One scroll through your Instagram feed, and you’ll see dozens of people tell you what you need to do in these uncertain times. These messages are all nearly identical with a few caveats: a lot of people don’t actually know what to do, so they’re copying each other’s words.
I’ve seen many people in the past few months in a frenzy, wondering what to do next. They’re panicking about how to save their business or pay their bills. Some even began lowering their prices and doing whatever it took to stay afloat.
When the first coronavirus wave hit in March, I called my friend who was in the crisis management wing of the military, figuring he could guide me on what to do next.
“The most important thing you need to do right now is to learn how to respond, and not react,” he said. “This will be the difference between whether you thrive or wilt during this pandemic. You need to be three things: smart, strategic, and clear-headed.”
I’ve never been much of a panicky person, but simultaneously dealing with my first recession and pandemic made me nervous. I fell into the trap of reading every coronavirus-related article and allowing negativity and misinformation to flood my brain.
While a part of me kept self-reassuring that everything would be alright, another worried I wasn’t taking the situation seriously enough. Was I being too relaxed?
I frantically expressed all this to my friend over the phone. He told me that the people who thrive in life are the ones who keep their heads cool. He added that those who can keep their head cool are the ones who eventually become millionaires.
I took that advice for both my personal life and business – I actively resisted the temptation of having a knee-jerk reaction or delving into a frenzy to avoid being left behind. I needed to stay true to my why and my values.
In doing so, I realized how much energy I was wasting worrying about everything I couldn’t control – my expiring visa situation in Indonesia, how much food was in the grocery store, what governments would decide, and so forth. I decided to stop thinking about those things.
Then, I focused my attention on what I could control. Even if I had no control over what the grocery store had in stock, I could still buy whatever was available or grow my own food. I couldn’t control my clients’ stressful financial situations, but I could email them and make sure they were okay. I couldn’t control people defaulting on payments, but I could offer them an extended payment plan.
Next, I started using my free time to do something I enjoyed: writing. I’d always said I wanted to write a book on empowering women and tell their stories of how they navigated inmale driven roles and still lived fearlessly, so why not begin now? It was certainly more productive than binging Tiger King. This shift in thinking helped me approach the pandemic as a luxury in disguise, as it gave me extra down time I didn’t know I wanted. As a result, I began to look inside for answers..
While my business took a big hit in March, it was recovering by April. By May, I had one of my highest-earning months ever. Plus, I had more time to indulge in my favorite activities. Turns out, my friend was right: the biggest difference between thriving and failing came down to keeping my head cool and responding instead of reacting.
Amid this global recession, a lot of entrepreneurs are shifting into panic mode. But instead of imagining worst-case scenarios, it’s time for us all to envision unlimited opportunities. I know it’s difficult, but panic only breeds more panic as your mind instinctively finds validation – real or false – for your fears.
Meanwhile, abundant thinking could help you add another zero to your bottom line, even amid a worldwide pandemic. I’ll share how to shift your thinking (and your finances) towards success by doing the following:
Invest in yourself.
As soon as the crisis emerged, I invested $50k in hiring a COO to tighten up my operations and structures even though our revenue took a hit. I knew I’d need major support to get through this, so I doubled down on my focus instead of sinking into my fears. My thinking was… if I won’t invest in myself and my company, during these hectic times, how can I expect others to invest in me?
Investing isn’t just about money, by the way. It’s just as important to invest in your self-care, well-being, and relationships. This is the time to go back to doing what you love, evaluating what doesn’t work for you, and deciding what to keep in your life. Ask yourself key questions such as:
- How can I improve my life?
- What should I work on?
- How can I make more time for myself?
And, don’t forget to look at the big picture. Instead of being blinded by what’s going on short-term, think about what you can create for the long-term.
For example, I was just on the brink of scaling my business when the crisis hit. When clients didn’t come those first few weeks, my first thought was that people didn’t have money to hire a PR & branding agency. After conversations with my friend, mentors, and business partner, I realized there were people who needed our services that could afford it. The only reason I wasn’t attracting them was because of my fear-based attitude.
