Speaker, Author, Consultant, Fraud Examiner

COVID-19 shelter in place mandates across the world have encouraged deep dives into long ignored closets and drawers. I have one whole room of items ready to be hauled down to our local missions center and bags of unnecessary clutter/junk/used-to-be-sentimental items that have found their way to the curb or recycle bin.

I’m now working on the shelves, sorting books and reorganizing the space. My colleague and friend Andrea Greer, of On Point Dental Consulting is an expert in this area and has encouraged / motivated me to use this time wisely.

While cleaning one of the shelves, I ran across an advert card from the Westin Hotel. It was to be placed on the bed if you required fresh linens and gave instructions regarding towel replacement.

The sentence that followed in a much bigger font affected my thought process, life and business profoundly.

“your choice makes a difference.”

It seemed like one of those pivotal moments.

We never talk much about the “objects” that motivate us toward implementing a new idea but this was the card that spurred my popular presentation, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Ethics is Your Choice,” so many years ago. As I held the aged card in my hand, the same thoughts that poured through my mind then, rushed through again because the message is still so true.

So much so, that I immediately sat down to write out my thoughts. Now, to be fair, I will do anything to avoid cleaning and rearranging, which is why it is in such a mess.  After all, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well,” well stated Mark Twain.

“your choice makes a difference.”

To say these past few months have been challenging would be a gross understatement. I said from the beginning that the challenges ahead would prove our character by either honing it or highlighting the shortcomings. Our choices in what we have faced have done that for us.

My appeal at that time (and always) was for honesty, integrity and kindness to win out at the end of the day, at the end of the pandemic.

Facebook pages were full of community endeavors helping each other.  Industries retooled what they could do to provide PPEs and hand sanitizers. The crisis gave way for creative minds to think outside the box and find solutions. Grocery stores worked diligently to provide a clean place to buy necessary supplies, sometimes restocking the shelves to waiting hands and carts. Individuals and families made production lines of sewing masks. Unwavering support for a burdened healthcare community encouraged their hearts and often provided nourishment for their bodies.

“your choice makes a difference.”

Neighbors spoke with neighbors, from a safe distance of course. I saw people out walking their dogs and kids during the day that I have never seen before. Friends checked in on friends to see if they needed anything during grocery runs.

Countless videos have popped up on every platform, providing a much need humor to those staying inside. My personal favorites?  I loved Some Good News with John Krasinski, which mostly made me laugh but sometimes made me cry with the personal stories. The Hamilton crew was one of my favorites. One hysterical social media video was Adley Stump impersonating a news reporter that reported on all the contradictory information that we have heard the past few months in What We Should All Be Doing Right Now!  But my favorite video was the one my colleagues and I pulled together to try and encourage a battle weary industry.  If you haven’t seen it yet, and need a little encouragement, here it is.

And the memes of homeschooling were very entertaining. Many of my friends are teachers who were trying to teach online. Creative minds came up with solutions for us to remain light hearted, when indeed, during the space of deadening silence, our hearts felt heavy with lots of unknown.

“your choice makes a difference.”

Restaurants changed to curbside only and many provided food to those without food.  Lines of those in need of basic provisions stretched out for miles and volunteers still practicing social distancing, loaded food provisions in the trunks of grateful recipients. Many schools continued to provide free meals to students, long after the bells had prematurely rung their final bell for the semester.

The number of Zoom calls and Facebook live events I have been interviewed on or given presentations on wore me out but all of us were just trying to help each other through some uncharted waters. I started my own podcast series trying to get information out as quickly as I could because the information itself most often changed before I could even publish the podcast. The Money In, Money Out Podcast was planned to launch mid-April, but the crisis moved that date up and changed the essence of the podcast for the time being.  If you have not listened to the podcast, you can find it on Libsyn iTunes or Spotify or Stitcher or TuneIn or many of the other podcast platforms. If you have a favorite, not listed, let me know.

“your choice makes a difference.”

Overall, I have seen more positive than negative, but maybe that is how I choose to see these past few months, even in the midst of the major revenue loss COVID-19 sabotaged. Some days it is harder than others. On those days, I choose to not listen to the news nor get on social media but absorb my heart in a good book or work in the yard, if the rain allows.

Even then, my choice does make a difference, even if that difference is only related to me. That’s how choices work. But a choice you make believing it only affects you, does affect a greater circle around you. It’s easier to see this with bad choices, like what I see in practice embezzlement. The narrow minded choice to steal is self-centered because the fall out when discovered, effects everyone that cares about the embezzler…and they are almost always discovered. In fact, most bad choices always happen that way.

“your choice makes a difference.”

Time will bear witness to how many great choices were made during this pandemic. I realize this blog post has nothing to do with my business but everything to do with where we are in life.

Someone may made need to hear encouragement to keep making good choices because their choice makes a difference. Many during the past few months have made a difference, stepping up to the plate to help others.

It all started with a choice to do so.

“No matter how hard things get, there is still good in the world.” – John Krasinski