In A Pandemic, Inspiration Might be the Only Thing You Can Provide (But Boy, Does It Matter!)

Here we are, an entire world of professionals suddenly housebound. Some of us are still working. Others aren’t, unsure of what the future holds. All of us trying to stay calm. And—aside from sequestering ourselves indoors with squeaky clean hands, there’s little we can do to help. But wait! Is that true?

People who have seen Contagion, I Am Legend, and a handful of zombie epics can join me in counting our blessings in several significant ways: 

  • We’re not the last people alive. This is not, thankfully, the apocalyptic New York City of Severance.
  • There are neither zombies nor vampires lurking (none known, anyway). We can read, write, reason, relate, do yoga…and imagine.
  • Unlike in those (admittedly Hollywood) movies, COVID-19 does NOT cause a near-certitude of death—not even for the very vulnerable. We protect and treat, and we can also stay hopeful.
  • We’re all here, working. Ensconced at home, we’re online even more than ever—and many have commented on how staying away weirdly (wonderfully) results in feeling unified and connected.

For a content creation and copywriting team, here’s what it comes down to: Content—backed by actions—matters now more than ever. Whether consciously or not, people are searching for a source of light—levity, certitude, kinship…all of the above. 

And each of us can give it. By posting our stories and ideas—whether about life in the time of COVID-19, or something unrelated and delightful / thoughtful / touching—can all help scores of others to find reassurance, to spark hope, to build resilience, to consume something awesome. Better if it’s personal, fact-filled, or counterintuitive. Best if it’s magnanimous, not self-serving. 

Against the dire backdrop, we come into the true meaning of thought leadership (not the cliched one). And so we gathered some everyday inspiration to share. 

  • Journalists, a famously competitive lot, have joined forces for the greater good. “We stop the virus together, let’s make responsibility go viral,” announced the front pages across Argentine newspapers. “When you’re on your own, we are there with you,” announced rival British newspapers. If grumpy old hacks can show some marketing solidarity, the rest of us probably can, too. 
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo has delivered a Powerpoint presentation with a winning combination of facts, urgency, and compassion
  • Entertainers, musicians, nutritionists, yogis are selflessly sharing their expertise to keep us mentally, physically, and spiritually well. For the most part, these are donation-based events—and truly incredible. 
  • Without being asked, Ford Motor Co. is partnering with 3M and GE, repurposing its factories, and manufacturing medical supplies for COVID-19 patients. 
  • New Yorkers have joined in ad hoc coalitions to take care of one another, using Google docs to get unused MetroCards to essential workers, Google forms to coordinate childcare in certain neighborhoods, and just their handiwork to hand-sew masks to provide to healthcare workers. Circulating on Twitter (and now, in media coverage), these lists speak to the ways that neighbors and strangers are looking out for each other.
  • People everywhere are showing their love for small businesses. In Washington D.C., Capitol Hill Books started putting together “mystery” book packages available for order. Within days, they had more orders than they could fill—with fans all over the world writing in to support the shop. 
  • Even as restaurants have had to close, they haven’t stopped serving. In Westchester, New York, a coalition of chefs pledged to make a million gallons of soup for the surrounding community. Chef Michael Psilakis let his staff shelter at home, but he is back in his restaurant kitchen, cooking alone—with one menu for the employed, and the other for people who have lost their jobs

So no matter how bad everything seems right now, all this and much more should give you plenty to smile about. Here’s just hoping we can keep up momentum even after the crisis passes—and start seeing everyday inspiration as something for everyone, always.

A champion of high-end content, Jean is a living tribute to copywriting for humans. In 2012, at a TEDx talk, she declared her now widely viewed “War Against Bland.” The visionary founder of MarketSmiths, Jean leads her growing team to captivate, inspire, and motivate readers. She has helped thousands of global clients generate revenue from words (up to 12,000% ROI), and transformed the writing of hundreds of seminar attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival (2014 and 2015), SXSW V2V (2014), the Small Business Summit (2014, NYC), and other venues.

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