What we learned and how, as a society, we will move forward

Is it safe to come out and play yet? Eh, your guess is as good as mine. What is safe - is to say 2020 was a year no one saw coming. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in mid-March, we learned what “social distancing” is all about, we roll our eyes when we hear the words “Zoom meeting,” and yes, we all probably have a favorite face mask by now. But that (hopefully) barely scratches the surface of the lessons we’ve taken to heart during the season of COVID. As a society, we have learned much, much more. Or at least, we should have…

Be Honest And Humble

It’s not always easy to be humble – and some have a tougher time than others – but it’s a key lesson we, as a society, learned. If you remember, way back in late February, some of our medical leaders told us not to buy face masks because they were “not effective.” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted exactly that. That stance was later reversed. He then went on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” and said, “When we learn better, we do better.” Our health care leaders tried to be honest and humble. And we tried to listen. At first, we didn’t buy masks because that’s what we were told. Then we did. As things change, as we learn more about COVID-19, we can – and should – change our stance on things. Sometimes people are wrong. That’s what being human is all about.

Be Determined

The pandemic, the temporary forced closing of many businesses, and then figuring out the best way to re-open were all things that no one in the modern world has ever had to do. It was new to everyone. But much of the community came together (virtually, of course). We were determined to make sure the McKinney community got through this. Nothing more evident than the #McKinneyStrong movement that quickly went viral locally. People who could, were supporting local companies. And in turn, many local companies were supporting other companies and non-profits.

Be Adaptable

Almost overnight, everything from your social life to your professional life changed. And you had to quickly learn how to roll with the punches. That presentation you were going to be giving in person was now to be given on a platform called Zoom or Microsoft Teams. That vacation you were looking forward to all year had to be canceled or postponed. Things changed, we adapted. And it turns out, we’re pretty good at adapting. Not perfect. But good. We got used to working from home and homeschooling the kids. Our employers got used to trusting that we’ll do our job from home. The list goes on – social distancing, mask wearing, no live sports, ordering out, etc. – we adapted to our new way of life because, simply put, we had to. Being adaptable goes for companies and organizations, too. Whether it’s finding a new business model, upgrading your e-commerce capabilities, or taking advantage of a new need (who would have ever thought there’d be a market for fancy face masks?). Walmart, for example, turned over 100 of their store parking lots into drive-in movie theaters. The movies were free, but they probably made quite a bit from movie-goers heading inside to spend money. Another example: several restaurants and bars in the McKinney area hosted virtual concerts during peak social distancing.

Continue Our Education

The COVID-19 pandemic also made it evident how important continuing education is. Whether it’s sales professionals learning how to best navigate the murky waters of the post-pandemic world or a small business owner learning a new skill that’ll help their business adapt and thrive, it’s important to always be on the lookout for ways to learn new skills.

Bottom Line

“Don’t take anything for granted.” “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Sure, those may be overused idioms, but they both sound like pretty good advice right about now. It’s a whole new world out there, and we’re just living in it. But we can make sure we’re living our best lives in this new world by learning from what we just went through as a community. That way, if this kind of thing ever happens again, God forbid, we’ll have a better idea of what to do.


This is an article adapted for use here from our 2021 Senior Resource Guide - Navigating Senior Life.

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