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The polite walk around

Jun 12, 2020
By: Karen A. Mitchell
Financial Services

I’m sure you have noticed this strange phenomenon of our times. I will call it “the polite walk around.”

For those of us who live in more densely populated areas, the daily walk or run around the neighborhood entails crossing paths with a number of individuals doing exactly the same thing. Six months ago, I would have been offended if I passed someone on the street and they intentionally stepped away from me or walked to the other side of the block or the street. I would have interpreted that as extremely rude or at the very least some form of social dysfunction. Now I consider it the height of respect and politeness.

In fact, I find many steering off the ensuing path as early as possible to keep even the slightest hint of inconsiderateness at bay. And most importantly, the polite walk around is almost always accompanied by a smile or a nod or a friendly good morning or afternoon — from the new distance, awkward as it can sometimes be. I find there is a certain rhythm and pattern to it that is oddly comforting.   

As the saying goes, where one door closes, another one opens.

In the last four months, literally the entire globe has been engaged in some form of active risk management. Personally and professionally we have been asked to carefully monitor our activities and remain vigilant to ensure we produce the best possible outcome for ourselves and our communities.

While this has been a source of continual stress and anxiety, the human spirit — being what it is — eventually finds a way to triumph. The need to have positivity in our lives pushes us to find the good in the midst of despair and find opportunities in the midst of our solitude and chaos (an oxymoron for sure). This past week I have been encouraged by the increasing number of stories of new and previously unconsidered opportunities my family, friends and colleagues have shared. The ability to be nimble, pivot when necessary and look frankly at the world under a different lens has served to enhance our resiliency.

When you know your risks, the opportunities appear seemingly out of nowhere — the equivalent of shining a bright light into a dark room. All of a sudden, things don’t seem so scary, and the possibilities take on new forms. We will all tread more carefully as we go back out in the world. But we should take a lesson from the ERM playbook: Know your risks so you can mitigate them and shine a bright light on your opportunities.

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Karen A. Mitchell
Senior Manager, Risk Advisory Services
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