You’re in for a big surprise
2020 has in no way panned out in the way we thought it would. Except for one person I know of… My friend took delivery for her neighbour back in late January because her neighbour wasn’t home. When he collected the box from her, he told her it was full of face masks. At that point, there was news of a virus in China, but not much more was known than that. Clearly, someone had their finger on the pulse and whilst my friend and I found it amusing he was panic buying face masks, we were laughing on the other side of our face (mask) as the months wore on…
As individuals, and businesses, we made plans for 2020. Plans for trips afar, maybe savings plans for exciting adventures in 2021; intentions to see old friends; begin new pastimes and activities to meet new ones; maybe to grow a role at work, to move on to enhance skills, or maybe to stretch oneself, perhaps to take a leap of faith and start a new business; as businesses, there will have been operational and tactical plans underpinning the overall 2020 strategy to grow and move the business forward. However, how strong and effective was the contingency plan? How much importance had been placed on the rainy-day plan or the savings? Because surely nobody could have foreseen what lay ahead and how many contingency plans could have taken such an event into account?
If this year has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. We are living through a key event in modern history. Historians will look back and analyse the global response to this and the impact it had – socially, spiritually, culturally, economically and morally. You can just imagine the movies which are currently in the treatment phase... Right now, Hollywood execs are planning the blockbusters which will depict this year’s events and of course as always, America will probably save the day, whether they actually did or didn’t…! #U571film
Gonna change my way of thinking
There will be those hugely affected by this global pandemic – not just in terms of illness but in how businesses have adversely changed, redundancies, those furloughed, huge debts incurred. For those people, it is not simply a case of picking themselves up, dusting themselves off and starting again. Devastation. Frustration. Disappointment. A sense of loss will be felt.
So, what do you do when your business has gone under, or you’ve lost your job, you’ve bills stacking up, you’ve no idea how you’ll get money for next month? It’s not about telling yourself the sun will come out tomorrow, besides, you might not want to risk betting on that bottom dollar. Nope. Slapping a smile on and telling yourself it’ll all be OK is like wearing rubber gloves to fix a leaky pen.
You might understandably feel emotionally wrung out, exhausted by the rollercoaster of emotions. Perhaps there’s unresolved anger about the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked, perhaps you feel bitterly disappointed that you’ve been unable to achieve what you set out to achieve; maybe nervous to commit to anything new. Perhaps you’re still reeling from the shock all these months in, still incredulous as to how this has even happened – that this turn of events arrived unannounced, unexpectedly, and we all got swept along in the tidal wave of resulting events and how with every day, it is still unfolding,
However, there is a choice. Do you give up all hope, or do you choose to fight, survive and come out the other side of all this with new thoughts, with a new plan? Because a change of mindset is the fundamental prerequisite to any shift in emotions and behaviour in order push through, uplift and create new opportunities that you seek for 2021 - the thinking that got you here, won’t get you there. Mindset is what will turn things around.
What a fool believes
One of the business coaches I follow on social media teaches people how to make passive and semi-passive income. Last month, she launched a course and made almost £2m. Yep, that much. Even during these uncertain times. She’s found her niche - identified a market of what people need right now. She could have thought to herself: ‘No one has spare cash right now for courses’ or ‘People are Zoomed out, they won’t want online learning’ or ‘Concentration levels are lacking as people are feeling so despondent’. This person believed in herself, her product and her teachings. And she’s not alone, there are hundreds of successful people who have pivoted their business, diversified and identified a niche market. I do acknowledge that there are businesses for whom diversification wasn’t an option and there is resulting devastation for all involved. But there is always a way forward.
For what is the alternative? If we choose long-term thoughts of frustration, bitterness and resentment to remain and to build, the resulting emotions will not serve us well. Our behaviour will be reflected in this – we’ll be lethargic, listless, purposeless. We won’t strive for anything; we’ll believe that there’s no point trying because it’s all going to come crashing down anyway. And then confirmation bias will kick in, which is as you know. is when we have a tendency to process information by selectively looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs. So, we’ll read and hear the news but our brain will only acknowledge the bits that prove us right. It won’t notice if there’s an upward trend in employment, or that there's good news about house prices. It will only hear that the furlough scheme might end soon, or that the government is considering taking emergency finance measures etc etc. Your brain will magnify the bad news and ignore any rays of light. Because our brain is clever like that, it wants to prove us right so if you believe it’s doom and gloom, your brain will seek out the stuff that will confirm that to be the case.
However, if you decide enough is enough, you’re not going to take this lying down, that nothing and no one is going to take anymore from you, then that’s going to make the difference between the sun possibly coming out shining tomorrow, as opposed to a bleak day ahead.
Take responsibility for the type of thoughts you are having. You are entirely up to you and no one else can turn this around for you. That’s the harsh reality. I had a bit of an epiphany recently. It was the result of a conversation with a friend, which to be fair, turned into a 1-2-1 as she is also a coach. As I always say, mindset is a work in progress and it’s important to know when someone else’s perspective would be helpful. There was an area of my life I was stuck in a bit of a funk, I felt unable to motivate myself; my friend was a listening ear, gave me some great advice and a kick in the pants quite frankly. All of which is fab but it’s what I choose to do with it that matters. I left the conversation knowing my next move, or lack of, was down to me. I had it all within me to make the necessary change, and that the self-belief had to come from within.
Curve balls are thrown to us in life, that’s well, life. And it can take time for us to even want to consider our next move. But move we can or else we stay static, feeling lost, hopeless and disheartened because no matter what others might say to us, if our mindset cannot accept moving forward is possible, we won’t. However, over time, we can choose a path forward. After grief, devastation, disappointment, loss, frustration, new and different thoughts can embolden us. We will always have that experience but there will be a new normal. But how that looks is up to you.
You get to write the next unwritten chapter of your life, you get to choose what happens next and as my wise friend said: Nothing changes if nothing changes.
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