I hope this piece finds you and your family happy, healthy, and safe!
[I recommend reading the entire piece, there is a special offer for you!]
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece called Social Distancing is Dumb in which I pushed against the term “social distancing” and instead embraced “spatial distancing”. In an accompanying piece, Do You Know What is Worse than Coronavirus?, I tackled what I perceived as one of the greatest negative impacts due to the pandemic, namely discouragement. In my mind, today’s piece is a continuation of those pieces.
“Herd immunity” is often described as a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. The term has been thrown around as a possible solution for this coronavirus and viruses like it. I will not argue the merits of the strategy. There are plenty of people arguing for utilizing herd immunity while others are staunchly against it. But that’s not only the way the herd can potentially help us in times of stress and challenge.
When it comes to mental health and assistance in hard times, herd immunity can help us too. In this case, I am referring to our authentic relationships with others, our support systems both personally and professionally as “the herd”. The importance of having a community is one that seems to be underappreciated in these modern times.
However, in what seems to be an eerily timely release, Vivek Murthy (former Surgeon General) has written a book called Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. While the book is on my reading list, I have admittedly not read it yet. However, the premise of the book is that the impact of loneliness on our health is a hidden one and there is significant social power in belonging to a community.
The former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, will be in conversation with NYT bestselling author Daniel Pink to discuss How Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders Can Overcome Loneliness While Strengthening Our Connections and Relationships in a COVID-19 World. This will be an interactive event that will include breakout discussions and fellowship.
This is a virtual event taking place on May 21, from 4:00-5:30, and is being put together by CADRE – a great community of CEOs and entrepreneurs of which I am a member.
As a member, I am able to provide you with a discount code to save $25.
Your cost is $49, which includes a copy of Dr. Murthy’s new book, Together, shipped to you.
You can learn more and register at https://www.cadredc.com/youniversity/dr-vivek-murthy/.
Use the code TOGETHER to get the savings.
As humans, our individualistic tendencies and often our own ego stop us from leaning on the herd, and in many cases, we underestimate the value others bring to our lives. I would venture to say that most of us have been moving through life during “normal times” and not focusing on strengthening the herd around us at all. Unfortunately, a strong herd is most effective at supporting us if it’s in place before we need it. Some examples that may determine if your herd is weak include:
- If you were to lose your job tomorrow, who are the 5-10 people in your field that you would reach out to immediately for a new and challenging job opportunity?
- You are a stay at home parent. Who are the 3-5 other stay at home parents that you can lean on, who have positive attitudes and push you to be a better parent?
- Can you name two or three people in your life (those that seem to know everyone) that you know you could call for a solid referral for service providers (a lawyer, a realtor, a financial advisor, etc.)?
- If you came down with a serious illness, who are the first 5-7 people you would call to lean on emotionally?
- You are professionally goal-oriented and want to rise within your company. Who are the mentors you should be talking to? Whom do you know that has done it before that could serve as a guide?
- Name three or four pieces of content you listen to that specifically are helping you reach a particular life goal.
Most of us take an organic or serendipitous route to establish our communities or our herd. I’ve been advocating for years that building relationships with others can be systematized in an authentic manner. We have to increase the probability of forming those relationships by taking actions that put us in closer proximity to the types of people who can bring value to our lives.
Lastly, we need to reciprocate. We are part of a community, a herd, whether we realize it or not. Are you a strong member? Are you someone the herd can rely on? Can someone call upon you in time of need or struggle?
Herd immunity may or may not be the answer for highly contagious viruses spawned from bats, but it is absolutely the answer to living a truly inspiring and less stressful life.
- Where can you strengthen your herd? Reread the bulleted questions above, answer truthfully, and identify those areas of weakness.
- Devise a plan to strengthen the weak points, to increase your probability of meeting people that you can lean on. Does that mean attending a class, a conference, or simply being vulnerable with others more often?
- Email me, share your thoughts on this premise of herd immunity and community!**