“I had the privilege of attending an Annual General Meeting recently…”
Said no one ever.
Except me today, as the AGM of the International Association of Facilitators really inspired me this week. Not because of the content, which was encouraging but pretty standard. It was the diversity of attendees that caught my attention. I didn’t know everyone on the call, but we were a group of 51 people and I counted at least 23 countries represented! (These global meetings have become my vicarious travelling life…they make me happy.)
What struck me was the enthusiasm with which participants spoke about feeling better connected to one another this year than they ever have before. It was such an unexpected and refreshing theme, as I’ve become used to hearing about a strong sense of disconnection during COVID. In this case, COVID has actually had the opposite effect. Because people are less busy, travelling less often and craving connection, they have prioritized reaching out and strengthening their network. As one participant said, “I’ve experienced the difference between a network and a community this year.”
I often start meetings with the question, “What is one unexpected benefit of life in COVID for you?” I love hearing examples of how lock down suits introverts, or how family relationships are deepening, or how long-lost hobbies are being rekindled.
But this AGM example was different. It reminded me that even the worst of COVID — disconnection — is not an inevitable or universal experience. When one pathway to connection was cut off (i.e. no face-to-face meetings for facilitators), deeper connection has resulted in other spaces.
It’s worth paying attention to this in other areas of our lives. What limiting stories might you be telling yourself about which the exact opposite might be true?