What’s on Your Post-Pandemic To-Do List?
It’s official…the CDC says fully vaccinated people can take off our masks and start to breathe freely again. Many of us are asking, “How will we make the most of this long-awaited freedom?”
While visiting family in person or taking that long-postponed vacation are certainly at the top of the list, surviving a pandemic is a stark reminder that making the most of our lives matters more than ever. Instead of leaving it up to chance, I am channeling this pent-up energy towards being more intentional about where I spend my time and with whom.
Giving back to the community is a personal core value and comes in many forms, ranging from volunteering to making a financial contribution to support a local nonprofit important to me. For those of you who share my passion for being in service to others, the past 15 months created countless opportunities to help those affected by the pandemic.
Times like these can be overwhelming and deflating because the needs seem endless and resources are limited. I learned this the hard way over the years by simultaneously volunteering and serving on a committee—but I became mentally exhausted. The unintended consequence of these good intentions was not only feeling overcommitted but also wondering if I was truly making a difference.
My coach training has shown me that when you connect to what has meaning in your life, the possibilities are endless in terms of the impact you can have on the world around you. When clients are in a situation like this, I ask what they learned from feeling stretched too thin and see if it provides a different perspective. Hello, mirror—I am the client!
So I asked myself, “What does impact mean to me and why was it important? How Dr. Melanie Hicks defines impact really resonated with me: “Impact is the unconscious reaction the universe has to a consistent stream of authentic actions—whether that universe is your business, home, community or greater society. Impact is what happens when you adjust your mindset to transform point-in-time actions into a continuous way of thinking and acting.”
There is no right or wrong answer, but for me it meant being able to leverage my communications and project management skills to help an organization better achieve its goals. Others might say delivering food to homebound people fills their heart. Knowing why it matters honors my value of giving back and leaves me more fulfilled.
Which is why serving on the CAMP Rehoboth Board means so much to me. As most of you know, CAMP Rehoboth is the reason why my husband and I consider the Nation’s Summer Capital home. Before I agreed to accept the invitation, I wanted to make sure I could dedicate time and energy to make impact a reality at CAMP Rehoboth.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve alongside members of our community who share my passion for ensuring CAMP Rehoboth continues to be a vital resource for the LGBTQ community in Sussex County and beyond.
I am constantly inspired by people whose actions (small and large) demonstrate an authentic commitment to making change a reality. A recent article about American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker’s decision to honor Muslim employees by fasting for Ramadan is a great example of actions speaking louder than words. American Airlines has earned a reputation for being a company that values diversity and inclusion for its employees and customers.
Parker said he joined in a Ramadan fast in an effort to empathize with the carrier’s Muslim employees. “The core of fasting is empathy,” quoting from an invitation he received from a Muslim employee group. “Fasting helps us feel others’ pain, suffering, loneliness, poverty and hunger,” the invitation said. “In a way, it connects us as humans. Refrain from eating and drinking to experience what it’s like for Muslims to fast, and also to step into the shoes of impoverished people.”
Parker said, “I can tell you I was hungry—and really thirsty—by 8:30 at night. It gave me tremendous respect for our Muslim team members and their commitment to their faith.”
The issue is not if you can make a difference…I know each of us can. Instead, ask yourself what stands in the way of staying focused? Understanding I could be a catalyst for change helped provide clarity for me. I look forward to hearing what’s on your post-pandemic to-do list! ▼
Wesley Combs, a CAMP Rehoboth Board member, is a diversity and inclusion expert, executive coach, and a passionate social justice advocate. He is the founding principal of Combs Advisory Services where he works with clients who share his values of enabling equity, equality, and opportunity in the workplace and the community.