Is anyone else feeling the pressure to stay positive? 

This health crisis has pushed us out of comfort zones and into smaller spaces with sometimes little or no human contact. We have had to find ways to work and cope in home environments, and grapple to maintain connection to those we care about, without being near them. These are unprecedented challenges, in incredibly uncertain times, and I find I have to remind myself regularly that doing my best, whatever that is on any given day, is enough.

So I’m reminding you too. You’re doing enough.

I read somewhere that staying positive doesn’t mean that you have to be happy all the time, it’s believing that better days are coming. Personally, that felt like a huge relief. Because I do believe we will build a better future, but I don’t think I can be happy for all the days it will take to get there. I’ve come to accept that it’s OK to fluctuate between feeling tired, hopeful, down, resilient, sad or strong. Sometimes I feel all of them in one day. And by removing the pressure of imposed optimism, the days I truly feel that way, feel more authentic.

Because my job is to communicate Plank’s message, this last month has pushed businesses like ours to ask ourselves what our true message really is. Outside of what we do, or create, or sell – what is it we really stand for? This kind of crisis can’t help but force you to ask those questions, and the answers are likely revealing. Like it or not, challenging times take you to the core of who you are, and in the end, who you want to be. No one knows what the next weeks, months or years hold for any of us, and that kind of uncertainty can breed fear. The only control we really have is to decide what kind of people, what kind of company we want to be right now.

Our team never really sat down and discussed it. Our message, what we felt compelled to share came almost instinctively: to give, in any way we can. Whether that’s helping clients struggling with show cancellations, finding ways to help our nonprofit clients improve their online presence, or working to turn a festival into a digital gathering. We know how fortunate we are that our business, at least for the moment, is stable. We understand that the reason we can work from home is because of all the people who can’t – including healthcare professionals, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, delivery people and all the others to whom the world owes a huge debt of gratitude. So we leaned into compassion and found it’s where we all, each and every team member, felt most natural.

Our choices are far from unique. You don’t have to look very hard to see kindness, generosity and goodness around each corner, and within every industry and business. The collective inclination is to help, to ease suffering, to bring comfort where it is needed. And even though the world is living through a dark time, there is light. And I don’t think the choices we are all making during this crisis will be forgotten any time soon. We will remember the lessons. We will remember how we came together as a society and chose to give, without asking for what.

Today is a good day. I feel hopeful that the world will emerge from this pandemic stronger, more compassionate and more prepared. And hopefully the desire to keep giving will remain long after our doors open again, and we can reach out and take each other’s hands.

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