Keeping It Together

“Putting it Together,” a song written by Broadway composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, carries a worthy message for today: how can we use our time, talents, and resources to prepare for the weeks and months ahead? “Every moment makes a contribution. Every little detail plays a part.” This “get ready” philosophy is so essential to what’s happening in our world today, whether we are talking about a company, a team, or our personal lives. When we started this pandemic interregnum many moons ago, we gathered up all the canned food, toilet paper, and reading materials we thought we would need for a long winter’s night. Little did we know it was going to be an arctic night. So now, as we enter yet another month of stay-at-home living and working, our more significant challenge is not anymore on PUTTING IT TOGETHER, but rather making sure that we’re finding ways of KEEPING IT TOGETHER.

KEEPING IT TOGETHER takes a lot of time, energy, commitment, grit, and determination. Time, we have plenty of. What we need to do it commit ourselves to make good use of it. And that doesn’t mean just every once in a while, or when we feel like it, or when we decide to get around to it. It means on a regular, committed basis.

Here are six ways we can not just survive, but thrive in these coming weeks.



  1. Self-development: You are the one who is ultimately responsible for yourself, your health, and upkeep. Take time to establish healthy habits, not only in your food consumption, but just as importantly with a regimented schedule of sleeping, exercise, work, and play. Challenge yourself each day to learn something new. Let your curiosity and creativity drive you to a better you.
  2. Connecting: Even as we isolate, we can make this is a great time to reach out to others. We have the opportunity to give gratitude to those in our life—what a perfect time to focus on others and work to bring out their A-game.
  3. Curiosity: Challenge yourself by exploring those interests you’ve always wanted to explore. Dive into your unknown. Don’t worry about what you should have been doing—quit looking in the rearview mirror. Instead, focused on what you can be doing—on the road ahead. By using this time you’ve been given, you might discover a shaft of untapped, creative gold.
  4. Openness: This is a perfect opportunity to revisit and revise your goals. Take a close look at them and see if the track you were on is the track you want to stay on, or do you want to hop lanes. Never be afraid or ashamed to change your mind. George Bernard Shaw put it this way: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” And don’t we all want to change, to improve, our future?
  5. Do it!: Perhaps you’re like me, that with so much time on my hands and so many options to choose from, I have a hard time picking one and getting started. Just do it: pick one and get going. The others will be there if you decide this isn’t the right one for you. But you need to take some meaningful action, even if it’s just one step at a time.
  6. Having fun while you’re staying safe. Despite the challenges we’re facing with the current Covid-19 restrictions, we need to keep a positive and a fun outlook. Because: This too shall pass. What fantastic Rube Goldberg contraption can you build? How many songs have you memorized from your living room karaoke? How often have you gone outdoors to take a walk or play golf?

Oh, the stories we will one day tell about how we kept ourselves safe and sane by KEEPING IT TOGETHER.

Stay well – stay safe.

Phillip J Martin

Exploring the Power of People

You succeed by choice, not chance.
Every decision you make shapes your future

Phil is a published playwright and song writer and an award-winning television writer for the Nashville Now show on TNN. He has spent 30 years as a college professor, most recently in the Department of Theatre Arts at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. He has presented at colleges, universities, conventions and symposiums across the country. In addition to writing 13 musicals, Phil has written two books: Play Hard-Have Fun: A Philosophy for Life and the soon-to-be completed Take the Stage: Leadership Lesson from Theatre. Phil believes that achieving personal and professional success requires the challenge of creative and innovative thinking, that you succeed by choice, not chance.

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