“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

As we enter this first full week of what may be the last full month of social quarantine, the opening of Dicken’s famous tale is ominously prescient in its description of our current reality.

The world is falling apart—and getting better at the same time.

More than 1,000,000 people have COVID worldwide and tens of thousands are dying. Unemployment is spiking, companies are preserving cash and delaying payments, small companies are reeling from delayed payments and are preserving their own cash, which leads to the smallest companies—the giggers—losing their contracts. That’s the snowball that’s hitting the economy now. The first avalanche decimated the hospitality industry and lead to more than 10,000,000 job losses already.

This mess we’re in is testing all of us to be the BEST version of ourselves we can possibly be. We may not even know what that version is like, but now is the time to find out.

While many positive examples exist, I want to highlight a few that a friend sent me:

  1. Medtronic gave away its patented designs for its ventilators so other companies can start producing them.
  2. The Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, went back to practicing medicine in order to help fight COVID-19 directly—in the same week that his counterpart in England, Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care for COVID-19.
  3. Tesla and GM are retooling their factories to make ventilators.
  4. Eli Lilly expanded drive-through testing for COVID-19 to essential workers and the most vulnerable in our population.
  5. The US Congress created a massive stopgap measure in just one week.
  6. The employees at US banks are now on the economic front lines as much as health care professionals are on the medical front lines. These employees must deploy nearly $400 billion (+) into the economy as fast as possible. The look on my own banker’s eyes told the story: panic. Bank of America received 178,000 applications for $32.5 billion on Saturday alone.

Those of us not saving lives or deploying cash to save employees from layoffs or doing essential things, have been told to work from home.

A friend, living overseas, told me that she hopes this pandemic helps us all realize: “The importance of family and friends, that we need to look out for each other, and that international governments have to cooperate with each other.” In other words, how can we be the best version of ourselves as individuals and as a new society?

It’s a good question for us all to ponder—and act upon.

KPIs for Being the Best You

For those who use Catipult.AI to help manage your company, consider placing some new KPIs or milestones into the “You” driver. Here are a few that I’m adding:

  1. Visit my parents 2x per year (they live in Seattle and I’m in Indianapolis).
  2. Reduce my tether to notifications on my phone and Apple watch so I can be present with friends and family.
  3. Focus on the unsaid needs of others. Send a random gift to someone I know who needs something. It doesn’t have to be a serious need. Maybe it’s just a coffee grinder or new batteries. More focus on others and less on myself, is the concept.

How will you be your better self?

We owe this answer to the women and men who are fighting for us on the front lines of this pandemic.