Let the Music Play
This week Michael's wife was looking through her box of old concert ticket stubs, which made him realize how much he missed ticket stubs and the memories they hold.
During the pandemic, he longed for live music. He loves going to shows, and he has been lucky to see some tremendous artists like The Ramones at Hammerjacks, Whitney Houston at Wolf Trap, The Bodeans at a Wisconsin Country Fair, Bruce at The Link, and countless performances at the 9:30 Club in D.C, but one of the best was Erasure's ABBA-esque tour at George Mason University. He has even seen Taylor, but not this year since getting tickets was a bit of a kerfuffle.
He loves the moment of surging energy just before the artist hits the stage. The crowd gets hyped, the arena goes dark, and then you hear that first note, and everything changes. He missed those moments and the ones when everyone knew every word to every song, like when 50,000 fans joined U2's Bono as he belted out "Sunday Bloody Sunday" one July night at The Meadowlands.
For this MTV kid, watching Live Aid was fantastic, but it wasn't better than sitting on the lawn listening to Jimmy Buffet at Merriweather Post Pavilion with a flock of Parrot Heads.
Zoom and Teams have been lifesavers. They helped us stay connected, sparked new partnerships, and provided accessibility regardless of where we chose to work and live, but we're better when we are together.
Sharing a screen isn't the same as sharing space. Coming together with some frequency is essential for creating cultures of collective effervescence. These cultures have the trust to navigate challenging periods with grace.
Except for the control freak, we should all applaud how the pandemic crushed the myth that we can't work remotely, but we shouldn't fool ourselves into believing that online is the same as IRL. That said, just like Michael is not attending a concert every night, he doesn't think office-based corporate warriors need to be in the office five days a week.
He understands why people might want the continued convenience of working from home. Let's start with our meetings. There are too many, they're terrible, and many folks leave them not feeling heard, seen, and appreciated. Why go through all the driving, gas, and hassle for that?
This moment is an opportunity to reimagine the purpose of an office, gather differently, and create a compelling reason for people to come in and experience in-person energy. And, yes, we can force people to go into the office. After all, it's a j-o-b, and you get paid, but forcing people in only gets you compliance, not commitment.
Our pre-pandemic approach to work was unhealthy and wasn't working for everyone. Yes, some think it was working, but we left so much potential on the table, and connecting via video thumbnails was an essential band-aid, but it's a cure-all.
Today, we all need space to think and get stuff done and the opportunity to be with each other in person occasionally. Of course, who is he to know? 2023 feels more like jazz, which requires us to be mindful of each other if we want our music to sound beautiful.
What concert are you most looking forward to this year?
P.S., To celebrate the start of 2023, our Pause Breathe Reflect Meditation app had special pricing. Next month, our price will jump to $49/yr or just $0.13 a day, which is Taylor's favorite number - coincidence??? Well, that's a good Question...? (WYKYK)
You can download your app here via your phone and experience better health one minute at a time.