• Joe Valentic

Making the Most of These Difficult Times

Making the Most of Our Difficult Time

As I find myself daily, even hourly, trying to evaluate the continually changing impact of Covid 19 on my family, my business and the world, I have admittedly struggled with fears and letting those fears change my behaviors for the worst. Like many people, I could rationally say my fears do not seem unfounded, as I am directly negatively impacted by clients and prospects cancelling current and planned business with my company. I am left, like many, wondering just how bad this will be.

As I contemplate this, I am also finding myself recalling the many great books I have had the opportunity to read on leadership and personal development. As I reflect on those books, there is not one that does not somehow deal with the process of managing real challenges and often in the midst of personal or business crisis. In fact, one could say that almost every one of those great books on personal and business development are founded on the premise of dealing with the existential issue of crisis in one form or another.

As I recalled these books, I was forced to ask myself the tough question: "Am I really applying what I have learned and so often advocated to others to my current situation?" Asking that question lead me to do some soul searching and from that came the following thoughts/perspectives. While this is not meant to be all encompassing, my hope in sharing this is that I may begin to truly apply what I have been blessed to learn from the great authors and leaders. My hope is that in sharing this I can become part of the solution to the challenge we are facing.

Remember This To Shall Pass

In the face of the 24/7 social and network media coverage it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel a sense of hopelessness. However, it is within your power to control this, by choosing what to put before our eyes and our mind. To paraphrase John Maxwell, we are what we think, and what we think is shaped by what we choose to think about. So the first positive step we can make is choosing to moderate our media content to what is really essential. Second, we all need to take a collective deep breath and remind ourselves that this too shall pass. While there are very real challenges to human life and economy from this situation, the world has truly suffered much, much, worse than this and not only recovered, but grown through the experiences. This too will absolutely pass and if we continually remind ourselves of this reality, we can clear our minds to actively think about how we can personally and professionally grow through this and become part of the solution to help make this pass faster and with less negative impact.

Become Part of the Solution

We can become part of the solution by choosing first and foremost to use our time for what is best, not worst in life. We can transform this time of crisis into a time of opportunity if we choose to use our time to make ourselves better personally, spiritually and professionally. As many of us are faced with limitations on public social interaction and slow downs in our normal work schedule, let us take this time to focus on making ourselves, our families and our businesses better. When you find yourself with downtime, don't turn on the news or social media, but instead, pick up a book or video on personal or business development. If you must look at the media, ask yourself how you and or your business can learn and grow from this and then start to take action. The choice to act, in and of itself, will begin to bring you more of a sense of hope. The choice to act will expand into seeing additional opportunities and will begin to create a self fulfilling prophecy of becoming part of the solution. As you look for opportunity to grow, consider how much greater our opportunities are than in prior times in history.

Consider How We Have Grown Since the Great Recession

The nation and the world has gone through tremendous growth and positive change since the Great Recession. Consider the fact that at the beginning of the last recession, we had only begun to enter the mobile age of technology and the wholesale digitalization of how we do almost everything in our lives. Consider the fact that the I-phone was only just launched in June of 2007. The advent of the mobile age coupled with the digital transformation has completely changed the way the world communicates, transacts business and virtually every other facet of our lives. While this has some negative side effects, such as our 24/7 media world, the potential it offers us for growth and recovery in this crisis is truly greater than at any time in history. If we use this technology to harness and share what is best in both mankind and technology, we will come through this crisis faster and better than any other time in history.

We Will Recover Fast If We Choose

While every person and business will no doubt likely have some negative impact from this situation, it is critical to remember that we will absolutely recover from this. Additionally, the speed of recovery is largely in our hands as individuals and business owners. If we choose to respond in fear and withdraw from the market, we will absolutely create a self fulfilling prophecy of a protracted and painful recovery. However, if we choose to continue to invest both personally and professionally, to our respective ability, we can materially reduce the impact of this situation. I am not saying that prudent management of resources is not called for in times of uncertainty, but if we are looking at this for what it is, which is a temporary blight, and not a fundamental change in the economy, and we act accordingly, we will create a positive self-fulfilling prophecy and shorten the impact.

Support Our Communities

There is perhaps no greater opportunity to apply leadership and growth philosophy than to support our communities, including people, churches, charities, businesses, first responders, and the most vulnerable. If we all take the time to ask how we can help someone other than ourselves, even in the smallest ways, we can absolutely help the nation recover faster from this event, and to come out better. This is not just a rosy eyed, kumbaya statement, this is the reality of what happens when people take the time to think about others and help with their needs. So please take the time to give those around you encouragement, even if you are fighting fear. Support your local small businesses, even if it means going through the drive through because you cannot dine in. Reach out to the elderly you know and be sure they have what they need. Continue to support your church and or local charities as you normally would or maybe even more if you have the means. Take time to ask how you can use your gifts to help others and you will absolutely help top make the most out of these difficult times.