Although it may feel counterintuitive, view any challenges that pop up as an opportunity to expand and set yourself up for the future. Who will you become on the other side of this crisis? Things changed the moment I asked myself that.
My answer was this: I wanted to be strong, grounded, able to hold space for myself and my clients, and focused on the big picture. Because I showed up as a leader and invested in myself, people continued to invest in me.
Gravitate towards things you love.
In times of stress, many people restrain themselves from doing what they find fulfilling. Do the opposite. Fill your cup more than you ever have before. Invest in people and activities that benefit you in some way, not ones which waste your time. What hobbies did you give up because you were too busy working? What things have you deprived yourself of? This is the time to show up for yourself like never before.
Things are always going to hit the fan. See this as a chance to be someone who can always thrive in bad times. Create a procedure for responding to difficult situations. For me, I always go back to my “why” and my values, which bring me back to my truth and keep me focused on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
Every step of the way, make sure you ask yourself the right questions.
Panicked people often frantically ask, “What do I do?” in search of an answer to their short-term dilemma. Forward-thinking people ask questions like:
- Where do I want to end up?
- What do I need to be to get there?
- What short-term actions can I take to thrive during this time?
I asked myself these questions and found this answer: I want to have a successful and thriving business able to withstand any recession. I also want to continue transforming people’s lives and help them bring their message to the world.
Going through this process helped me realize my commitment to my mission and business. My mantra every morning was, “I will be unshakeable with my dreams and desires. Nothing will get in my way. I will be someone who will grow and thrive through any challenge and emerge stronger on the other side.”
Stating my mantra out loud, and practicing gratitude for what I had and giving back to others, transformed me. It gave me daily hope, direction, and meaning which helped my business bounce right back.
Seek out new opportunities.
Look at what is and isn’t working in your business (and your life) and consider ways you might pivot. Before the pandemic, I was about to start doing more stages and in-person workshops. Now, my entire business runs online.
Start with some self-introspection. One thing I realized is how much time I spent working on my business. When things finally slowed down, I thought, “What other important things should I do with my time?”
This self-introspection helped me realize the different areas that I wasn’t nurturing: my family fun time, personal development, recreational activities, and so forth. My career took up so much of my time that I hardly had a life outside of it.
So, I had some fun with, reconnected with old friends I hadn’t talked to in a long time, and created business partnerships with those I previously couldn’t fit into my schedule.
Too many people think they’d get more done if only they had more time or resources. This “if only” mindset keeps people stuck. They can’t achieve what they want without achieving something else first, which delays their dreams and goals.
Abundant thinking is the opposite. It allows you to use time and resources you already have. Often, you have a lot more than you realize.
Abundant thinking isn’t just about money opportunities; it’s also about reconnecting with yourself, what truly matters, and who you choose to become along the way.
Rhonda Swan CEO-of the Unstoppable Branding Agency, 2 time Best Selling Author, Is a brand and marketing strategist. She helps CEOs, executives and solopreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands, human-to-human with PR & Media.
After spending nearly a decade working in PR and marketing for fortune 100 companies & multimillion dollar brands and startups, Rhonda knows what truly drives conversions, sold-out launches and how to get her clients featured in Top Tier Publications.
Since leaving corporate America in 2004 to design life on her own terms and raise her daughter, Rhonda and her Unstoppable Family has visited 60+ countries and now lives in Bali, Indonesia while running her empire. She leads a community of 70,000+ freedom-preneurs who follow her teachings and adventures with her family.
Rhonda has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets around the world, being Featured in FORBES, Entrepreneur, INC. Success, Business Insider, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, Thrive Global, Medium & Buzz-Feed. In addition to her extensive PR and marketing experience, Rhonda is a trained business coach and holds an MBA in Business & Marketing.