I am supposed to be in Atlanta today delivering two keynote speeches for a Fortune 500 client. Instead, I am deeply entrenched in a morning routine at home that has me settling into a writing session with a cup of coffee by my fireplace.
That is the result of a Coronavirus Cancellation. The panic over the potential of a pandemic is very real, and the events industry is taking a serious hit. Which means we are taking a hit. So the question: What are we going to do about it?
First, we are going to maintain a semblance of perspective. I am healthy. My team is healthy. The people I love are healthy, and that makes us very fortunate. We’ll keep those less fortunate in our thoughts, help if we can and hope that this situation can be controlled and mitigated in short order. I believe it will be.
These are uncharted waters and a very challenging time for our industry. However, this isn’t the first challenging stretch we’ve experienced in our business, and I know it won’t be the last. Here’s how we’re responding.
Focus On What We Control
We can’t control the outbreak of a virus or the impact it has on our business. All we can control is how we respond to it. So, we are looking at the opportunity inside the challenge: How do we approach our most important relationships? What alternative solutions could we offer in support? How can we leverage the additional time and white space to improve our business over the long term? These are all worthwhile questions, and I have the gift of time to consider them now.
We’re still committed to our long-term objectives. It’s so easy as business owners and leaders to obsess over the short-term results and miss opportunities to prepare for bigger and better results in the future. Confront reality. Focus on what you can control. Decide how you are going to show up and respond. That is always a choice. Let go of what you don’t control. That’s hard right now but it does represent both the challenge and the opportunity.
Invest For The Upside
The decisions you make and actions you take during a downturn will determine how fast you can capitalize when the momentum shifts.
Are you committed to investing? I am. Aggressively. We have multiple projects outside of our core business moving forward right now, and they will all get a little bit more attention and love from the team this week.
My business will benefit from having a few long stretches of white space where I can think and create. There are stories and experiences inside me that I believe can help people. I needed time to be ready to share them fully and have the opportunity to structure them inside our content for maximum impact. This week I was afforded the time to work on my business and not just in my business, which is an imperative if I want to grow into the future. I can’t wait to share our new program, Lead From The Inside Out, later this month.
And I’m not just investing in my business. I am investing in myself. This is the first full week off of the road for me in 2020. I am taking advantage of that gift in multiple ways: I’m enjoying the physical health benefits of regularly scheduled workouts, sleeping in my own bed and eating a few good meals at home. I’m enjoying the mental health benefits of a consistent morning routine, mindfulness practices and a bit of additional leisure time with friends.
Exercise Our Resilience Muscle
Adversity, challenges and setbacks are wonderful teachers if we are awake to the learning. So, stay awake and fully consider when any adversity strikes, what can we learn at this moment?
Lynn, our business manager, isn’t shying away from the challenges: “Whatever it takes. I’m rolling my sleeves up to power through this,” she shared this morning.
Whatever it takes. That is the mindset. There isn’t an alternative. So, as the situation evolves so will we. We are awake to the learning in real time and I have already learned a few important lessons the hard way. That is part of the journey.
My friend Neil Pasricha just published a book on resilience. In it he shares three powerful questions that can help keep us from catastrophizing when the going gets tough.
- “Will this matter on my deathbed?” We are so good at taking today’s problem and making it seem like our life’s problem, but Neil reminds us that it’s important to zoom out.
- “Can I do something about this?” If you can do something about it, fix it, if you can. If you can’t, you can’t. Remember the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
- “Is this a story I’m telling myself?” Almost everything you tell yourself in general in life is a story, Neil reminds us. That doesn’t make the story true. “Most of the time nothing’s true,” Neil says. “We’re all just totally random and chaotic. We’re just flying balls of molecules who are here for 30,000 days. It’s totally random. Nothing’s really in your control, so you may as well just accept that and not be so hard on yourself.”
Now go wash your hands!