The Moving Target

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I’m starting to hear, “Things are getting back to normal.” That breath of normalcy in the air is hardly a bad thing. There's the sense that the pandemic is on its last legs in my corner of the world.

Nearly always, my response is that going back to normal shouldn’t be our goal. Going back isn’t a goal.

We want to move forward, changed for the better by the many challenges of the past year. We’ve all learned some important and valuable lessons, including lessons about how resilient and adaptable we are (see our podcast with Roger Martin on the importance of adaptability).

As a representative member of the species, I've adapted to working from home. I imagine many of you have too—maybe you even prefer it.

I’ve become very comfortable on my work-from-home, no travel, S Curve of Learning. I know what I am doing every day. The routine perks along in the sweet spot, the levels of friction are low. I can meet with people all over the world with very little travel time, meaning none. I sleep in my bed. Eat food from my kitchen. On second thought, it may not be the sweet spot. I may have mastered this curve entirely.

Which explains why a rather large part of me does not want to go ‘back to normal.'

I have been fortunate. I didn’t get sick. I live with other people and talk to people all day long. I haven't felt isolated, and our family didn’t miss a major life event. I’m confident that I’m woefully, inadequately grateful for how comfortable my situation has been.

Even so, there is a bit of apprehension as the world opens back up.

I suspect some of me will revel in that moment of giving someone I care about a hug, talking face to face, speaking to a live audience again. Seeing new places and eating unexpected food again. All of that and more!

But loss aversion theory is alive and well. We are more motivated by what we may lose than by what we may gain. It’s probably time to start thinking about that again, and how it may lead me to hang on when I need to jump instead.

So, here’s the question I’m asking myself (flipping loss aversion theory on its head) – If I don't jump to this new-old S Curve of going out and about – of learning to be on the road again, what experiences will I not have?

If we don’t aim at the moving target of normalcy, what will we lose?

Our podcast guest this week is Aicha Evans, CEO of autonomous vehicle company, Zoox. She fits nicely with where I want to be as she is focused on the future––eager for it and for the changes and challenges that evolving technology will continue to bring. I feel excited about the future when I talk to her. ​I hope you will listen and feel it too!

Yours in going forward not backward, in getting to the best kind of normal,

Whitney

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