From ‘Rock’ to Wreck

Ronni Burns Headshot

By Ronni Burns

By Ronni Burns

From my small perch, as a coach, a colleague, a family member, a neighbor, a friend, a citizen and a college professor, I have seen sturdy, strong men and women, people others would call “rocks” become wrecks, in the last few months. Many didn’t initially recognize that it was the COVID-19 wall they had crashed into and left them feeling vulnerable and confused.

Vulnerability is scary. Many of us are accustomed to feeling empowered, in control.  Our self-identity doesn’t allow for anxiety and depression.  We fix things. Now, with our defenses lowered, our fortitude has been tested and everything troublesome, large and small, is magnified.  

Many of my “rock” clients are struggling. Most are fortunate to still have jobs, food, nice homes and supportive families. So, what’s the problem? For some, it’s the blur between work and life with many now working 24/7. They’re juggling children, spouses, colleagues, bosses, and their own anxiety. Top performers in essential industries are understandably perhaps but irrationally convinced that they are about to be fired.  When we tell ourselves scary stories, we get scared—and frighten the people who care for us, be they spouse, children, or others in our circles.  This is another kind of virus.

Read the full The Three Tomatoes article.
Ronni Burns is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Management Communication.