A Call for Social Reaching – Skip the Distance
I won’t even bother with explaining the context for this blog and my thoughts, as it’s all well documented (with terms like stay at home, social distance, covid-19,and quarantine life topping trending lists). You don’t need to hear it again. Suffice it to say, these are difficult times and many of our clients are experiencing unique challenges they could have never anticipated.
Why did they choose the term social distance?
My hope is that all of us are taking very seriously our need to do our part in stopping the spread of the virus. Our trusted medical health leaders have called this Social Distancing, which to me is very unfortunate. What they are asking us to do makes perfect sense and I throw my weight behind it. However, the construct is really too bad. I would much prefer we call this physical social distance or honouring a larger personal space. That is because right now more than ever we need Social Reaching; as opposed to Social Distance.
Relationship is a human need
Those of you who may already have vulnerabilities in your lives associated with mental and emotional health may do what many people do when they are not at their best in their mental health. The tendency is to withdraw and isolate. This is dangerous. What we all need to practice right now is intentional Social Reaching. We are wired for connection and relationship.
If you haven’t watched it recently, be sure to use some of your found time over the next week or so to watch “Castaway” starring Tom Hanks. It is a good reminder of the need for relationship.
What is your critical number?
All our corporate clients know the importance of having a critical number. We cannot control what we don’t understand, and we cannot understand what we don’t measure. A critical number in business may relate to profit and loss. A critical number could also be associated with a business process or something in the people domain. Regardless, there must always be one most important measure. It is okay to have more than one number, but there must always be one that is the most important. The main thing must be the main thing, because if everything is important, nothing is important.
Today I am calling for all of us to have a critical number associated with Social Reaching during this time. Please take seriously the need for physical distancing and for honouring an enlarged personal space for all individuals. However, please also take seriously your Social Reaching behaviour.
I offer that your critical number is as follows:
Super Green: 12+
Yellow: 5 to 7
Red: 4 or less
The critical number, just like we do in business with our One-Page-Strategic-Plan (OPSP) has a green, a super green and a red…and then of course, yellow is between red and green.
What are we measuring?
We are measuring “whites of the eyes.” The measure is related to how many pairs of eyeballs you look into, in person or virtually, where you can see the whites of the eyes for at least 5 seconds.
You need human contact, and this may be easier for some of you than others. If you live with 3 others, that is 3 pair of eyeballs you will make contact with every day, if you are all home together. That is not enough. You need more than that. This means you will need to be intentional about seeing a neighbour out on the street, where you can engage in eye contact from a respectful distance. Or, you need to be intentional about getting in contact with someone through Skype, WhatsApp or some other video chat platform. You can have great human connection with a neighbour standing 15 feet apart on a sidewalk or in a park.
You can have great human connection if you reach for a friend or family member through a video platform. This is called Social Reaching, and you need to reach. This is absolutely critical.
Cameron’s Call to Action for Social Reaching all the while respecting Social Distance
- Fully honour and respect the physical distance that is being recommended by our medical health professionals so that we can flatten the curve and stop the spread of the virus.
- Make a commitment to Social Reaching and adopt my suggested critical number.
- Begin measuring, effective today, “whites of the eyes.” Your measure of your success in Social Reaching has everything to do with the number of pairs of eyes you connect with for over 5 seconds at a time.
- Qualitatively, when you are connecting with “whites of the eyes” see if you can slow everything down and create a space for personal reflection and sharing from a vulnerable place; creating the safety for your counterpart to do the same.
- Qualitatively again, see how many of the individual sets of “whites of the eyes” you can connect with at least 10 times in one day.