Words of encouragement during the Coronavirus crisis

Recently, I’ve thought about what kind of services I want to offer my clients during the COVID-19 crisis. Primarily, my focus is to provide leadership insights to help you encourage your client base while all of us are dealing with the Coronavirus crisis.

First things first
First, I keep coming back to the realization that coronavirus is real. I’m not taking it lightly or calling it a hoax. However, I’m also not operating from a place of complete fear or even panic. I’m taking the necessary precautions.

I primarily work at home. Lately, I’ve been helping my kids figure out how to do their schoolwork in an online setting. During this, I’ve tried to maintain an overriding sense of peace, calm, tranquility and serenity.

In business, I believe it’s also absolutely mandatory for those in leadership roles to do the same regardless of their industry.

So first and foremost, I want to help those I work with understand this fundamental principle.

Is your attitude contagious?
Just like Coronavirus, fear is contagious. But guess what? So are hope, optimism and peace. We need calmness right now, not hysterics. If your goal is to be a leader during this crisis, it’s important to understand that there’s going to be a downturn in things like the stock market. I’ve been watching it tank just like everyone else. Like many others, I’ve set up a retirement fund that is directly affected by stock market forces. So, I watch it with awareness of what’s happening.

However, this is not my first rodeo when it comes to this. I’ve been invested in the stock market for close to 20+ years now. I’ve witnessed a few of these dips, and understand that this is a cycle.

So, what I can say with complete certainty is we will get to the other side of this. I don’t know what that looks like exactly nor am I calling what we witness today a bottom to the market.

I do, however, have full faith that we will survive this. After all, we live in the greatest country in the world. The United States of America is the most economically stable country in the world, so there’s going to be business on the other side of this.

As the saying goes, it’s time to “batten down the hatches.”
I’m not a sailing person, but this expression definitely comes to mind right now. It means that we should all be more fiscally conservative. If your business has a margin — which is something I preach to leaders a lot — you’re going to be able to handle this a lot better and live in less fear.

Peace in the storm
My goal while working with others is to bring them peace. I want them to experience the sense of serenity that allows them to make smart, rational decisions. With everything going on around us, I believe that is the number one thing that I can offer people right now.

Which begs the question: where does that sense of peace come from? Many of my readers know how deeply my own spiritual center matters to me. As a person of faith — Christian faith — I feel a deep connection with my God.

When times get confusing, I go back to that faith.

When we experience unprecedented times of turmoil, when people are panicking, my mind goes to service. How can I best serve my family, my friends, my fellow men? How can I be a voice of reason and calm?

I think that’s exactly what we need: reason and calm. And, so that’s how I want to help people.

My 90 Day Plan
I’ve been thinking about this idea of a “90 day plan.” My goal isn’t to take advantage of the crisis, but rather, serve people during it. So in this 90 day plan, my mission would be to do just that.

Let’s get together. Let’s not be fearful. Connect with each other. Let’s bolster each other, encouraging one another. As it says in Hebrews 10:24,

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

Lift each other up. Let’s work together to figure out ways we can tangibly help each other. We might not be able to financially support every person we run across, but maybe we can work together to streamline services. At the very least, we can develop a deeper understanding of what we’re each doing as business leaders.

Leadership during times of troubles
I keep coming back to this idea of leadership. Leadership in marketing is important, but you know what’s more important? Your spiritual side. That, my friends, will help you grow your leadership skills the most.

I recognize there are other ways to become a more effective leader. Things like your education, listening to podcasts, watching videos, and attending webinars will help.

Most importantly, spending time in quiet reflection, studying the Bible, meditating on God’s Word, praying, and singing worship songs will help keep you spiritually centered. I know it helps me! Those activities help keep me on rock solid footing, a solid foundation that helps me not to worry about the day-to-day problems we’re facing.

So, how can I impart this to other people?
Some of what I’ve described comes only by faith. Some comes by courage, hope and optimism. Each of those are fundamental to your daily walk, so if you don’t have them, you’re gonna have a hard time dealing with all of this.

What would I say to those who have witnessed the panic at the grocery stores? Everywhere we go, items such as toilet paper, tissues, and bread are wiped out. Just the other day, I went to the store to stock up on some things we were out of. We had food in our pantry, but needed some other items to round those out. Guess what I found? I didn’t find myself in a panic, although several of the shelves had been cleaned out.

I just went there, took my time, and found some different items than I planned to buy — things outside my normal routine. I then realized that this is a great time to try something new!

So to those worrying, I’d encourage you to try and be more adaptable to whatever situation life presents to you. Leadership requires, beyond spiritual strength, a sense of flexibility. This allows you to change with the times.

Bouncing back
It’s this sense of adaptability that will allow your business to not only bounce back, but thrive once this whole thing has passed. And it will pass — don’t forget that! I have no idea when the end of the pandemic will arrive. Will it be six months or even a year? I don’t know. My hope and prayer is that with what’s going on — with quarantines and social distancing — that it’ll be a short time period. But in case it’s not, let’s be realistic and plan ahead.

And, let’s look for opportunities to adapt and “motivate one another” as the scriptures said. So when things return to “normal,” we’ve all learned how to be successful during the “abnormal.” Our reality now is to accept what we’ve been presented with, adapt to be, and be successful in it.

Reality Check
I don’t want people to misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m fully aware that people are suffering and there are many others who are far less fortunate than you or I have been. Many are unprepared for a situation like this.

So, let’s put it all in perspective and realize that we live in America. We have an abundance: we really do. It’s a fact that gets repeated often, and is worth mentioning again today. While there are people who are in dire straits here in the U.S., in reality, they’re in far better shape financially than millions of others elsewhere.

I guess I hope that we can dial down some of the rhetoric, chaos, hysteria and panic. Let’s follow the recommended guidelines. Most importantly, let’s choose to be leaders not only for our families’ sake but for our communities and neighbors too.

A choice
Each of us has a choice to make. Do we operate from a place of faith or a sense of fear? Do we live in hope, calm and optimism or despair, panic and fear?

Are you willing to stand up and say, “Hey, I’m here and I can help! Let me do something to help you too!”

I know I’ve been blessed, well educated, and received so much. That has helped shape my life’s mission: to turn that blessing back around and pour it out on other people. It’s something I take very seriously. I want to help as much as possible.

We need more leaders and people who are going to say, “Let’s figure this out together!” Let’s work together for the betterment of our country during the Coronavirus crisis!

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