What does it mean if the virus has changed our lives forever?

August 25, 2020

We’re not going back. I’m more and more convinced that life has fundamentally changed forever because of COVID-19 and its impact on our world. What does that even mean?

On March 20 I received a link to an article that shook me up good. Looking back on it I can’t ever remember reading something so prophetic and so prescient. It was called Leading Beyond the Blizzard: Why Every Organization Is Now a Startup . The big idea of the article was “The coronavirus is not just something for leaders to “get through” for a few days or weeks. Instead, we need to treat COVID-19 as an economic and cultural blizzard, winter, and beginning of a “little ice age” — a once-in-a-lifetime change that is likely to affect our lives and organizations for years.”

Look again at the date it came out – March 20. Nationwide, only 19,000 cases of the virus had been reported. It was nearly two months before George Floyd would be murdered and the nation would rise up in angry, righteous protest. And fear over the COVID-19 recession was still a month from full blown panic, when we would realize that 20 million Americans had lost their jobs.

Somehow the authors were way ahead of the game in understanding the impact of all this anxiety, death and chaos. And they were certainly out in front when it came to a frank, chilling analysis of the meaning of it all. Their caution was to stop thinking this will melt soon like a blizzard. Cease acting as if this is just a season, like winter, that we just have to endure for a while. No, it’s time to gear up for the long haul, as in embrace this as the new normal. Make that the new abnormal. Realize that the “underlying assumptions that sustained us are no longer true.” And that “from today onward, we must recognize that the businesses we were in no longer exist.”

Heavy stuff. Maybe a little terrifying. So…now what? How do we pivot or reframe our lives?

Here are some of my suggestions.

First, brew a cup of tea. Settle down. Get a notebook and a pen. And begin to think.

Consider these questions:

What is now important to me? What are the passions that move me?

How have the unique experiences of my life, to date, shaped my purpose?

How have the mentors of my life influenced my calling?

What am I uniquely skilled to do?

How can I make a significant impact on this world and the people in it?

And maybe most importantly – How can I shift my efforts away from me and my desires to the needs of others? How can I move from a focus on acquisition to a focus on contribution?

From the article… “Uniquely in our lifetimes, every single person we will interact with in the coming days will be experiencing vulnerability like never before. They are experiencing risk and loss. Very few of us will get through this era without seeing someone we love suffer and very possibly die. Many are contemplating their own mortality in new ways. We owe to everyone we meet tremendous compassion, patience, and concern, before we involve them in our own needs.”

Living into your unique calling has never been more important than at this very moment. You have been summoned.

It’s a new day.

P.S. Friends, I would love to help you think through all this. Honestly, this is my own personal contribution to the world right now. I have a process I can walk you through I’ve called the Calling Quilt. It really works! So many folks have discovered new meaning and direction through it. I’ve been thrilled to watch them begin to reshape their lives around a destiny. That could be you. Reach out to me and I’ll show you how. In the meantime, I pray for health and peace in your life and the lives of those you love.


  1. Kris Hunt

    We never get that dinner with you and Penny. We’re the same age and the same boat so to speak of transitioning our lives. I did get to spend some time at Barry’s one evening but never could work a follow-up visit in. When my spleen ruptured the 9th of March everything changed and much more intensely when Covid showed up. I have little or no immune system so I’ve been on a forced sabbatical ponding the why of all that. Barry said something that moved me when he said people his age needed to get over themselves and we older people need to step up and help them. I’ve been looking for that spot. Scott Sutherland put me on the prayer team leadership committee which is a place I can use my strengths, but there must be more. I’d love to talk to you sometime. My cell # is 317-376-9375

  2. Lindy siefker

    Great perspective, Dave

  3. Jeff Shrum

    I am not sure which article you read in March, but I had seen others in about the same time frame predicting Covid-19 would have long lasting effects just like 9/11 did. Our lives will be different going forward and children born going forward will not have a memory of a time when we thought so little about whether we are spreading respiratory diseases or not. I read other articles suggesting we think of the pandemic as a time not only to rethink our lives, but our society. Things like the pandemic are a diagnostic that show how people with little to no margin always suffer more than those with a margin and can wake us from our ignorance and apathy. What can be done about helping more people be resilient and have margin to handle crisis better?

    Maybe your questions of self-reflection will lead some people to think about how well they are or are not dealing with the trauma of the pandemic. I know you are not a certified traumatologist, but could you say more about the effects of trauma brought on by COVID-19? I think many in USA are experiencing serious trauma for the first time and are very surprised by it.



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