How many of you have shown up online sad, overwhelmed, or angry?

I have. A couple of weeks back, I posted a picture (on the left) and a blog discussing my sadness about the impact of COVID-19.

How many of you, after showing up with dark emotions, received comments and PMs intended to lift you out of the dark place?

I received a lot of messages from friends and family rushing to cheer me up. I appreciated not being left out, feeling seen and loved. And – those messages actually pushed me deeper into my sadness.

I am sad that we wish to hide from so-called negative emotions even at the times when we actually need to face reality because we need to understand what has to be changed.

Just like many of my well-wishers, I know that there is a lot to be grateful for and proud of. The self-sacrifice of our healthcare workers, the commitment of volunteers and fundraisers. The teachers putting together online curricula, the creatives sharing free content online, the economists coming together to figure out the best response, the scientists working on vaccines and treatments. Families spending time together, friends reconnecting, dogs being walked five times a day!

The picture on the right was taken on the same day as the picture on the left and reflected a happy moment of genuine connection with my daughter.

And I know that there is a lot to grieve and to reflect upon.

Over 1 million people were reported sick with COVID-19 last time I checked the global numbers. The death toll is approaching 60 thousand. Only in Canada, about 44% of households reported reduced hours or unemployment (McLean’s, April 2, 2020). The future of entire industries, like tourism, hospitality, entertainment, is put at risk. Experts predict that global GDP will shrink up to 5% this year (McKinsey, 2019).

There is always hope. And yet, what we need today is not to use positivity as a hiding place and not to bully each other into “hope refuge”. We need Active Hope. The one that grows from awareness, reflection, and commitment to action.

My research demonstrates that both negative and positive emotions are needed for active learning from experience.

The “negative” ones – sadness, anger, frustration – call us to focus on what is important. We need to be present to these painful emotions because they motivate us to reflect upon what’s wrong, to notice faults in our thinking, and our outdated paradigms. The “positive” ones – hopefulness, pride, confidence, courage – stimulate creativity and promote a search for solutions. When taking their place, these optimistic feelings motivate collaboration, experimentation, and execution.

These days, as I am stuck in place watching my business calendar clear out, I have acknowledged the gift of pause. An Active Pause, in the words of Carey Baker and Carlo Boss, of CTI. I want to use it for reflection.

I invite you to share a reflective moment, a moment of gratitude and hope.

On Friday, April 10, at 10 AM Eastern, I will hold a virtual conversation on What is Real and What is Needed.

Please join me in the moment of Active Hope.

Registration link below

Photo credit Dasha Khomenko