Welcome back to part four of my series for small business owners, freelancers and creatives.
If you missed the beginning of this series, jump to part one here, in which I chat about updating your bios, portfolios and website; as well as going digital, helping others, and reviewing cashflow.
Each week (or so!), I aim to fill your minds with a few quick steps to help out during these trying times. I would LOVE to hear back from you - please leave your thoughts, ideas, feedback and suggestions in the comments section at the bottom of this post?
So, let's dive in:
1. Move through fear - to courage.
We are all under unbelievable stress and pressure right now, no matter our circumstances. This stress has become fuel for our fear, which is fed even more anytime we turn on the news, hop into the comments section on social media, or spend too long on a fear-mongering what's app group.
The way I see it is we have two choices - one, to stay in fear and anxiety and live there. Leave snotty comments on facebook posts. Complain about the government.
Or two, move through that fear, to the other side, which is courage.
So feel that fear, and work through it.
Take each of the "what ifs" that are driving you crazy right now - and give each of them a conclusion.
"What if I lose 90% of my revenue for the next three months?"
Draw out the possibilities, and write out strategies for each.
- Maybe you have to move back in with your family.
- Maybe you can diversify, and start selling an essential item/providing an essential service.
- Maybe you have to cut every possible expense.
- Maybe you have to update your CV, and take that corporate job.
Expand on each of the options, and make a quick five-step strategy for each.
Then the "what ifs" can become solid, courageous plans. Then you can stop wondering "what if", and you can step into "what now". You can wake up each day with a clear focus and plan for that day, and put one foot in front of the other.
Having these possible strategies drawn out means that when you're thrown a curveball (and we all know there have been a lot of curveballs recently, and are likely to be more), and your brain is overrun with panic and anxiety, you can refer back to solid non-emotional plans, and choose which is the best to pursue at that point.
Thank you to Rachel Hollis for the inspiration behind this idea!
2. Realise that control is an illusion.
Let go of the idea that you were ever in control. You had a routine, which made you feel in control. You had the ability to categorise all the events in your life, which made you feel in control.
BUT - truly, none of us are really "in control". We are living, we are breathing, we are doing our absolute best with each given day.
You weren't in control in your pre-COVID life, and you're not now. Take a deep breath and read that again.
And maybe one more deep breath. That doesn't mean you can't take action. That doesn't mean you can't put one foot in front of the other.
You should definitely be doing those exact things:
- deep breaths
- taking small actions
- putting one foot in front of the other
BUT - forgive yourself for feeling a bit panicked, for feeling that things are out of your control. Forgive yourself and step away from the rhetoric that "your life is out of control" right now. Telling yourself that over and over again is not helping you.
Humans are tremendously psychological resilient. Historically we have weathered far greater storms, and we can and will weather this one too.
(If you'd like to jump back to part two of this series - here it is - in which I talk about empowering yourself by learning from economic and entrepreneurial experts, diversifying & adapting, using free advertising and making the most of this "quiet time".)
3. Curate your input.
You will become what you consume. Plain and simply.
Have you ever got up from eight hours of bingeing your fave TV show and feel like you've picked up on some of the main characters' mannerisms? Or spent an hour or two going so far down the COVID-news-rabbithole that you feel like you might be the only expert in the field, and are totally equipped to rapid-fire out facts and articles to every family member you have?
Slow down there. Take a break from social media. Step away from the news. Unfollow those pages that give you anxiety.
Curate your input, so that you can stay true to your own values and beliefs, so that you don't need to get swept away in the tide of opinions and fake news.
And breathe. Again.
What other inspirational and motivational resources, podcasts or speakers have you found?
Please share in the comments.
4. Use the "one more" rule.
My managerial team and I sat down this Saturday for a live EIGHT-HOUR webinar - broadcast by The Hollis Co, all the way in Texas. We filled our cups with motivation, inspiration and courage - fired up by an extensive list of amazing speakers.
One point that really stuck with me was from Ed Mylett - and it was his "one more" rule.
Whenever you're trying to achieve something, always aim to do one more:
- one more minute on the treadmill
- one more email for the day
- one more contact made at that conference
- one more blog post scheduled
And I REALLY liked that idea - that if you can just take the time to do one more today, and one more tomorrow, and one more the next day.... well, you get where I'm going with this.
(In part three - our most popular post! - I chatted about asking the experts, building a community, leading well, sticking to the rules and listening to the trend forecasters - here it is, if you'd like to dive into that post.)
5. Get communicating.
Have you been quietly sitting back, in panic? Too busy keeping your l