For those not old enough to remember late night shows of the 70’s and 80’s, Johnny Carson was the guy who used to host The Tonight Show and one of the skits he used to do was Carnac The Magician. The co-host would pass him envelopes and he would guess the punchline before reading the question. As I pondered the three words in the title of this post, I could only think that this was the answer to some of the questions that many have been asking ourselves as of late. How can I find more time for me? How can I find more purpose in what I do in my day? How can I find a way to connect with people that I don’t know or rebuild relationships that I let slide?

We have just been blindsided by a global pandemic. Dates and responsibilities aside, we are now more isolated than any of us could have ever imagined only a few weeks ago. We are more disconnected than the pace of work, the distraction of our tech and the pressure of keeping up with the Jones’ around the world, could have ever created. The global pandemic has taken away our water cooler and the fancy coffee machine we used to gather around. It’s even taken us away from the short walk to the local coffee shop or restaurant for a chance to connect with a friend, a colleague or neighbor.

But what it HAS done is given us permission. Permission to reach out to our friends, colleagues, neighbours and family, whether they are only a few doors away or on the other side of the world. Permission to reach out virtually and connect with people that we would have thought deserved better only until a few weeks ago. We’ve been given permission to use technology because it is the only option we have, and it appears that we are taking full advantage of it more than many could have ever imagined.

We have also been given the perfect excuse to reach out. No different than the original inspiration of The GenWell Project, the summer blackout of 2003. That day it was a blackout that took us out of our routines, today it’s a health crisis. Both affected large communities of people, with the pandemic impacting the globe, simultaneously. Having a common catalyst or occasion provides each of us the simple ability to connect by asking “how are you doing?”.

And there is one more very important gift that we have all been given greater access to. PURPOSE. Our purpose right now is about human connection. It’s about knowing that just by reaching out to someone else you can make a difference in their life…and in yours. Many people had questioned the lack of purpose in their lives recently and now we all have the opportunity to make a difference multiple times a day.

As humans, we have an innate need to connect with others. There is a small chance that over the last decade or two we may have forgot just how much we need people to get through our lives. Although COVID-19 will cause great pain and suffering for many people, there may be some light at the end of this long tunnel. We may, once again, realize that human connection is a critical component of our happiness and health. We may recognize that giving can be much more than a cheque or a lottery ticket. We may realize that we all have something to give; rich or poor, young or old, gay or straight, urban or rural. We are truly all in this battle together, but together one conversation at a time, we will get to the other side of Covid-19 and we may create a world that is more connected and happier and healthier than we have been for some time.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy getting and staying connected virtually for now,

Pete