Metrics That Matter (Part 1): Will We Choose Transformation or Stagnation?

As the spring approaches this year, it feels a bit like the world is waiting expectantly for its rebirth, post-pandemic.   The anxious anticipation of relief from the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and the cascading complications it has caused, not to mention extreme weather, civil unrest, and the economic fallout with rising unemployment, have all of us longing for better days.  Even if you have not personally known anyone that has had COVID-19, your life has been impacted, your freedoms curtailed. Whether we have formally acknowledged it or not, each of us has had the realization within this last year that there is no circumventing the impact this pandemic has had on our lives has.  At some level, we have likely have concluded, one way or another, that the only way out is through to the other side.

Early in the quarantine, I wrote the following piece that reflected on the way we as humans mark time.

On Cocoons, Butterflies, and Hope for Humanity

It is common to hear context by events, for instance, before and after 911.  I shared then that I believed we were entering a new marker that in the future we would recall as ‘before the pandemic or after the pandemic’.  A premonition that has come true as 2020 ended and 2021 has begun to unfold.  We will never be the same as a society.  Vaccine or no vaccine, there is no going “back to normal” as I have heard so many people long for this past year.

No matter your circumstances, financial and/or emotional trauma can make a person feel like they are wearing cement boots. I would argue that we still have choices.  This quote from Viktor E. Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, speaks to this and to the position we find ourselves in today.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

So, what is next? I believe we are at the proverbial fork in the road as a human race.  Whether we are discussing solutions for businesses that are struggling to survive or for the individuals and families that have been impacted at varying levels by financial and emotional trauma over the past year, the conversations are the same; how will we survive? We are all searching for our own response to these unsettling times.

Are we going to let this past year’s quarantine, civil unrest, and natural disasters have us leaning into feeling powerless going forward?  Or will we have the conviction to take back our world by being intentional about how we move forward?

If we agree that moving forward is the only option, then I propose we take time to evaluate the changes we have experienced.  Accepting or rejecting them before we go on to the next chapter.  This is a tremendous opportunity to assess how this will evolve within our society, our families, and ourselves.

Of course, there are many hurdles at all levels of our society.  Some would say an overwhelming number, which might cause some to feel justified in throwing up their hands to opt for the tumbleweed response. However, as you might have guessed, I would opt for a more proactive response in the hope of fostering transformation over mere survival.  This quote from Christopher Reeve speaks to our ability to choose our attitude so beautifully, “Once you choose HOPE, anything’s possible.” I choose to HOPE in our future as a world-community, one HUMAN race. There is power in every choice we make as individuals and as a society.

Where do we start?

Get curious.  Focus your attention on what YOU experienced during the quarantine and ask those in your circle about their experiences.  The goal of your search is to find a map for the future journey that is centered on acting “with purpose, on purpose” a way that will enable us to evolve, progress, and transform our lives as human beings and as a society, not to just survive or exist.

Questions like these…

  • How have we been changed?
  • What can be gained?
  • What can we learn from this year of seclusion?
  • What have we shed, during this season of quarantine, that no longer serves us?
  • What have we gained in perspective while at home, at work, or at home working amid these many challenges?
  • Can we find things that we are grateful for? If so, can we capture the details about why we are grateful? 
  • What must we do to convert these experiences into the resilience we need to not only survive what will follow in the years to come but to thrive?
  • What does moving forward look like for YOU?


Catherine Fitzgerald
Catherine Fitzgerald
Catherine Fitzgerald is an experienced executive, natural leader, business coach, speaker, and writer. She is the founder of Catapult Leadership Group and certified with The Great Game Of Business®. Catherine has over 35 years’ experience as a strong professional with a proven track record in developing people, performance, and profits. She’s held many titles, be it as Regional Sales Manager, Vice President, Executive Director or CEO, in various industries from banking to health insurance and from choral music to feeding the hungry. Catherine is passionate about helping people which has been the common thread throughout her career. She understands that it is the people who make the difference, whether it is in the for-profit or the non-profit sectors. Catherine’s focus is on building strong businesses by helping employers to engage and align their employees through financial literacy training which is the cornerstone of open-book management. When employees know how to WIN at work and they are provided a stake in the outcome, they learn how to improve the financial scoreboard for the company. The result is that employees are empowered to think, act and feel like owners, which creates a financially secure company with an incredible culture. Catherine fell in love with the written word in high school and has always enjoyed the process of writing. She went on to UCLA and changed majors after her first year, graduating with a degree in English. She has always considered herself a writer and is enjoying the freedom to explore writing within her passion rather than as an assignment. Catherine is a board member for a local non-profit, an enthusiastic fan of live theater and loves to gather family & friends for a delicious homecooked meal but she is most proud of being the mom of three accomplished, amazing young men.

