Over the last week we’ve moved into a “new normal.”
“New normal”… what exactly does that mean? No one knows for sure.
New normal depends on what your life was like before COVID-19. One thing is for sure… life has changed… a lot.
Regardless of who you are, what you do, where you live, life has changed.
To pretend that it hasn’t is downright foolish. For all of us, it has changed.
In this episode of Power Up for Profits podcast, I share my thoughts about what is going on and what you can do moving forward.
With change, comes fear. With fear, comes lack of action. With lack of action… well, lack of action could actually create more fear. The solution? Action! But… the right kind of action.
When the change began, we didn’t think too much of it due to minimal disruption, such as restaurants and bars being required to shut down in only a few areas and a few locations. But a few turned into virtually the entire United States. Other countries are going through the same thing. The entire world is being impacted.
Then came dental offices, veterinarians, florists, hair and nail salons and many nonessential businesses. Although we may think barbershops and hair salons are essential, when you get right down to it, during the pandemic they likely are not.
We are quickly learning what is a “must have” compared to a “nice to have.”
If it feels like the brakes have been put on and life is never going to be the same again, it has changed… dramatically. It’s not going to stay like this forever, but it won’t go back to the way it was. Much of what we took for granted is gone forever.
Lots of people are experiencing massive amounts of panic, fear and anxiety. I can safely say that virtually everyone, myself included, is going through some level of fear. This is a normal reaction. Yet, it’s not whether or not we experience fear, it’s what we do with it.
I feel pretty lucky that I’ve only had one really bad night’s sleep since first hearing that the world is in a pandemic. About five days into the pandemic, I was tossing and turning throughout the night.
A couple of mornings, I woke up thinking I had a bad dream. But within seconds, I realized that this was really happening.
The Nightmare Continues
Just yesterday, California’s governor announced the entire state is under a “Shelter in Place.” There is some confusion as to what exactly this means, but in essence, stay home unless it’s for groceries, medical attention or exercise by yourself.
Following California’s lead is New York. Soon many other states will likely follow close behind. Our own state, Oregon, is putting a “stay at home” recommendation in place. Right now, it’s by choice. Soon, likely it will be mandatory. By the time you read this, it likely will be mandatory.
Millions of people have been let go from their jobs. Everything from front line service professionals to high-level executives and everything in between. The restaurant industry has been hit especially hard.
“There are more than 1 million restaurants in the United States, employing 15.6 million people. More than 70% of these restaurants are small businesses that support their local communities,” https://www.today.com/food/thousands-restaurant-workers-have-already-lost-their-jobs-due-coronavirus-t176196
Lest anyone be tempted to minimize one level of job being lost over another, a job lost is a job lost. In some cases, low wage workers had two or three jobs and were let go from all of their jobs.
Avoid being a snob over the type of job loss. Everyone is being hard hit by COVID-19. A front line worker job loss is equally as devastating as a corporate executive. In some cases more so due to lack of savings.
Welcome to the New Normal
Initially, people were in a state of shock with the changes. Not quite sure what to do, many people did nothing. Nothing, that is, other than watch hours and hours of the news. Whether they watched CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC or turned to social media for their news, people were in massive disbelief with what was occurring.
Some chose to ignore the social distancing requests as was evident by some spring breakers partying on the beaches. Many tourists continued to party and drink up a storm in places like New Orleans. I have to admit, back in the day, I would have done my fair share of drinking to deal with something like this. Likely my attitude would have been, “Who cares? I’m going to die anyway.”
Today, with over 35 years of sobriety, I look at things from a completely different perspective.
Many people are using this time to evaluate what they currently do (or did) and what they could be doing differently in their business or job.
Others are checking in with their lifestyle choices to determine if proactive change is in order.
Still others, specifically seniors, are wondering if now is the time to begin collecting social security in order not to work so hard.
If you own a business, take a look at all your expenses. Determine which are needed and which you could cut back on or eliminate altogether. This includes service providers, software programs, subscriptions, etc. Look at your cost compared to return. Is it an investment or an expense?
There’s a chance you will have contracts cancelled. One colleague lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in business, due to cancelled contracts, all within the span of a little over an hour.
Another colleague, who is a $10,000 per speech professional speaker, had three engagements cancelled in one day AND her clients requested their deposits back.
It’s best to get into a routine including showering and dressing for the “office” every day. The temptation may be to stay in your pajamas, but that could likely work against you.
Act the part to be the part. What this simply means is, if you plan to get back on track, you absolutely must be in the right state of mind to do so. Showering and dressing for the day is part of getting your head on straight.
Stick to a schedule. For example, if you normally get into your office at nine a.m., continue to do so. Even if things are slow right now, they will likely pick up. When things will pick up is anyone’s guess.
Call clients and prospects simply to check in with them. People will be pleasantly surprised when you tell them you are calling because you care.
Set a goal of how many dials you will do each day. Call simply to connect. I’ve been taking my own advice on this by calling at least 6 – 10 people a day.
Granted, I am getting voicemail quite a bit, but the people I am talking with are delighted to hear from me.
And… you never know what will happen on a call. One call today turned out very different than I anticipated. Rather than simply have a “how are you” conversation, we discussed a huge project my client is in the middle of that I may be a perfect fit for.
You never know who may actually need your services at this time so don’t discount the power of a phone conversation.
Call people without an attachment to the outcome. When you do this, you will be amazed at the outcome of many of the calls.
If you were let go from your job, now is the time to brush up on your interviewing skills. Update your resume, check if your references are current and get ready to look for a job.
If you have money saved up and you need a break, then take it, but most people are not in that position and must immediately begin their job search.
Of course, be sure to file for unemployment benefits as soon as possible.
Many industries are at a standstill for an indefinite period of time, but others are hiring. Amazon.com announced the need to hire 100,000 people. Zoom.com is hiring as are other gig-economy, digitally based companies. Be flexible. You never know where the next job might be.
Now, more than ever, it’s essential to take care of your health. Be sure to hydrate, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, get plenty of rest and exercise. Do what you are able to do based on your current health condition.
Start your day with a ritual of sorts that gets you in a good state of mind. Included can be yoga, meditation, journaling and reading something inspirational. How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Utilities and Creditors
If money is tight, call your utility companies to negotiate paying for services at a later date. If you’re really strapped due to COVID-19, let companies know. The only way they can help is if you ask. In some cases, utility companies may forego payment altogether.
If you have a mortgage on your home, your financial institution may allow you to stop payments for a few months. It’s not that you won’t pay the payment, they are simply deferring the payment. This can reduce your stress a great deal.
In some cases, you might be able to get a very low interest hardship loan from your local bank or credit union.
Additionally, take a look at where you are spending money that may be best to pull back on. It could be for takeout meals. Sure, it’s good to support local business, but you also want to avoid getting in more of a financial bind than you currently find yourself in.
And by all means, avoid fast food restaurants. Actually, Fast Food Genocide by Dr. Joel Fuhrman would be a great read to understand fully why fast food is the worst choice you can make during a time like this. Actually, fast food is a bad choice any time, but especially now.
The book is under $10 and a much better investment than a $10 fast food meal. Click here
Evaluate Your Skills
Many of my friends and colleagues are in the middle of self-analysis. Simply put, they are determining skills they have that are marketable. Whether you be in business for yourself or work for a company, you may be able to bring more to your clients, customers and employers than you currently are.
It’s likely you have skills you are under-utilizing. List all the skills you have that you enjoy using. For example, I love to write. This is a skill that could benefit clients in a big way.
I also very much enjoy helping my clients with their interview skills. I also like to help clients gear up for podcast interviews. Something I haven’t been offering but plan to is teaching clients how to start their own podcast shows.
It occurred to me that the combination of helping them to get a show started AND learning how to interview and find opportunities on other shows is a perfect integration of services.
The bottom line is this; now is a time where you can make it tougher than it is, or use this time to regroup in order to see what you can manifest.
Easy or Fun?
Will it be easy? Probably not.
Will it be fun? That’s actually up to you. Bottom-line is this; if you have you’re health you have a lot going for you.
If you are not as healthy as you want to be, now is a great time to do something about it. Over a year and a half ago, I made a change that has benefited me in numerous ways. I went from a carnivore diet to a 100% plant based diet.
This change has improved my health, energy, vitality and ability to get through the current situation a lot better than if I were still a meat eater. I perform better in all areas of my life due to my food choices. Plus, I released 35 pounds without dieting.
One of my passions is to raise awareness about this way of life. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to stack the deck in your favor. Plants allow you to do this.
Take Things a Day at a Time
When all is said and done, the best we can do is to live as much in the present as possible. By focusing on what is working, your health and your blessings, you will get to the other side of this pandemic much easier than if you resist the change that is here to stay.
To learn more about healthy eating, check out the Plant Based Eating for Health Facebook Group and Podcast Show.
Best advice article I have read in this changing time! Thank you Kathleen for this sage advice and guidance!!!
Thanks Lana. What a great time this is to evaluate and realign with what is most important.