Heroic or Selfish?
I was in my late twenties, an independent contractor, struggling hard to get my training practice off the ground. I was so lucky to have landed this big client job in the first place–nearly 50 people for a two-day, interactive training. My getting sick was never a part of the plan, but on it came–chills, fever, sore throat, the works. I framed my story in heroic terms–do I give up and fold, or do I drive on through the discomfort and deliver not just a training, but a standout experience for the folks who had paid to see me? The hero’s story is one of perseverance, drive and struggle, so you bet I showed up, finished the two-day event and got great reviews. However, if framed–instead–as a Social Responsibility story, my actions are pretty hard to defend. Rather than being or looking like a hero, I was actually spreading my flu (or whatever) to 50 people–who then passed it on to however many hundreds more. While I have always held myself as a hero in that story, in light of the COVID 19 pandemic, my actions now feel pretty selfish. The better action would have been to take one for the team, reschedule or even lose the event and do what I could to keep everyone healthy.
Shelter in Place = Social Responsibility
Local and Federal governments across the globe are urging us all to shelter in place, and we at OKA along with people everywhere–businesses, families and citizens–are struggling to understand what this will mean to our society, to our economy and to our futures. What is clear is that we are in this struggle together. We are and we know people who are out of work–or soon will be; who are in a high-risk health group; who are in need; who are lonely and particularly isolated. To the extent we can, let’s try to frame this struggle–and it might be a long one–as a Social Responsibility challenge. Emotional Intelligence and the EQ-i show us that Social Responsibility is the ability and tendency to join a social group and then think and act with a social consciousness–to care about and act with the group or others as the beneficiaries. What does my neighbor need? What will keep the most people safe and healthy? That is the challenge we face right now.
I recently ran across this example of Social Responsibility. In Spain during a quarantine, someone–while appropriately social distancing–calls the community out to sing Happy Birthday to a shut-in, high-risk neighbor.
Shelter in Place Survival Tips — How to Take One (or a few) for the Team:
- Find a person or group in need and–with help from and in the company of your family or colleagues–reach out to provide assistance or support. Walk or tend to a pet if they cannot, acquire groceries, provide a meal, do some yard work, check-in by phone, or even stop by for a chat (from a safe distance away).
- Give in or give up in and argument or clash of suggestions (even if you believe yourself to be right) for the sake of group harmony.
- Initiate a conversation with the group (your family, your team mates) about what the group members want as norms or collective goals.
- Think and talk in terms of “we” as much as you can.
The above suggested Social Responsibility actions are from OKA’s extensive work on Emotional Intelligence and the EQ-i. OKA is a world leader in the training of these and other EQ topics online and in person. Visit www.oka-online.com to explore the different training options OKA offers the curious EQ learner, trainer or leader.