It’s been amazing and awful to cycle through being scared then creative then challenged then connected… and back around to scared again.
This rapid-fire cycling has made me SO much more intentional about getting support and connection from my community (the Watch Us Thrive calls are the best example of this)!
Through these connections, I noticed a very consistent pattern: 5 distinct phases that business owners are going through. The time frame for each phase is different for everyone, and the phases don’t necessarily occur in this exact order.
Phase 1: Abject Terror
Oh @#$%&! This is no joke, it’s not China’s problem, it’s actually here. The economic impact is going be staggering. My business will never survive. No one is buying anything. Ever again.
You freak out, become paralyzed and may be eating potato chips dipped into a chocolate milkshake. You have difficulty breathing, sleeping, and keeping your mind off toilet paper. Nothing productive happens during this phase.
Phase 2: Panic in Motion
You realize you’ve got to get off the couch, but can’t seem to stop arguing with people on social media or refreshing websites looking at COVID-19 graphs. Refreshing, refreshing, refreshing… WAIT – I gotta get to work!
You waffle back and forth, “Can I position myself to benefit from this? Wait – oh ick! NO! I can’t capitalize on this. But I’m helping people, right? Will they think I’m being opportunistic?”
More chips. More milkshakes. An emotional roller coaster that takes you, minute by minute, from feeling mildly hopeful to dipping into the desperation of, “We’re screwed forever… what’s the point of doing anything?”
Phase 3: Channeling “The Dude”*
Hey man, it’s cool, I have no control over this. I’ve pretty much been ordered to stay home, and it seems like no one is doing business anyway, so… maybe I’ll do some gardening. Or watch Pride and Prejudice (the 6-hour BBC version) at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And then go for a walk.
I’m going to treat this kind of like a vacation.
This is ok. I mean it sucks, but maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to slow down, right?
* The Dude is a waaaayyy chill aging hippie from the movie The Big Lebowski.
Phase 4: Productivity Overkill
THIS! This is the opportunity in the crisis! Yes! It all has meaning now.
I am NOT going to waste this time. I’ve been wanting to start my podcast and write my book. I’m going to take this time and do both. (I mean it is kind of weird how it’s harder to get things done even though my schedule is so open.)
So… ok, I’m going to frame the family pictures, start making bread, develop an online mastermind, can my own veggies, plant a garden, organize weekly Zoom calls for my family and create an online course while losing 20 pounds.
Oh thank goodness! I’ve worked myself into the normal over-scheduled pace I’m used to.
Phase 5: Settling into Your New Reality
You realize, this is how it’s going to be for a while, so you focus on figuring out new routines. How to work out at home, find alone time even though the kids are around, get work done.
Born out of necessity, you start to get creative. Solving problems you’ve been stewing on for months or even years. Collaborating with others because you’re craving connection.
Fears still crop up, but more often than not you see where you can be serving and thriving and simply running your damn business through the chaos.