Okay so, the world has gone a bit mad. I had some fears too, and they’ve gone up and down a bit as shown by this handy graph.
Here’s the things I’ve been telling myself, my team, and pretty much anyone I ended up talking to this week about the coronavirus (so, everyone).
- On levels of fear: There are two wild ranges (zombie apocalypse vs everything-is-fine), and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Right now we’re not quite sure which side it leans towards, but hey, when it comes to health better safe than sorry. If everyone says “see, there were hardly any deaths” after this is over, then it sounds like we did the right thing.
- Introversion will save you: The current advice to avoid the zombie apocalypse is to stay in your homes, work from home, avoid crowds and social gatherings, and keep to yourself. INTROVERTS, THIS IS OUR TIME. WE’VE TRAINED FOR THIS. (Seriously, I’m so good at this stuff. I’m going to have to work to go outside a few times to get fresh air.)
- Toilet roll, people? Really??? I literally know not one single person who has been truly panic buying toilet roll. I don’t even know someone personally who knows someone who has been doing this…and yet there is none on the shelves in some places. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE????
- Share hope. Everyone is sharing pictures of empty shelves…but there are loads of shops with full shelves. Let’s share those, too. I admit I shared a few empty shelves photos myself, and then realised i was in a shop with TONS of full shelves. And i hadn’t shared those. Although people are buying stuff up, it’s getting restocked.
- The #howsYOURday? question: It’s more important than ever. Ask your neighbour, your client, your friend, your gran, the incredibly strong person working at the Aldi’s till (seriously, these people have had hard lives lately). Listen. Sympathise. Laugh. #howsYOURday?
- Laughter is good like a medicine. There’s a lot of fear, but laughter helps drive out fear. Watch funny videos, share stories, tell jokes. Tell really stupid jokes, with your kids. They’ll love it.
- Working from home is good, but you may struggle with it. I’ve been doing this for over 8 years, and there is a completely different approach needed if you’ve been used to working in an office. If you haven’t been doing it daily already, you are going to struggle after a few days or a few weeks. I’ve written a separate blog about remote working a few months ago, because that’s all we do in my company, but it’s not about simply moving your work to a different location. You have to make an extra effort right now to stay connected with the other people you work with, whilst also being willing to ‘go dark’ for a few hours or a day and get real deep work done. (I’m reading the book “Deep Work” right now and it is intense. Now is the time for that kind of work!) If anyone reading this needs a little encouragement or help or tips on working from home, drop me a line.
- “This too shall pass.” Remember the story of the king who asked all his advisors for a piece of advice that would serve him in good stead no matter what happened – in the best of times and the worst of times? And this is what they gave him: “This, too, shall pass.” We will get through it – there will be some hard things and some good things, and I believe life will not settle in exactly as the same it was before. We will value things differently, we will think about remote working and events and gatherings differently, and there will be some core changes to business and life (rather like after 9-11 or other emergencies) which will bring good out of a hard situation.
- Who do you want to be when this is over? Once things settle in and we figure out how to test and treat it, and we go back to “normal” (FYI: i believe it will be a new normal, and life won’t quite be the same again, but i trust in a good way)…once that happens, what will you be glad you did? What things did you say and do you’ll be proud of? How did you work on your business and use the time well while everyone is quiet in their homes? What did you learn? Did you read books and spend time with the family and think and pray and cook creative meals with whatever food you had? I ask this of myself, too. I admit to spending a little too much time on twitter and getting all stirred up…. and it makes me really grateful for small habits I’ve been working on, like not checking my phone first thing in the morning. And taking Sundays completely off social media. And using Mondays as a quiet day with no meetings. And being off Netflix and reading books instead. Those are things I put into place a long time ago, or even recently, and I can see now how powerful they are. (Honesty check: I still check my phone first thing in the morning. That one’s the hardest for me.) The same is true for those of you owning businesses. What online systems or apps have you put off setting up? What blogs have you not written, videos not recorded, because you “didn’t have time”? Well now you have almost literally ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (minus a little more time with your children than you had before, i do get that). How will you use that time?
So…what do you want to use your extra time for? What will you be glad you’ve done once this passes?
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