My dad used to say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” My four brothers and I thought it was kind of quaint, in a roll-your-eyes-at-dad kind of way. Having grown up in the Great Depression, that philosophy wasn’t corny or cute to him. It was a way to train yourself to have resilience in the middle of a crisis. His whole life was one big pitcher of lemonade.
We have that chance now. We shouldn’t be melodramatic about this crisis since it’s unclear whether it will have anywhere close to the impact of the Great Depression. But it’s real, it’s serious, and most of us think it will last for some time.
By now, you may be mastering the basics of managing yourself. You’re aware of your feelings and can perhaps even name them. You can trace your feelings back to the stories you tell yourself, the software that runs your life in the background. You see how your habits of thinking, feeling, and acting reinforce those narratives. You may even be curating practices that can replace harmful habits. And hopefully, you’ve surrounded yourself with a crew who are actively participating in helping you become the person you were created to be.
In a way, we can be grateful for this crisis – or at least the opportunity it presents. During normal times, we easily skim along the surface without paying attention to these defining features of who we are and who we’re becoming. We’re productive but superficial. We forget that who we’re becoming is more important than what we’re doing.
This crisis has shaken us from that stupor. It’s a test. It’s a crucible. It could be our defining moment, as individuals and organizations and generations. It could help us develop the character we’ve always wanted but haven’t gotten around to developing.
Lemons have been served. Let’s make lemonade.