All of a sudden, life is different. For everyone. Everyone all across the world.

At first it was just people in another country, very very far away from here, that were being affected. Then more people in more countries were affected. Still very far away. Across the globe. Thousands of miles away.

In talking to our clients and business partners in Asian countries, we learned first hand that cities were shut down. Schools were closed. Restaurants were closed. It seemed unreal.

But it wasn’t here.

I watched as it got closer. Keeping an eye on this virus that was plaguing our society. I could feel it. I could feel the shift happening. I could feel the anticipation of what we thought would never happen. I could feel the anxiety of the unknown ready to hit.

Then it got really close. Here in our country it started affecting lives. People dying. Something that felt very common has taken the attention of us all. And is spreading quickly.

So we have halted our lives. Our normal has suddenly stopped. Activities cancelled. Sporting events cancelled. Schools cancelled. Churches online only. Restaurants only doing takeout or delivery. Grocery stores with bare shelves.

I was at Costco last night. A Monday night, 30 minutes before closing. I was shocked at the empty shelves. No milk? No flour? No bread? What is going on?

People are in panic. I saw it their eyes. I felt it, too. I bought a few extra things. I looked around and wondered, “What else can I get?” I was taken by the felt urgency of the moment. The energy around me was sucking me in. I was feeling the fear. The anxiousness felt heavy on my chest.

Breathe.

Literally… breathe.

And turn off the news.

I now have a choice. It’s hitting me smack in the face. I can’t ignore it any more. I can’t just pray for others and send good thoughts their way. Now it’s also time to respond. It’s time to give back in a positive way. It’s happened so fast that we have to respond quickly.

Here are three strategies that are helping me:

1) GUARD MY THOUGHTS

I have stopped reading all of the articles and checking in multiple times a day on the status of the outbreak. I will watch it once a day, and limit my exposure to something I cannot control.

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2) BE GRATEFUL

I choose to constantly be looking for and finding the beauty all around. Before I get out of bed and put my feet on the floor, I find something to be grateful for. In the midst of challenges and changes, pausing to look for something good helps me stay focused and be at my best.

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3) REALIZE THE GIFT I HAVE THAT CAN HELP OTHERS

I am thankful I work from home and that I have a virtual team. I’m used to working this way. It’s effective, and we have learned a lot over the past few years.

In this moment, I feel like we need to share these best practices as we all navigate a new way to work. We’ll be making our learnings and these practices available right here on this blog over the coming weeks. (Sign up here to make sure you get them in your inbox.)

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I’d like to challenge you to join me. These three things I am doing may help you as well.

Be safe. Stay healthy. Please ask for help when you need it, and give help to others when they ask. Together, we can get through this. Together, we can not just survive, but thrive.

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