These are unsettling times. When people feel unsettled, they can act out; saying things and doing things they don’t really mean.

Mercy: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

It is a moment for us all to have mercy on ourselves and each other. A friend and leadership coach, Christine Arylo, gives a perspective on mercy as an act of compassion, “I see your pain as part of the collective pain which is also inside of me. I pray for the release of your pain and choose not to add to it.”

Stay safe. Now is the time to connect with loving family and friends. It’s most likely not the time to try to clear up past misunderstandings with people you may be estranged from. Our resilience is being tested and drawn upon. We need to save our reserves for the urgent situation at hand.

Be kind. I have watched my emotional tank get near empty several times during the past week, and then found myself in situations with dear family where I just could not respond well. The kindest thing I can do for myself and others in those moments is to fill up my tank so than I can stay in loving relation with those around me.

I find my emotional tank draining faster than it has in many, many years. I have reinstated every morning and evening ritual in my arsenal, some of which had slipped from my schedule.

  • Meditation
  • Daily exercise
  • Time in nature
  • Gratitude
  • Time alone (critical for me right now)

My husband shared this hilarious video, and when he senses I’m getting too intense, he says, “b” and we crack up.

I am leaning on technology: meditation apps, daily ritual apps, exercise apps. My gym has started Zoom exercise classes! We’ve also started to do regular Zoom gatherings with family and friends.

At work, we are getting our team members together on Zoom regularly to connect and share what is happening in their lives during this crisis. So many challenges: trying to work with kids at home, worrying about elderly or sick family members, dealing with sickness themselves, and overall, coping with the uncertainty and fear that this pandemic has caused.

Help. We all know the best way to stop worrying about ourselves is to help someone who is in an even more difficult position. There are many. Here is an excellent article from The Washington Post on How you can help during the coronavirus outbreak. Most cities have central volunteer coordination that you can tap into as well.

We don’t know what is ahead. All we can do is prepare as best we can and then manage each day, hour and moment in front of us, as gracefully as we can.

With hope and compassion,

Barbara Fagan-Smith
CEO, ROI Communication
Chief Catalyst, Living ROI

P.S. — We are finding that most companies and organizations, big and small, are not communicating enough with their people. It’s nearly impossible to communicate too much at this time. Normally I don’t share things from ROI Communication in this newsletter, but my team has created an excellent Communication Checklist for COVID-19 that I thought would be helpful. It includes best-practice examples for any organization or company that has people in it.

  1. Are you keeping your leadership team highly visible?
  2. Have you ramped up support for your managers?
  3. Are you proactively addressing panic and fear?
  4. Are you enabling employees to stay connected?
  5. Do you know how your employees are faring?
  6. Do you have a communication control tower in place?
  7. Do employees feel supported as they adjust to working virtually?
  8. Have you revisited your editorial strategy and calendar?
  9. Are you keeping an eye on productivity?
  10. Are you enabling employees to do good in their local communities?
  11. Do your leaders recognize this as a defining moment for engagement and loyalty?



Founder and CEO of ROI Communication and the Chief Catalyst for Living ROI. She is committed to helping people and organizations bring their best to the world.

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Barbara Fagan-Smith

Founder and CEO of ROI Communication and the Chief Catalyst for Living ROI. She is committed to helping people and organizations bring their best to the world.