What to do when there is no RIGHT decision – my thoughts while in self isolation COVID-19

Masked woman

As I write this I find myself in self-isolation, working from home, awaiting the test results for COVID-19 of a person who had close contact with a person I had close contact with.  Back up one person, and they tested positive to COVID-19.

It’s been a long week – considering it’s only Wednesday.

I was faced on Monday morning, before I had consumed my second coffee, with having to make various decisions around cancelling a large event that night and closing down a number of services that our workplace provides to the community.

I am not decision phobic – I make dozens of them every day.  Some important and some less important.

But this week has been really challenging. I was forced to make decisions quickly on things where I had only the information in front of me. I made the decisions as best I could – lamenting the fact that, in my mind, there was NO RIGHT decision.  My gut churning as I gave the directions to cancel events and reduce services.

I was nagged by the sense that no decision I could make would be the ‘right’ decision.  I talked this through with a close friend. He said to me “So if there is no right decision, what is there? What is left if there is no right decision?”.

I had nothing. My brain was fried, I was in flight or fight. I didn’t want to make these decisions and I didn’t want to continue making them this week – knowing there were more to come.

Now these decisions aren’t simple. My decision to close a service to our community is not done lightly. I will get as many accolades for each decision as I will rotten tomatoes and vitriol.  That’s par for the course – what I was struggling with was the impact these decisions have on those already impacted by this pandemic in our community.  I close a library, I don’t just close a library – I take away social connection, the ability for our community to borrow books and resources, I take away a safe meeting place.  In making such a decision, I also protect my staff, my volunteers, and ultimately, maybe, I protect the community.

Rock.  Hard Place.  You’ll find me in middle.

That night I was tossing and turning – and then it came to me.

If there are no right decisions – then there also cannot be any wrong decisions.

There can only be the best decisions I can make in the moment – based on what I know at the time.  And personally, based on my values and my love for my people and my community.

And that is how it is.  The best decision.  Not right.  Not wrong.

I’m self isolating (along with 5 of our staff) because that is the best decision we could make at the time. I have intense feelings of letting my teams down. And that’s ok – I can feel those feelings and still know that it is the best decision we could make at the time.

I’m well, I’m pretty fit and I’m not compromised from a health perspective. There are people in our community who are not so fortunate. I’m not staying home because I’m afraid I have COVID-19. I’m staying home because I love the people around me and I want to protect those people who are most at risk.

So as we all navigate these times, let’s know that there are likely no right decisions.  There are likely no wrong decisions.

Please don’t let that stop you from making a decision, the best decision you can make right now with the information you have.

The other insight that has really hit me this afternoon – is this.

It’s not about me. 

It’s about what is right for me to do right now, this minute to take responsibility for my place in this world and my actions.

Here’s to working from home until I know I am not posing a risk to those most vulnerable in my workplace and my community.

I’ve stocked up on the essentials like gin, tonic and corn chips.  If anyone has a spare roll of toilet paper you can leave it on my front porch.

 

“Let your life be your message” Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

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