Your True Colors are Showing: How We Respond in Challenging Times

It’s impossible to ignore the current impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the world around us. We have choices to make every day about what’s best for our personal safety and those around us. We make choices about which media to listen to, whose advice to trust and how we conduct our daily lives within the constantly shifting parameters, recommendations and regulations. I’m seeing a wide array of responses, from carefree opportunism to unreasonable overreaction, with most people landing somewhere on the spectrum in between.

With any type of emotional response during new, different or unknown circumstances, we as humans often respond by instinct. I believe that under duress, we reveal our true colors. Is our instinct to analyze and process? Then we might be reading voraciously everything we can to come to our own conclusion about how to respond. Ok, maybe I’m talking about my analytical self. However, this week I have experienced two vastly different expressions of true colors that have given me a fresh perspective.

On Monday evening, I conducted a focus group for a client. The room was going to be full with an inability to maintain six-foot social distancing. We asked the participants if they wanted to excuse themselves given the circumstances, but all remained because they felt the topic at hand was important and they wanted to contribute. At the conclusion of the focus group, a participant hopped up and announced to the room, “My wife is on her way to pick me up and she has extra diapers and wipes, so if anyone needs some because they are running out, let me know.” This from a man who earlier introduced himself as a 32-year old who spent his days watching his daughter because he was between jobs. His desire to help someone else who might be struggling while he had no job himself froze me in that moment. THIS is what community is about. THIS is true humanity. THIS is selflessness in its finest form.

This act of kindness was instantly contagious. As he concluded his announcement, another participant on the other side of the room called him over to offer her name and phone number. She works at a local manufacturing company with posted job openings. She asked him to call her the next morning so she could help him apply. I found myself so hopeful that this man’s kindness would be rewarded with employment.

In the meantime, another client in the medical field has reported to me that their business is being disrupted by theft. Patients and employees are stealing supplies from exam rooms and surgical facilities – tissue, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, gloves, masks – putting in jeopardy the doctors’ abilities to serve scheduled patients due to lack of necessary supplies. Is fear the emotion that causes people to panic and only think about themselves while they shove masks in their pockets?

I’d like to believe in human kindness. I’d like to believe that we all make safe and reasonable choices when we are faced with uncertainty. I’d like to think we’re more like the focus group than the medical facility. Each day we have choices, and there’s no better time than now to be patient, kind and forgiving.

Here at JP, we continue to focus on our work at hand, serving our clients and helping them navigate unfolding developments. Because we already work on ROWE, we are well suited to work from anywhere, anytime. I’m proud of our team for showing their true colors – their unfaltering commitment to their work, their coworkers and their clients. Perhaps, however, we could – and should – do more. We can certainly lend a hand while maintaining social distancing. Stay tuned.

JANE OLVERA, President and Founder