7 lessons I learned from a year of COVID

Uncategorized Mar 05, 2021

It's hard to believe.

Exactly one year ago, I packed my bag and took a flight to San Francisco for our annual Silicon Valley "let's find the new trends and disruptions before they happen" trip.

Look at me, all smiley at the Plug&Play corporate innovation-meet-start-ups tech center.... not a single mask in sight.

It's been one year. No way. What a year.

Since then we learned a lot. We cried, we laughed, we discovered a ton of songs to sing for 20 seconds while washing our hands. We adapted.


So, it feels like it is crucial for us to pause, take a moment, and capture the enormity of what we lived through and the strength of what we learned.

I will start sharing my lessons here - and invite you to join. If you're part of our private Facebook group, share your lessons here.

 In no particular order, what I learned from the year of COVID-19 so far:


LESSON #1: Life is more fragile than we are ready to admit. What we think of as solid and sure and unshakable can be gone in a split second. And that's exactly what makes it worth living. Now. 

LESSON #2: Business-as-usual is overrated. Normal was not good enough. We deserve a new normal.

LESSON #3: To move forward, sometimes we need a massive kick-in-the-butt. Many of us have been talking about moving to digital, or introducing flex time at work, or reducing CO2-emitting travel, but it did not take a daring CEO or a visionary consultant to move things. It was COVID.

LESSON #4: Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel all the feelings. Appreciate anger. Honor our fear. Mourn what needs to be mourned.


LESSON #5: Most days, Zoom is a blessing. But some days, we simply have to pretend to have connection issues and keep that camera off. Taking care of yourself is not only a right, it's a sacred responsibility.


LESSON #6: "I don't know" is the new signal of professionalism, expertise, and true leadership. In the times of extreme uncertainty and volatility, nobody knows. But when we pretend that we do, we become dangerous. "I don't know" allows you to stay open to learning something new. "I don't know" frees the enormous energy needed to keep up a mask of fake confidence. "I don't know" allows others to breathe out, too, and start looking for solutions. Together.

AND LESSON #7: At the end, everything is binary. It all comes back to one of two things: love or fear. Like the combination of 0s and 1s in programming, every meeting, every product, every process, every relationships is a long chain of decisions driven by either fear or love. Excellence, professionalism, care, cooperation are all forms of love. Greed, corporate politics, short-term thinking, anger are all forms of fear. So, it's time to choose more carefully which one of the two will be driving your next decision.

I send you lots of love.



Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva helps companies such as Coca-Cola, Kohler, and IBM turn change and disruption into an opportunity.

Want to join our amazing reinvention community? Grab this FREE 85-page preview of my new book and you are in: https://www.learn2reinvent.com/handbook

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