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Should we be shutting the doors?

One dad’s opinion about social distancing and remaining isolated

COVID-19, social distancing, safety, Peter Shankman

Happy Tuesday from NYC, where over the weekend, for the first time, we had ZERO Covid-19 related deaths! That's a huge milestone, and one to celebrate, even though we've got a long, long way to go.

Anyhow, something struck me yesterday that I wanted to share with you. I was going down a YouTube rabbit hole, I found myself watching the final moments of the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) disaster, where the craft disintegrated upon reentry into our atmosphere. I've seen it before, but something struck me this time:

After multiple failed backup "com-checks," the mission director gives the order: "shut the doors." When that order is given, multiple things happen: The doors to Mission Control are locked. No one in or out. Media is locked out. No outside information comes in except for what they get from their own data streams. The goal is multi-faceted: Preserve the information they have, create a "clean" audit trail of everything that's happening, uncontaminated by the outside, and most importantly, focus on the problem at hand.

Occasionally, we need to give the order to "shut the doors" to ourselves.

Over the past four months, I've been watching my Instagram feed full of people heading out of the city, to their second (or in some cases, third) homes. I have some friends who, when this whole thing blew up, took off for Mexico, or Bali, or Australia... Me? I stopped flying (not by choice) and am a full-time stay-at-home single dad. Not what I anticipated when I shouted "Happy New Year" back in January.

So of course, when I look at my friends and others enjoying the world, it hurts. So, I've decided to "shut the doors." I'm focusing on ME. I'm focusing on exercise, on planning for my Ironman in February. I'm focusing on giving more virtual keynotes to companies around the world, from the comfort of my kitchen. I'm focusing on learning how to play Chess, so I can play with my daughter, who already knows. I've shut the doors on trying to see what everyone else is doing, and wondering if I'm keeping up with them. Instead, I'm focusing on being the best I can be. Why? Because that's all I can control.

Perhaps it's time to shut your doors for a while, and spend time working on the things that are holding YOU back?

Enjoy the rest of the week, my friends. And remember, it's ok to shut your doors every once in a while.

Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, an author and a trainer living in New York City. He is a stay at home dad as well.

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