently wrapped Jane the Virgin. Among the many great points she shared about her work, being creative, and balancing work and family, was the simple idea of looking at balance not as how you break up a single day but how you break up your life over time. She also offered a lot of great insights into her writing process and how the film industry might look in the “new normal”.
Another panelist, John Couch, is the VP of Design at Hulu and he recently published a book called the Art of Creative Rebellion. He aspires to what he calls “Zen Stoicism”. He spoke to the power of mindfulness and to the necessity of finding time for some kind of creative outlet, even if it isn’t your medium, whether it be writing poetry, doing ceramics, painting, or anything different to get into the flow of the creative spirit. He also reminded us of the importance of getting out of our comfort zones. When you find yourself just slightly in the realm of the unfamiliar, that is when interesting things can happen.
We also had Brant Cooper, the CEO of Moves the Needle, and the author of The Lean Entrepreneur. Brant talked about innovation, how uncertainty fuels it, and how we need to adopt the same mindset as startups and look for ways to experiment with new ideas and new directions. This is an opportunity for us all to have a hard look at our way of being, look for opportunities to pivot, adapt to this new normal, and be inspired to make change.
I left this webinar feeling inspired, feeling hopeful that I could at least do some small things to improve my mindset. It was a reminder to put down the news app and pick up a paintbrush or a guitar, to be easy on myself when I have an unproductive day or if I’m feeling like I am not being present with my family. These are challenging times, and if we can embrace the change instead of fighting it, there can be some solace and maybe even some discovery and evolution.
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