So, I’ve been at home since March 16, 2020. This is the longest I’ve been in the one place for well over 30 years as far as I can remember. And for someone who is normally on the road weekly, flying here and doing big exciting things, this has certainly proven challenging. Whilst my business tends to run pretty much normally in the virtual and digital world, it’s the stuff going on between my ears where the real battle seems to be raging. And I’m absolutely certain I’m not alone.
I’ve noticed a lot more honesty and sincerity in the business world of late. People are saying to me that “no”, they are not OK, they are struggling. They are fighting an uphill battle, they are depressed, they have lost their mojo, they are worried and they are exhausted. And let’s be honest, out of all the batshit crazy times we’ve all been through, this one really is the craziest.
It’s a time for some honesty, for some sincerity and perhaps just a little self-reflection. So here are my 10 strategies helping me to stay semi-sane as a business owner during COVID19 (let’s be honest, most of us happy to make it to semi-sane) :
1. Form your own super supportive Master Mind Group.
I was very fortunate to be invited into a Master Mind group made of up some of the top professional speakers in Australia. These folks are incredible. They are absolute professionals, but even more importantly, they are caring and compassionate human beings. In our sessions, we have lots of fun, but we are all very real about how we are feeling, what is going on in our worlds and what our challenges are. I strongly suggest finding or forming your own small group where you can support each other. It’s not whinging party, it’s a proactive supportive group of like-minded people. This can make a huge difference in your daily life, both personally and professionally.
2. Create new routines – and then create more new routines.
When we are all feeling a bit stuck and caught up in the repetitive groundhog day mode, it’s really wise to have solid routines that help us get things done during the day. But I’m also a big believer in mixing things up and throwing those routines out the window on a regular basis and coming up with new ones. Our brains love routine but we also love “new”. We need both. Same same, day after day, can be challenging, so create new routines and then create more new routines. It really works for me.
3. Read – Listen – Grow
This is a great time to invest in learning new things. I’m doing my utmost to read more and listen to more shows and talks that teach me new things. I’m choosing my topics wisely. At the moment I’m doing a deep dive on learning all about building membership programmes and subscription based business models. I’ve got 8 books that I’m working my way through and I’m already feeling like an authority on the topic. I know that this investment of time is going to not only save me a pile of money but also prove really profitable in the future. And in the meantime, my brain is very appreciative of reading and learning as opposed to social media scrolling.
4. It’s ok to be reasonably human.
Last week I made a few stuff ups. I forget about a ZOOM appointment that I didn’t put in my diary, I took too long to get back to a client and they got upset (so did I). I’ve just noticed that in the last few weeks I haven’t been firing on all 4 cylinders, especially when I like to think I normally fire on all 8. But I’m human. I do a great deal to help others, to be supportive, to do good and just to make a difference. Sadly I get tired and worn down, I say yes to too many things, I forgot that I’m human. And that leads to me making mistakes. It’s not ok, but there is no point beating yourself up. They are just little signs saying – “Hey Dude – take some time out and regroup”. Right now, we need to be doing this on a regular basis and really, just lighten up and take it easier on yourself (and probably on those around you).
5. Don’t fall down the trap of arguing with lunatics.
It’s so easy to get caught up in online arguments and even real life arguments right now. I had a full on fight with a lady in a coffee shop who was bleating to everyone and anyone, listening or not, that COVID19 was a joke, it only affected old people and if a few old people died, that was a small price to pay for the cost of the economic shut down. I was a little speechless, and to show my state of mind, I couldn’t sit there and listen to this lady dismissing the value of anyone over 65, so I got into a full blown stand and talk over the top of each other fight. I couldn’t believe that I was even engaging with this nut bag in an argument that no one could ever win. I did get a free coffee from the Barrister, so that made it kind of worth it. I was embarrassed that I was so easily triggered and it really showed my state of mind. Don’t fight with lunatics, especially when you are simply not going to change their thinking (of course I may have been the lunatic in this story, hard to tell).
6. The world wants “NEW”, give it to them.
Seriously with the state of flux in the world at the moment, I honestly think this is a great time to be coming up with new products and services. Our customers are open to them, we need the stimulation and it actually makes good business sense. Think of it as the perfect time to do some life research and development. I’m suggesting to virtually every business owner that I’m working with to take a long hard look at their product architecture – and get into product development mode. For me, I find this really invigorating. It’s fun to create new products, it’s a challenge to set up the marketing side of things and to actually sell them. And of course then we have to deliver. All good for the brain and the back pocket if you do it well.
7. Put some time in your diary every day to just sit and think deeply about things that matter.
I’m a big believer in sitting and doing nothing but thinking, deep thinking. I like to allocate time for it every day. Now I don’t sit there and think about the origin of the universe, but I do think about the bigger things in my life that matter, my bigger picture ideas and projects, my business direction, how I do what I do and the things I could teach others. My aim in these sit and think sessions is deep thinking. Not just the superficial levels of thinking that we spend most of our day in, simply because we getting pulled in so many different directions. I consciously start a deep thinking session with an idea, or a thought that needs some serious brain power added to it. And I switch off devices, I sit outside in the sun if I can, I always have a notebook and a pen, and I think. Try it – it’s awesome.
8. Try and tick off one big thing to give you a sense of accomplishment.
I have lots of things I’ve wanted to get done during COVID19, some I have, some are nowhere close to being done. But I was really committed to completing one major project as soon as possible so that I could feel like I had actually made progress and used the lockdown time wisely. The human brain loves to feel like we are moving forward. For me it was finishing my fourteenth book. A few weeks back I sent my manuscript to my awesome publisher, Publish Central. Now your one big thing could be personal, it could be a business thing, it’s up to you of course. But make it a stretch goal, something that you’d be really proud of achieving. And I’ve got to say I’m really proud of writing my new book and it’s something positive that I’ve got out of COVID19.
9. Do something that makes you laugh as often as you can.
I think we can all do with a good laugh on a regular basis right about now. I love to watch old reruns of Seinfeld episodes or some other comedy show. I might watch a few minutes first thing in the morning, just to start the day with a cup of tea and a good belly laugh. I get that it’s a weird and challenging time, but hey, it’s only life. Everyone seems so serious, so black or white, so strongly opinionated and we are all either right or wrong, with no shades of grey. As far as I’m concerned the world is nothing but grey. I’m enjoying spending time in the inappropriate, darker, hilarious side of comedy and my whole being feels all the better for it.
10. Now is a very good time to be checking in on others.
One of things I’m really good at it is supporting others. I’m better at looking after others than I am at looking after myself. That’s my nature, it always has been and dare I say it always will be. It makes me feel good about myself. In these crazy times, a lot of people need help. They need support. A kind word. A hug. A caring comment on Facebook. Generally it doesn’t take much to reach out and show someone you give a damn. I try and shoot an email to one person every day, generally someone who has been on my mind, just to say g’day, and to see how they are going. The responses that I’ve had have been very humbling, a little sad and at the same wonderfully real. People greatly appreciate someone asking if they are ok, in a personal way, that is genuine and sincere. Is there a way that perhaps you can reach out to others and show your support of them, in a way that works for you?
These are my 10 ways to stay sane as a business owner during the COVID19 madness. They help me on a daily basis and I hope they will help you.