We’re living in unprecedented times.
The recent events with Covid-19 have caused us to face challenges on a global level that we’ve never faced before. It’s an uncertain time, because no one knows for certain what will come about. Will we get back to our lives quickly? When we do, will there be a second wave? Has the fundamentals of the businesses been affected so much that it will trigger a recession? And more…
Unemployment is on the rise. Many businesses are affected, especially in industries like retail, restaurants, and healthcare. Some believe that it won’t be the same even when we get back to our lives. During such times, many of us fall into despair when faced with these challenges. Now, more than ever, we need to step up and demonstrate leadership. But, it can be difficult to do that when we are surrounded by pessimism, fear, doubt and for some, the struggle to survive.
I feel you, and I wanted to share the strategies you could use to overcome challenges in business and life.
ACCEPT WHAT’S GOING ON
- Take a deep breath and acknowledge the challenges you are facing
As Zig Ziglar says, ‘the first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist’. But you must also “maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.” This mindset of being positive but also tackling the hard truths, is what Jim Collin’s coined The Stockdale Paradox.
- Reflect and accept your emotions, this is absolutely normal
This self-awareness is highly essential skill for leadership at any level, and also in many aspects of life. With this awareness, that emotion loses its destructive power over you, and you can then move forward to pursue the behaviors that are aligned with your goals and values.
- Quiet your mind
Be cognizant of information overload–maybe keep media exposure to 1-2 times a day. One of the most common reasons for people getting stuck is being consumed with factors that are outside our control. If we become excessively concerned with the politics, the shutdowns, the economy, and impact of the virus, then we will be paralyzed with intense emotions. This can be an exhausting and vicious cycle that can lead to perpetual stress and anxiety. Concern yourself only with what you can control and have influence over.
- Take stock of your resources
During such times of crisis, it is prudent to take stock and access the options on hand. You might actually have more in your arsenal than you think you do.
RISK MITIGATION PLAN
Discussions of risk usually come about in times of crisis and the risk of uncertainty today makes having a risk mitigation plan a game-changer for your business. A common scenario for this is Presidential Elections, because the policies that can affect their industry can swing based on election results. They develop a strategy to use if Candidate A gets elected, and they have a different strategy if Candidate B gets elected.
Likewise, we should consider having different strategies to minimize losses by evaluating all the ‘what if’s’:
1) If we recover and get back to our lives quickly
2) If we recover quickly but the business is not the same
3) If this is prolonged, how to weather this and find innovative solutions
LOOK FOR BLUE OCEANS
It’s important to remember that it is actually during hard times and even recessions that many innovative solutions and market disruptions emerge. That requires looking for the opportunities amidst all of the fear. Like Warren Buffet said “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”.
The changes in the economy will create new demands, change consumer patterns, and set new trends. We are coming into this from an overpriced market. With the current market correction that is occurring, we may be able to secure investments at better values. This is also a chance to connect with people, get through these challenging times together, and building deeper relationships. There are countless more ways we can look for the opportunities during these times.
If you run a business, try to create a sustainable situation, whether it be through controlling your expenses, maintaining relationships with your team and customers. If the Corona Virus situation has given you more time through lockdowns, choose to invest in yourself. Develop skills that you’ve always wanted to learn. Look for new innovative opportunities that wasn’t there before.
When we adopt these mentalities, it gives us the opportunity to define our new reality. WE NEED TO CREATE OUR NEW NORMAL. Rather than being reactive and letting the world decide the fate of our businesses, think of it as being in a position to change the future of our work.
CHOOSE THE GROWTH MINDSET
My point in all of this is to highlight the importance of our strength and speed of response to adversity. We don’t want to get stuck in the fear zone and have trouble moving forward. Once we conquered ourselves and achieved a growth mindset to look for opportunities, we can then support others do the same.
Let’s come together and emerge out of this stronger than ever before. These are tough times, yes. It will not be easy. But I do believe that as a society, we can endure and bounce out of this quickly if we remain vigilant, resilient and choose the growth mindset.
Remember, what you do right now will pave the path ahead for you, your family, business, team, community, country and world in these new times.