Time waits for no one
How can we be halfway through September? Where has the year gone to so far? Oh wait, that’s it, half of it we’ve been in the middle of a pandemic. Who’d have thought when this whole thing started six months ago, that we’d still be in it? In fact, tighter restrictions have just been introduced.
I confess, with the whole back-to-school milestone last week – having geared my girls up with varying degrees of enthusiasm from them, then one daughter home the second day because of a member of staff having a confirmed case of COVID-19, I was needing to manage my mindset A LOT.
Writing on the wall
The news that social gatherings will now be restricted from 30 to 6 in England was surprisingly surprising. I mean, let’s face it, the writing has been on the wall for a while now with cases of COVID-19 increasing. Other countries in the UK have had more severe restrictions in place than England, and there are certainly cities here that have had stricter restrictions put in place. However, when you actually hear on the news that measures have been stepped up, it can perhaps take the wind out of your sails. Just as I felt we were ably adjusting to a new normal - wearing masks was becoming the norm and standing 1 -2 metres apart was almost feeling natural, I found the news of the tightening in restrictions, a challenging one to process. I felt we were moving two steps forward and one step back. Progress against this dreaded virus was being thwarted.
The latest announcement brought with it a flurry of questions: How would this affect work events? Would certain businesses come under the ‘educational purposes’ remit and therefore, meetings, lunches, masterminds, seminars, etc be possible with more than 6, as long as everyone socially distanced of course? We ourselves at the Winning Edge have an event in a few weeks, and much time, effort and energy has been spent working out the logistics to ensure all guidelines are being adhered to in order that participants feel safe. But with this latest news, it all seems so confusing because a blanket approach of one size fits all just doesn’t work. So many questions but not many answers…
Nothing changes until something changes
And so, to mindset. Because that’s the only thing we can control in all of this. I cannot control my hair on a daily basis – think Monica’s hair in Friends when they all go to Barbados – but the one thing I have control over in these uncertain times is the way I choose to think about what I think about. I have heard so many people say, and I’ve read comments online, that this is a dreadful time for business, that there’s no hope of the economy recovering, that business as we know it is doomed. But that simply isn’t the case because we have got through numerous recessions before and we can do it again. We have survived wars and picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and got on with it. I know for many businesses they didn’t get through those testing times but that doesn’t mean that’s the case for all.
During Lockdown, companies needed to be imaginative to survive. I know of so many examples of businesses who were determined that Lockdown would not mean the end for them. A Norfolk business which has several cottages to let, couldn’t of course do that during Lockdown. They also have the Goat Shed – their farm shop from which they sell goats cheese and a skincare range. So, during Lockdown, they diversified, sought out and teamed up with other local producers and before you knew it, they went from selling from a shed, to a large barn, offering a wide range of dairy products, bread, jam and chutneys, fruit and vegetables, meat and fish and as a result, their business is booming.
My local pub obviously had to close during Lockdown. We were all concerned about how it would survive but the landlady had the idea to sell flour to the villagers – genius! What were a lot of people doing during Lockdown? Baking! Whether to be self-sufficient, to keep themselves busy or as a shared activity with their children. People came from far and wide, not just the village because supermarkets were selling out and the shelves were bare. The pub was also one of the first to offer takeaways. They weren’t greedy. First of all, they kept to Friday night fish and chips and it took off. Then it was Saturday nights. They both delivered and you could pick up. They became a huge support in the village, especially to those who were shielding, so when everything re-opened, people were eager to show their support. Incredibly well-thought-out social distancing measures were put in place, and everyone felt safe visiting their local to say thanks for all they’d done during a challenging and what for some, could be a lonely time.
Furthermore, the owners of a newly opened pizza restaurant in New York, unable to open or offer takeaways during strict Lockdown rules, realised their ovens were so hot, they could make the plastic visors needed for the hospitals and also used by hundreds of local businesses. Again, an open mindset which meant light bulb moments could take place.
One track mind
Adopting a mindset where you’re open to opportunities, feel resourceful, and are resilient and open to change doesn’t necessarily guarantee success but my goodness does it stack the cards in your favour. If you expect failure, what’s your dominant thought? Failure. Confirmation bias kicks in and your subconscious will look for signs to prove you right; your eyes and ears will be attracted to the news stories telling you of the failing businesses, the case studies of companies who have gone into administration. Whereas if you expect to fight this, expect your business to hang on in there, that’s when you spot the stories of hope which give you inspiration, the genius ideas pop into your head of how you can pivot what you do, perhaps partner with others and you might see the grants on offer to apply for. It all starts with your mindset because that’s what’s going to get you through this and keep your sanity intact.
Businesses will always thrive and survive in the most extraordinary of circumstances and it’s about the mindset you adopt that will enable you to keep on keeping on. You’ll spot the niche that needs what you can offer, you’ll think of the big idea that will mean a change of direction but resulting in the business continuing. You will persist. You will endure and you will outlive.
Your life will never be better than your mindset because the quality of your life will never exceed the quality of your thinking. As individuals, it is 100% up to us to manage our thinking around this situation and 100% up to us to manage how we choose to think about our jobs and our businesses. If we’re a small cog in a big wheel, the way we choose to think about it makes a difference. There is so much that is out of our hands and so much we can choose to fear, panic and worry about but ultimately, where does that get us? What results will we be producing for ourselves? By changing our thinking though, we will get different results affecting the quality of our life. 100%.
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