What do you miss? For me, it’s the people.
During the pandemic a lot of us have been isolated for periods of time and even where re-opening has happened there is still the distancing, or mask wearing. In the media and culturally there are divisions along opinion, but also widespread unification in the efforts combating racism and improving inclusion.
The biggest thing we have experienced though is the separation from human interaction. Yes, of course there is Zoom but now we all know what the online video experience is like. It is wondrous technology that allows us to see people face-to-face across the entire planet in real time, but there is a dehumanizing nature to it.
Of course, my world was rocked as in February I set out and went “all in” on 2020 being the year I spoke on stages across North America and planned to hold my largest workshops ever…not to mention all the one-on-one and small group coaching and training I do. Live and in-person.
For me, the biggest thing I have missed is the people. I am a hugger and a hand-shaker and a shoulder-slapper. The energy I share and receive from direct interactions is like an exchange of pure oxygen.
This also got me thinking about where I am in life right now. Two years ago we made a bold move as a family to move from our home (my birthplace) in Calgary, Alberta to our new home in Squamish, BC. It was a lifestyle choice more than a business one, and in almost every way it has been an improvement. Our recreational passions are all outside our doorstep in the most epic way. But, you never know how much extreme weather has an impact on you until you leave it. I do not miss the never ending winters in Calgary. They are stifling. We are healthier today than ever.
But there are some things I miss terribly. You see Calgary was a wonderful place. It still is, but my hometown has been struggling mightily for six years in a recession that was book ended by a hundred year flood and this pandemic. What I miss about Calgary is the culture and the people. It is a volunteer culture where they don’t just post their giving intentions on social media…they don’t signal their indignations at every turn, they simply step up and get busy. Sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly, but they ALWAYS put their money, time and influence behind their intention. Mission heart prevails. I miss that.
In Calgary, people are genuinely happy to see you and be seen. They greet you with smiles on the street. They are polite, but focused. You see they are busy. They have things to do, businesses to run and communities to support. That courtesy extends even to driving. Yes, Albertans are a bit heavy on the pedal, but people turn their signal lights on to let you know where they intend to turn and they get out of the fast lane and pass on the left…something I don’t see much these days.
There is a spirit of community in Calgary that is special in the world and the 1988 Olympics demonstrated. I remember watching from the chair of my math class in highs school as Eddie the Eagle soared – rather like an albatross and not so much an eagle – to legendary status.
Calgary has been synonymous with beef, energy and the Stampede. It happily and dutifully, supplies this to Canada, the USA and the rest of the world. It is also a place where people work hard, play hard and believe success is right around the corner. There are a lot of big hats, but there plenty of cattle too. People back up their big claims…they have earned them.
So today, in a brief manner, I am summing up what I do miss right now. I have an amazing family and pretty awesome clients, for sure, but overall I miss people. I miss interacting, hugging, laughing and spending time with good, decent, hardworking people who dig in, follow up and understand that life is a two way street and giving is the only way to grow. They don’t just say it, they live it. They will agree to do a deal with a handshake and follow through. They don’t need to “get to know you” because they already do. They know you’re from there (fresh off the boat or born there, it doesn’t matter – they’re in it together) and buy in to the common direction they’re heading. They agree to the rules of the game and they see the same goals - so they just get to it.
The past while has been tough for my hometown and those days aren’t over yet…but they will be.
There was an old jingle from one of the local TV stations there and it would go “There’s a feeling in the air, that you can’t get anywhere, except in Calgary…” It is a special place…but there are even nicer places geographically for lifestyles and I believe we live in one of those nicer places right now…but there are few places I have ever been with nicer people.
Yes, I miss the spirit of Calgary…and with this pandemic and its distancing…I miss people.
I am Mike Skrypnek, CEO and Founder of Grow Get Give Coaching. Have a great day and an amazing weekend.