A well-used phrase has dominated the American lexicon this week. “Stay safe” closes emails and texts. It rings out from a safe distance while grocery shopping, running, biking and hiking. But, what does “stay safe” mean? I think it means more than staying healthy and avoiding infection. To me, “stay safe” harbors a nuanced combination of caution and optimism. It is sobering, helping us to move from the trivial things we thought were important to what is real and in front of us right now.
Erik Larson’s new book, “The Splendid and the Vile, A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” brings to life how the British Empire met its challenges and stayed focused while chaos literally rained down from the sky. “Stay safe” in 1941 London did not just mean staying alive during the often-nightly bombing. It meant finding new ways to keep the social, health, business and community life of the country functioning throughout the crisis.
In many ways, we are facing a similar challenge. As a country that is almost “allergic” to rules, we must all now follow rules designed to keep more of us from getting sick. As a society, we need to take care of our families and communities while leaving room to celebrate and frankly sometimes mourn. And we need to find new ways to attend to our healthcare system, economy, food and shelter that embrace real solutions for real needs.
Churchill understood the complexity of the tasks in front of him and concurrently managed each element to win the war. As we now struggle with what’s in front of us, we too will find ways to persevere and eventually thrive. In our industry, we are now even more acutely aware of the direct impact that the management of assets has on people’s daily lives. This is serious business for a serious time.
Perhaps we will, in many ways, eventually be better for the experience.
Stay safe and healthy,
Managing Director and President