Business as Unusual
Apr 07, 2020 | Posted by etc
Help! It’s the crucible of massive, evolutionary upheaval! While the axiom over small business has always been, “Things Change”, we were not prepared for this one. The rug is pulled out from under us, and we are on our butts––frightened, paralyzed, and with a look of total discombobulation.
You know what total discombobulation looks like, don’t you? It could not look less professional.
Is there anything we CAN do while we are down here on the floor? The pressure of this moment is the stuff that diamonds are made of. God forbid we should waste it binging on Netflix night after night.
Yes, there are things we still can do. Hang with me, and I’ll explain.
The surprising thing about all of this is that we were all surprised. Pandemic has been predicted for years. We chose to ignore it. Since the dawn of time, we have known that the mortality rate for homo sapiens is 100%. We might not know precisely how long we get to hang out, but we understood it was not forever. Our level of fragility has not changed. It is our awareness of it. Our vulnerability has just smacked us upside the head. How fragile we are.
So now we know. We are not in charge. We are not our best-laid plans. We are not in control. We never have been. Welcome to reality.
It’s not about life expectancy. It’s about what life is expecting from you. This is a rude awakening for us all. But there has never been a better time to gain clarity for life and business.
I do not want to minimize anyone’s suffering. I do not want to be a Pollyanna. I’m not even feeling optimistic. But I do find a unique interval of possibility upon us. It is a pressure that is creating space for growth, unlike any other time we have ever seen before. It gives me reasons for hope. I want to share these reasons with you, with the hope that my hope will be contagious.
We have been given:
Space for Creativity
Evolution of business is occurring right now, not over a span of time, but in a matter of minutes, hours, and days. It is a weirdly creative time. Creativity and innovation have never been born of abundance. Innovation and creativity are born of necessity, pressure, restriction, loss, and hardship. Necessity IS the mother of invention. If we have our eyes open, we may be enabled to see things in a new way, to make new connections, and new discoveries. Insanely successful companies were birthed from hardship.
Space for community
We might be in the ditch, but we are not alone. (Even so, skooch over. We must sit at least 6′ apart for the good of the masses.) The very thought that we are all suffering together should engender more empathy between neighbors. We are, for once, fighting the same enemy. Maybe we will finally realize that we are all fellow travelers on this big blue marble. What affects one of us affects us all. We are learning the value of community.
Space for conversation
How many of us, in the past few weeks, have had conversations with significant others, children, parents, bosses, and friends about really important things? How many of us have had conversations that would not have come up if it were not for the crisis? When was the last time you had this much time to invest in conversation with your children and your family? We are talking about what matters––and like never before.
Space for Gratitude
Why must humans lose things before we value them? Gratitude is the matrix of happiness. Before this crisis, we were less aware of the value of community, neighbors, co-workers, and simple words with friends. There is much we have taken for granted. Express your gratitude for those people, those things, and those privileges that add value to your life. You will discover you haven’t lost everything. When gratitude happens, joy will return.
Space for growth
Most of us are comfortable with our daily schedules just like they are, and are very resistant to upheavals of the status quo. In other words, most of us would rather sleepwalk through life. For some of us, it takes an earthquake for us to think about our lives in a different light. Something that does not change is DEAD. To grow, we must be alive, and we must change. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates
Space for learning
Under any other circumstance, if we had been given time to be at home to read, study, learn, we would have labeled it “luxury.” Under these circumstances, we are distracted not only by the crisis but from the opportunity of a lifetime. We have just been given space to think. We have just been given time to prepare for the future. We have just been given time to plan. We have just been given time to become. Because of technology, Mentors are available everywhere. A person can access more books online than you can read in a lifetime. You could read every book from your favorite mentor. You can read all the articles published by him or her online. You may even be able to connect with them via Zoom. When have we ever had time to read like this? When have you had the time to invest in your skillset, your health, your mind, and your soul?
Space for experimentation
One of the things we learned early on in small business: If you don’t have much, then you don’t have much to lose. Now is the time to prepare for what comes next, and to prepare for the months AFTER the crisis. No, it’s not a time for master planning, because no one knows what the next few months will hold. But it’s a great time to experiment with ‘what if’ scenarios. What do you have to lose?
This situation will not last forever, though we will be talking about it for years to come. What will you do with this time? Where some see crisis, others see opportunity. It is about far more than just surviving. There has never been a better time in history to work on becoming the best you you can possibly be. There has never been a better time in history to work on your business, instead of in it, to ask yourself what you want, to pursue your interests, and to position yourself and your business for new opportunities. What adds value to your customers lives? What can you do NOW to provide it? What needs to be done? How can you use this time to prepare your business for the recovery? How can you align your business with purpose?
It has only been a few weeks, but already some of us are much older and wiser than we were a month ago. The world will never look the same. After this is over, many of us may not want to go back to business as usual. Some of us will decide that life is too short to keep doing things that don’t matter to us anymore. When our plans are upended, we learn what we are made of. Many of us may never want to return to the world as we once knew it.
Imagine this: if someone were to give a toast to you in 25 years for what you had accomplished in your life, what would it be? Now is the time to follow that. Those are your interests. Your interests can help you find your passion, and your passion can help you find your Purpose. Now is the time to hone in on your Purpose for being on earth in the first place.
You can endure anything when your heart is filled with Purpose. Use this time to prepare yourself and your business for what comes next.
Despite the Covid19 crisis, the sky is still brilliant blue. Oh, it may be hiding behind the impermanence of the weather, the clouds, and the time. But it is still blue. Spring is not cancelled. Love is not cancelled. Hope is not cancelled.
Whatever we are going through now, we will not always be here. This too, shall pass. Press on, dear friend.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche