Corona virus has up-ended life as we know it, yet history shows that we’re extremely resilient. The human and economic impact will be huge, yet we will overcome it. The front-line of this crisis (first-responders, doctors, nurses, essential service workers) are the soldiers in a war with Mother-nature. A vaccine and treatments will be developed, enabling us to move freely, return to school, re-open businesses, and ignite the engine of economic growth.
SHAPING THE NEW NORMAL: Elected officials are taking actions to address the virus on a societal level. Most businesses are in “survival” mode, as the “lock-down” needed to stop virus spread freezes the economy. Despite this, only weeks into this crisis, signs of resilience are visible as we move beyond fear & uncertainty to begin shaping a “new normal”. If we all do our part (isolating, social distancing), we’ll save lives and accelerate the return to prosperity.
EMPATHY & SHARED SACRIFICE: This crisis will test us like never before. The compassion that leaders display, while taking steps to ensure long-term survival, will affect how we think, act and live for years to come. Leaders in business and government will make the toughest choices they’ve ever faced; slashing expenses, massive furloughs/lay-offs, temporary and permanent closures, rationalizing resources. Decisions will be data-driven, and the strongest leaders will take action with empathy and demonstrate shared sacrifice.
FEELING THE PAIN: As the new reality takes shape, we’re way outside our respective comfort zones on many fronts. Personally: the way we interact is vastly different with virtual communication the norm. Professionally: companies face existential threats that are resulting in large-scale lay-offs. Economically: people and co.s went from comfortable to “survival” mode in weeks. Psychologically: our coping skills are being stressed to the max.
FINDING YOUR COURAGE: While the virus’ full impact won’t be known for some time, the seeds of recovery are being sewn now. The words to the right, written by a Theologian during the Great Depression, hung on the wall of my parent’s home for years. This saying grounded me in reality during stressful times, and helped me focus my energy in constructive, positive ways.
SEEKING WISDOM: Consider the unexpected surplus of time as a gift. Take time to reflect, care for one another, seek guidance from those who’ve experienced crisis (great depression, wars, pandemics, etc.).
My 93 year-old parents (pictured left) vividly remember bread-lines in the ‘30s, the shared purpose that enabled us to win WW2, and served in Europe shortly after WW2 ended. We recently discussed the impact of Corona virus – here’s their timeless wisdom: (1) We are stronger together. Caring for family friends, neighbors and strangers come first. (2) Change is inevitable. We choose whether to be forced or feel inspired to change. (3) Dramatic change creates big opportunities. Those who embrace change ultimately succeed.
FROM THE EXPERTS AT HBR: In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “What Coronavirus Could Mean for the Global Economy”, the authors (Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, Martin Reeves, Paul Swartz) addressed how leaders could mitigate risks – here’s an excerpt:
- Don’t become dependent on projections… markets currently reflect great uncertainty. A wide range of scenarios remain plausible and should be explored.
- Don’t allow market gyrations to cloud judgement about the business you lead.
- Focus on consumer confidence signals, trust your own instincts, and know how to leverage your company’s data in calibrating such insights. The impact will not be uniform, and the conclusions will be specific to your industry.
- Plan for the best and prepare for the worst trajectories.
- Begin to look past the crisis. What legacy will Covid-19 have? What opportunities or challenges will arise?
- Consider how you will address the post-crisis world. Can you be part of faster adoption of new technologies, new processes, etc? Can you eventually find advantage in adversity for your company, clients and society?
THE GIFT: It’s on our elected leaders, science/medical experts to lead the charge to mitigate the virus’ societal impact. It’s on each of us to address the personal impact, and prepare for the future. So in the absence of a commute, less/no work, consider the surplus time to be a gift – be with family, clean, cook, paint, read, take walks/runs, teach your kids life-skills (how to find calm in the midst of chaos). On a professional level, dedicate a portion of your new-found time to preparing for your future success.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: Planning for the future in tough times, while challenging, is both practical and cathartic. All of us need help when it comes to thinking, planning for the future, so reach-out to a mentor, trusted advisor or friend for guidance or to be a sounding-board. Doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness. Don’t worry if you don’t have a clue where to begin — the conversations will be cathartic and progress is inevitable.
INVEST IN YOURSELF: Embracing change, especially when it’s “forced” on you, is not easy. Remember, the root cause of today’s problems isn’t you. Corona virus issues will be resolved – despite bleak headlines, a lot of progress has been made. The stage is being set for the next cycle of economic growth. The time to invest in yourself is now. Whether you see opportunity in your current line of work, wish to pivot by building new skills for a new job, or want to explore entrepreneurship, capitalize on the time at-hand to do it right. Above all, don’t under-estimate your potential – new opportunities will arise before you know it.
WE’RE PRE-WIRED FOR RESILIENCE: Take a deep breath, give yourself permission to prepare for the future, expand your knowledge, develop new skills, and explore new endeavors. The act of exploration itself will spur personal growth. As you exercise your resilience “muscle”, you’ll find your state-of-mind becoming more positive, confident… all of which will prepare and position you favorably for future opportunity.
Want to know more about Resilience? The American Psychological Association recently published an incredible article that provides a “roadmap for adapting to life-changing situations, and emerging even stronger than before.” It’s a short read – check it out “Building Your Resilience”
About the Author:
Phil Harvey, founder of Prosperity Services, is an accomplished franchise professional, entrepreneur and trusted franchise advisor. He consults with first-time, as well as serial entrepreneurs. In addition to helping them find, evaluate and select the right franchise, Phil maximizes their prospects for success. To learn more about Prosperity Services or Phil, visit his LinkedIn profile or www.prosperitysvcs.com.