In the face of unforeseen uncertainty, it’s easy to lose perspective and allow ourselves to be overcome by the rapid spread of fear and anxiety. In this article, I hope to provide a renewed sense of focus and control about our day-to-day and moment-to-moment lives. This list of ten strategies will be useful for identifying opportunities for growth that arise when the world around us becomes even more unsettled.
Whether you’re a business executive managing a large global organization or an entrepreneur navigating the startup terrain, I hope these strategies support your creative thinking, communications, and actions as you navigate the months ahead.
1. Stop overthinking. Immediately.
Uncertainty typically leaves people feeling scared and helpless. The best thing we can do is shift our focus from what we cannot control to what we can. Focus on helping others transform their negatives into positives. The more we do this the less we worry about our own situations. One foot in front of the other. And just like fear, worry, and the coronavirus, confidence is contagious, too.
2. Deepen relationships.
Times of crisis tend to always reveal just how interconnected and dependent we are on one another. Most people and businesses will worry about their sales and operations. Will my products sell? Will I still maintain my job? The strategic thing to do is to focus on deepening our relationships — with family, friends, team members, customers, and prospects. With stronger relationships, the viability of our businesses and jobs will increase as well.
3. Create value.
Jeff Bezos has said in an interview once that he is tired of people asking him what will change in the future. He says that instead of focusing on what will change, he chooses to focus on what he can be sure will not change — for example, customers wanting their goods faster, will not change as their time is valuable to them.
During tumultuous times, people naturally become more risk-averse. Customers don’t want to be sold to. But what doesn’t change is that they seek valuable solutions that will help them eliminate dangers, seize opportunities, and reinforce their strengths. If you focus on providing these solutions the sales will follow.
4. Be adaptive.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” When a crisis hits, the things we take for granted often disappear. Don’t get stuck reminiscing about our losses and mightily try the same old tactics. Any tried and true success story will tell you to be open to adapting to change. It’s times like these which give rise to some of the best new ideas and methods. Now is the best time to focus on identifying totally new opportunities that will help us achieve more than we ever have before.
5. Stay present.
Learn to make friends with the present for that is exactly where all of our power lays. Assess the current situation. What fact must we face and accept at this time? OK. Then ask ourselves, “What three things can I do today that will incrementally move me closer to my desired outcome?”. We are infinitely more powerful than we believe — the trick is to focus on being ever-present. Again, one foot in front of the other.
6. Chew bubblegum and kick a — .
Things may not be as easy as they used to be, but thinking “I can’t handle this,” or “this is too hard,” will only affect our ability to manage. With every dark cloud, there comes a silver lining. It’s times like these that hold the potential for revealing our greatest character traits and believe me, it’s also times like these we want to be at our greatest for I can almost but certainly guarantee it will not go unnoticed. This is precisely when the successful gain their greatest leverage and make significant progress both personally and professionally,
7. Search within.
Particularly in American culture, it’s all too common to see that many people define themselves by external things and beliefs. When crisis falls, suddenly these external things and beliefs fall into question, but what should remain intact is our core identity — our ideals, values, and guiding principles. Go deeper within ourselves to seek solutions for carving out advantage.
8. Creatively respond to change.
Humans enjoy the feeling of being in control. It gives us comfort. When unplanned events unfold, particularly unprecedented events, we can feel as though we’re non-gracefully scrambling downward, hoping not to get too banged up on the way down. The secret to consistent success is accepting that we cannot control outside events, but what we can control is how creative we are in responding to them. This is where we need to put our energy and efforts.
9. Be resourceful.
When a crisis develops, many desirable resources become scarce, including information, tools, systems, staff, and capabilities. These deficiencies can be paralyzing, preventing many people from taking action. A more strategic response is to take advantage of every resource that is immediately available to achieve as many small wins and make as much daily progress as possible. If we work with what we readily have every day, our confidence will grow in tandem.
10. Gratitude, always.
Not only in times of crisis but at all times, we each have the power to choose how we perceive and receive a situation. Our perceptions are our realities. We can choose to complain and be pessimistic, or instead, we can focus all of our attention on the things we are grateful for. Sometimes these are as simple as lessons learned, new ideas, our relationships, or the abundance we already have. This produces the opportunity for the best thinking, actions, and results to emerge. Focus on all that we’re grateful for, communicate it, and open ourselves to the best possible outcomes.
These time-tested strategies have helped me through periods of hardship before, not only in my business and entrepreneurial journey as a single mother of three but with my clients’ businesses as well. It’s understandable that people and businesses feel worried when uncertainty prevails. As with all things, this too shall pass, and by applying these principles we will come out on the other end further ahead than we ever thought possible.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss your business in more detail, I invite you to schedule time on my calendar here.