Spreading Optimism while Practicing Social Distancing

“Be the light in the dark, be the calm in the storm and be at peace while at war.” – Mike Dolan 

Hello everyone,  
 
As I mentioned in previous Desks of Brad, I was supposed to be doing my cross country BBQ drive this week, my how much things have changed in such a short period of time. I don’t know how it feels for each of you but for me, it feels like I was watching a movie in a theater and the film strip was torn in half. There was a moment of concern as the theater went dark and then a whole new movie started. This kind of feels like life right now. I was enjoying one movie, ready for the next part in the plot and then all of a sudden, an entirely new movie started. I don’t know about this new movie yet and quite frankly I don’t like it so far, it seems like a boring horror movie. Just scary enough to keep me engaged but no clear plotline or ending. Either way, life goes on and I have a story to share about the power of positive thinking. 
  
I’ve been contemplating the long-term impacts of COVID-19, focused mostly on the cultural and economic changes. For the last few years, the economy has been booming and most of our challenges as a country have been self-created. Everyone has been busy, enjoying new technology, spending money, and sharing their adventures online. How many times have you stood in line at a coffee shop where no one was talking, everyone was just on their phones ignoring each other? We’ve been living with a different kind of social distancing for a while now. 
  
One of the best things about this new era is that talking with strangers (at the proper distance) has taken on a new meaning. Social interactions are much more precious when we are all feeling a bit isolated. The need to connect and share with others is an essential part of being human. I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks however, it’s my hypothesis that this pandemic, as bad as it is, will restore some centeredness to our culture. We will once again take time to invest in our families, our homes, and our neighbors. 
  
I’ve had two interesting situations this week that I’d like to share with you. 
  
I visited with the Farley’s this week, they are old friends and mentors of mine. Jan is a Pastor at a church and Rick is a semi-retired Naval Officer and psychologist. I try to see them when I am in San Diego, it’s like visiting with my second family. Rick built a third story patio/crow’s nest on his house a few years ago. The view is great, you can see the ocean and the entire street. We sat up on the patio, there were lots of people out and about walking their dogs or just taking a stroll. Rick made a point of wishing good cheer to everyone walking by. He joked about how we can still be neighborly and keep the proper social distancing. You couldn’t walk by the Farley’s house that day without some good wishes and positive energy coming your way. Say hello to people when you see them, wish them well and be a good neighbor … right? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be or used to be? 
  
Another story I’d like to share happened at the hotel I’ve been staying at. Last Sunday night after grabbing a drink at the bar (the bar is closed now), I met a couple who was sitting in the lobby area. I said “Hi” to them and they asked me if I wanted to join them for a drink. I sat down and we had a lovely chat; they are an older couple and were discussing their upcoming vacation that had just been canceled. Tom is in the construction industry. He was very concerned about his business, the economy, and how the stock market decline was going to crush his company. 
  
I had been thinking about the impact of COVID-19, so I shared with him my belief that people are going to begin investing in their homes. I told him that after spending a lot more time at home, people would be reminded of all of the projects that needed to get done. In my estimation, this would eventually be really good for his business. 
  
I am always the optimist, but I really believe this experience will cause all of us to be more narrowly focused on family, friends, and our homes. Again, I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks. The point is that this man, Tom, was taken back with my perspective because for him it was all doom and gloom. My point of view gave him some hope and optimism that he didn’t previously have. We wrapped up our conversation, with the usual “nice to meet you,” and “hope to see you around,” we even did the elbow bump goodbye. 
  
A couple of days later, again as I was walking back to my room from the bar (you could only get drinks to-go then), I saw Tom and his wife sitting in the lobby area again. They waved me over and Tom shared how our conversation gave him encouragement, so the next day he met with his partners and told them that they shouldn’t worry too much about the economy and to keep driving the business forward. I thought to myself … “I’m glad I was able to share some optimism in a time of need.” He then continued to share that he closed two new contracts that day which represented more than 20% of their annual revenue and that maybe I was right about this culture change thing. He was beaming with joy and happiness. It was a really nice moment for all of us. I made a toast to the power of positive thinking (no clinking of glasses of course). 
  
I want to tell each of you to be positive in this time of concern and ambiguity. I want you to remember that little comments and stories of hope can make a big difference in people’s lives. You may not always get direct feedback as I got from Tom … but, please know that you’re making a difference. You can sit on your front porch and wish your neighbors well. You can say “hi” to people passing by instead of looking at your phone. You can drop off food to a neighbor who shouldn’t be leaving his or her house. You can make a difference … big or small it all adds up. I always end these letters with “Let’s go be great.” It’s time for everyone who is fortunate enough to be part of the Tahzoo family to “GO BE GREAT!” 
 
Have a great weekend,  
Brad 

Brad Heidemann

Author: Brad Heidemann

As CEO, Brad Heidemann drives the strategic vision for Tahzoo and directs the overall planning and execution of the business. He has grown the company from a few employees and some great ideas to an agency that serves the Fortune 500, maintaining offices from Amsterdam to Seattle.