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Connection Conversations


HOW YOU CAN STAY CONNECTED IN CRISIS


I had planned to begin writing an email to you every two weeks, with the first message timed to the three year anniversary of my starting work in New York. Little did I know this introductory Connection Conversation would inauspiciously coincide with the lockdown of New York City by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday.


None of us could have imagined or foreseen the shocking health crisis we now face. As each day has brought more revelations of the seriousness of the pandemic, we have shaken our collective heads in disbelief.


Yes, we are anxious about the devastating impact on the economy, the dangers to those on the frontlines, and the sickness and loss of life across the globe.


And as much, we worry about ourselves and our families. My own experience in New York City has been surreal, and I want to share my perspective with you. 


NYC UNDER QUARANTINE


Here are four photos of New York City that I took just hours before the Governor's order went into effect. On a beautiful spring morning, the City was emptied out of people and eerily quiet.



As I adjust to the routine of staying in place, I face, as you do, a lot of unknowns. What do these new experiences mean for our daily lives? We wonder if we will be able to protect ourselves from the virus. What happens if we get sick? How can we help the people we love?


At the root of all these concerns is our loss of connection, of the disappearance of our right to convene, to socialize, and to spend time with whomever we wish. Particularly in the United States and in a democratic society, life has —until now — been arranged by OUR preferences and routines, not by the government.


This loss of personal freedom creates immediate impediments to maintaining relationships, from the casual ones with the clerk in the shoe repair store, to the intimate ones with extended family and friends.


This group photo was taken a year ago this week. I had invited five other single friends, none of whom knew each other, to join me for the Rosie O’Donnell Theater Kids spring event in New York City.


Between last year and this, our little group has gotten together multiple times. And we were planning to do so again this coming Sunday night at the same event as last year. Now we can’t. Cancelled plans, activities, school, travel, entertainment, and work opportunities create a range of impacts from resigned disappointment to catastrophic anxiety for the people involved. 



CONNECTION CHALLENGE


So what should we all do, sequestered behind closed doors with our stashes of toilet paper, and paper towels, and canned goods to last for weeks? My new plan, and I hope you'll consider it too, is to make at least one meaningful connection a day.


Beginning tomorrow, I challenge you to single out one new person to contact in a meaningful way each day. When you call, text, or send an email, offer your “connection of the day” one positive thought (beyond “stay safe!”) to encourage them. It can be humorous, thoughtful, poignant or loving. Your choices are only limited by your creativity.


Keep a record of everyone you engage with. Call it your Corona Connections list if you wish. I guarantee when this is all over, you will have built an impressive roster based on intentional goodwill. And the silver lining is that now you likely have time to invest in a project that will positively impact the lives of others, as well as your own.


Get ready, set, go! I am proud to be connected to you, and look forward to staying in touch.


Reaching out to you over the miles,







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The Ann Louden Company

Strategy & Consulting

New York, New York

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