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  1. As I have been in a country with very, VERY strict rules during lockdown, (I am talking about military police standing with a machine gun next to you when one foot outside of your door), I took the only option possible; to go within. And there I found one answer to all your wonderful questions: What Am I? (instead of ‘who’). I am infinite energy, in the core. Energy that transforms from one to the next. And when I leave from this space, in all interactions with people, animals or nature, during pleasure or business, during restrictions made up by men, believes from my mind, opinions from others, and connect more consciously with that being freedom, then that is my always, eternally moving forward.

    What am I when I cannot leave the house? When I cannot perform as an artist? When I cannot be with the ones I love? I sat in the garden connected to the nothingness, the void, the silence and found everything. We can travel with our minds, we can connect to space and choose to fill that emptiness with whatever we want. I can close my eyes and be with my lover, hear his breathing in the night or travel anywhere.

    As humans we often intend to give much more attention to the stress, fear and the impact of situations. And as everyone around us are and have been for centuries its logical we get lost in it as well sometimes. I wont say I always feel connected to the source being that I am, as a singer and performer my life changed overnight severely, but it brought me so much more!

    Thank you for sharing those questions Catherine. I hope the whole world will see it.

    Greetings from the heart,

    • Eyra,
      Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you have been on a very challenging personal journey and I am so glad that my piece resonated with you. I cannot imagine what marshall law would be like, but I can say that you were wise to turn inward and allow your spirit the freedom to dream, explore, and be. I love your observation: “As humans we often intend to give much more attention to the stress, fear and the impact of situations. And as everyone around us are and have been for centuries its logical we get lost in it as well sometimes. I wont say I always feel connected to the source being that I am, as a singer and performer my life changed overnight severely, but it brought me so much more!” I believe that when we take the time to do the inner work and allow ourselves to just listen and just ‘BE’ we discover layers we were not aware of before. I hope you will stay tuned for the next two parts that will be released this week and next. I would love to hear your feedback and reactions.

      I wish you peace and joy~

  2. Great insights and even better question Catherine! Love this right here: “We are all searching for our own response to these unsettling times.” That is true for individuals and a collective. It is an opportunity to recreate, reinvent and restructure as much or as little as we need or want. #transformation

    • Thank you Carolyn, for your feedback. I truly appreciate knowing that my work has resonated with you. I love your comment: “It is an opportunity to recreate, reinvent and restructure as much or as little as we need or want. #transformation” I think it is not often that we as a collective, make the conscious decision to ‘evolve’. I think that often times it is in the rerview mirror that we realize what has happened. I think my writing reflects my own recognition that I have the opportunity to harness the internal wisdom I possess to move toward what serves me and to move from that which does not. The power of our minds is often underestimated and these last several months has really brought that to the surface for me.
      I hope you will stay tuned for the next two parts to be released this week and next. I would welcome your thoughts.
      With every good wish~

  3. Individuals have considerable adaptability, but I’m not sure they will continue to accept severe restrictions on their private life. In the long term, the psychological energies needed to adapt tend to run out and the ability to adapt weakens. After the emergency, we will return to being individualistic and strongly focused on our personal dimension.
    At the corporate level, to overcome the impact of the pandemic, CEOs are facing very busy challenges of uncertainty. Out of necessity, they had to give priority to the immediate, focusing on the needs of their people, customers and suppliers, and on the effective management of discontinuities in the Supply Chain. In parallel, they tried to stabilize revenues and take care of customers, to give new shape to their business to align with the evolution of demand and identify new growth paths.
    Now they are turning their attention to the management of phase 2, a period in which the economic trend will be difficult to predict and the possible slow recovery. The new phase will not be a simple return to pre-COVID business, but more likely will usher in a new era defined by rapid changes in cultural norms, societal values ​​and behaviors, such as increased demand for more responsible corporate policies and a renewed brandpurpose.

    • Spot on, Aldo! I think you are correct these will be very uncertain times going forward and there will be many shifts and adjustments to our values and priorities. I hope you will stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 of this series and share your reactions with me! Thank you for your comment!

  4. Catherine: Each business and each individual has experienced different levels and types of stress, hardship, and even fear. A business that has had the foresight to develop a strong balance sheet with considerable liquidity has weathered the crisis pretty well. Those highly leveraged and running on a string will probably not survive, even with government handouts.

    So it is with individuals. Some find it mildly irksom that they can’t go out to dinner, have friends over for a glass of wine, travel, or have a family together for holidays. Others find these restrictions almost unbearable and if that is compounded by financial difficulties may very well leave lasting emotional scars.

    Thus, I think every business and each person must find their own way through this swamp of difficulties and there is no single path that will work for all. As with any long-running difficulty some will make it, some won’t and that is the hard reality.

    • Ken, thank you for your astute assessment. You are correct. Stay tuned for part two & three, I believe we are aligned in more way than are obvious in this first part of my article. ;))

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