Change is the norm. Always has been. Covid-19 has been a big change for sure and it’s effects are likely to continue for some time to come. So, the key is adapting and doing our best to adapt well for the long term. Here are a few key points for adapting to change.
The Three P’s
Be Positive – As much as possible, keep it optimistic. Our tendency is to initially fear the sky is falling but that rarely happens. Think about worst case and be prepared as best you can but hope for the best.
“Optimism, when applied to your life, develops strength and peace within you.”
– Norman Vincent Peale
Be proactive – Sudden change will give rise to fear and put us in a reactive mode, i.e. fight or flight. Self-directed change or change we prepare for allows us to respond in a more logical manner for better results. Develop contingency plans and robust systems so when the need arises, you are ready to go.
“It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.
– George Eliot
Be Purposeful – Set your goals, both short term and long term, based on your core values. Doing so allows you to go after them and move with purpose. That purpose gets you out of bed in the morning, it helps you dispel any doubts, and it helps you to be ready for any storm that may come.
“Occupy your thoughts with purpose and you will be so busy pursuing a meaningful future there will be no time for doubt, chaos and disappointment.
– Carlos Wallace
Do your best to be positive, proactive and purposeful and you will weather the storm.
Weathering the storm is the norm right now. Battening down the hatches is necessary to help ships keep water out and stay afloat in stormy waters. In days long gone, the key elements “to batten” include the wooden grates over the hatches in the ships deck, the tarps thrown over the hatches, and furring strips nailed around the edges or ropes to hold the tarps in place.
Four key business elements that help batten down the hatches during troubled times include:
Map out your marketing strategy – having this in place and effective implementation are critical always but especially during the storm. Keeping your marketing active versus cost cutting approaches makes all the difference between businesses that survive and those that thrive.
Diversify your customer base and service offerings – As a part of 1. above, diversity helps to keep your business off the revenue rollercoaster through tough times as well as any usual seasonal effects.
Plan worst case…sound strategic planning includes what if worst case scenarios most of which won’t ever happen. But if they did, you are more likely to have a contingency plan ready to go and even if you don’t have just the right plan, working through scenarios is good practice and helps to ensure you and your team can meet the challenge when the need arises.
Set aside a rainy day fund – Every cent counts and even a small rainy day fund sets the right tone for your team from core values to daily cash flow management.
“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.”
If you didn’t have these four key business elements in place before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, you might be feeling the pain. If so, triage your business and get through as best you can. When you get a moment and catch your breath, schedule a time for you and your team to take a look at the four key elements above so when the next storm comes, you can batten down the hatches!
Covid-19 and social distancing for the last couple of weeks has been stressing me to my limit as it probably has for you too. Being off my routine, in lockdown mode (I know, safe at home) worrying about business stuff and family stuff and with a lot fewer warm hugs has really knocked me off my game. Can’t sleep, stress eating, not getting out to run (worsens everything) and a low level anxiety from everywhere have been the new norm…the negativity creeps on you and before you know it, it’s hitting you hard. Thankfully, my friend Tim Cole sent me a link to an insightful article by Mitch Albom in the Detroit Free Press which I really needed today. Mitch writes about Knox who has an incredible story…a blessed ray of sunshine all the way from Haiti that helped Mitch find his one thing.
My one thing…this weekend, my 9 year old son finally learned to ride his bike overcoming a ton of anxiety. He’s been putting it off for years. There was a super stress moment and some tears but he pushed through and of course, once he got the hang of it he didn’t want to stop. He rode about 8 miles before the day was done and he didn’t let me help in any of it except to cheer him from a distance and adjust the seat and the brakes a few times. This win was all him! I got a long warm hug for the assist and then he let go but came back and gave me a second long warm hug, bonus! :)
In writing this I also realize for the umpteenth time, that we have rays of sunshine all around us all day every day. We just have to get out of our funk and look for them. Life’s best things are the littlest things right under our noses.
As these next days and weeks come and go, find your one thing(s), your rays of sunshine, and count your blessings. And if you can, help someone else find theirs because we are all of us everywhere on quite the rollercoaster. Thank you Mitch and thank you Tim!
It’s good to look to others for support, guidance, affirmation, and praise so we know how well we are doing…that we are moving down the right path…finding our confidence…maybe saving time and energy by drawing on the success of others. Looking to others too much though can be problematic.
It takes a strong foundation to build a home, or business, or anything that we want to endure. That foundation is made of building blocks consisting of our core values, our convictions, our work ethic, our accomplishments…these blocks are strongest when they come from within.
Building blocks from others can be good and useful. However, if the support or praise that was once positive and given freely is now retracted or turns negative, we may find ourselves with a weakened foundation…less sure of our path…less confident…facing fear and doubt…and poor performance.
Look to others for support and guidance but build your foundation from within…prepare, be self-aware, define your values, walk your path…with confidence…and find your success. It may take longer. It may be harder. But it will come from within and it will be strong.