Six weeks. What have you missed out on so far?
It’s so easy to dwell on all the things we should be doing.
I saw a meme recently that said something to the effect of –
The biggest waste of money I’ve had so far was the 2020 planner
And, it’s true. For most of us, we are on week six of life as we planned it coming to a halt. We essentially ended the first quarter of the year with a jarring halt and started the 2nd quarter with no game plan. It’s really hard to plan when we don’t know the end result.
In business, I’ve always been taught to plan with the end in mind. So, you envision the result and then plan backward. This plan guides your actions and decisions so that each one leads to the end result you envisioned. I know this process works, I’ve used it for many years.
The difficulty with this COVID-19 crisis is the timeline – it’s hard to plan ahead when we don’t know when the end date will be. And yet, we don’t want to fall so far behind that we can’t get caught up when the shelter in place orders are lifted.
So what do we do?
We keep moving forward, we keep doing the things we CAN do knowing that there will be an end date at some point. We plan to make adjustments at “halftime” which will be at the end of June. The 3rd quarter of the year starts July 1st.
We don’t just throw in the towel and give up on all the hopes and dreams we had at the beginning of this year. We make adjustments to our game plan and keep playing through, we do our best and we don’t give up.
My #1 dream at the beginning of this year (and every other year since 1992) is “Meet Elton John”. So far, due to COVID-19, I’ve missed FIVE opportunities ( concerts ) to pursue this dream. I anticipate that the two concerts I plan to attend at the end of May will be postponed as well.
This is a setback for sure, but it doesn’t mean I give up. It means that I checked the tour schedule to see what other concerts are happening this summer and made a note on my calendar. I won’t buy tickets for now, but I can make that adjustment once it is safe to travel.
I had listed goals for 2020 for my business, too. Every single one is on hold for now. But that doesn’t mean I close my business – and honestly, it’s not that I haven’t considered it. I’ve lost thousands of dollars of income between both of my businesses (coaching and dogsitting) in the last six weeks. And, with each passing week, I lose more income. It would be easy to just close the business and be done. But, that’s not what I do.
I don’t just quit when things get hard. At this point in my life, I’m old enough to know better.
But, I have also learned that I take a minute (or a few hours or a few days) and deal with the mindset and emotional stuff and figure out how to run my business differently. It means that I adapt my business to fit the current situation of shelter in place – because I can.
100% of my coaching calls are now over the phone. Workshops and speaking engagements are on hold, but not canceled. And, I’ve added three Facebook Live videos – Coffee with Coach on Monday (Minimalism Monday), Wednesday (open discussion) and Friday (Finance Friday) morning at 8 am EST on my Facebook page, Melissa the Coach. These live videos are offered for free with a link to make a donation if you’d like. There’s always a topic and time for Q&A.
Ultimately, in my business, I am here to serve. The very soul of my business is helping. Helping people is my purpose.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to continue to do because I know what it feels like to need help and not know where to go to get it. I know the feeling of being so overwhelmed that I didn’t even know where to begin or how to take that first step. I know what it feels like to just need one bit of information to help me figure something out.
My dream to meet Elton has been put on hold, but not canceled. The goals I had for my business are put on hold, but not canceled. I’m not happy about these things but I’m ok with it because I have HOPE.
We are in a season of new beginnings, a season of growth and renewal. All around us, nature reminds us of that. Nature is teaching us that while everything in our world seems to be in chaos, some things remain the same.
However… it’s in the day-to-day that I struggle. Six weeks into shelter in place and I’m bored with the mundane, day to day routine. My days are not boring – the boys and I have settled into a routine and schedule and managed to fill our waking hours with work, play, quiet time and outside time. But, I’m bored in the sense that there are only a handful of things that we can do and I’m tired of always doing those things.
I long to do different things. I need to be around different people.
I really miss my social groups. The boys miss school and their friends. I thrive on the energy of other people, different groups of people and I miss that. Zoom and Facebook LIVE are great, but they are not the same.
And, it’s easy to get stuck in this mindset, right? It’s easy to fall back into the early stages of grief that we experienced during weeks 1 and 2 ( maybe longer ) but we can’t give this virus that power. We cannot let this situation overtake our mental space as it has taken over our physical space.
We have TWO choices: Repetitive complaining or repeated gratitude.
Once we decided that we are choosing GRATITUDE, we also have to decide where we want to be in our mindset. This diagram has been circling around Facebook recently:
It’s easy to fall back into the early stages of grief that we experienced during weeks 1 and 2 (maybe longer) but we can’t give this virus that power. It’s easy to get stuck in the “fear zone”.
We are six weeks into this – we cannot let this situation overtake our mental space as it has taken over our physical space. We have two choices: repetitive complaining or repeated gratitude. We must choose wisely so that all the work we are doing physically to defeat this virus, flatten the curve, etc. does not totally upend our lives because we did not also work on our mental space – our mindset, our emotions, out thought processes. We need to be just as mentally ready to resume our lives once the shelter in place orders are lifted as we would be physically to go back to being our social selves. “
For me, that means keeping my focus on the promises of God. Because, in my faith journey, I have learned that these promises are just as true today as they were for the generations of people that have come before us.
His promises were true when I was scared and afraid, after 9/11 when I sent my husband of four months off to war.
His promises were true during every other difficult thing I’ve faced in my life since then. True then, true now.
“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and give you hope” Jeremiah 29:11
It means I’ve used the “snooze for 30 days” feature on Facebook and I’ve unfriended and/or blocked people on social media. It means that every day, I choose which thoughts to believe and which thoughts to get rid of.
It means that every moment of every day I CHOOSE to make my emotions and mental health a priority and I read and listen to or watch things that are HELPFUL to that end, not things that will send me into a negative mindset.
It does not mean that I don’t have bad moments or bad days. It means that I recognize that this is ok, it’s part of the process but I don’t let one bad day lead to another and another. It means I recognize when I am having a bad day and take the steps to correct it. For me, it means I hyper-focus on the promises of God. I turn to FAITH, not fear.
“Be Still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
One phrase that has repeatedy come to mind since this crisis started was,
“Calm down”. And then, I think… don’t panic.
When we make decisions out of fear and panic we will almost always regret those decisions. I get it – it’s NOT easy to remain calm in this times and I’ve had my days where I have absolutely lost it. I hate the feeling of being out of control of circumstances and especially, not knowing when this will end.
But, I know that I know that God knows. And, I whenever I choose to graitude over complaining, faith over fear and just take the time to indeed, calm down, I start over with a new day and a new focus.
Maybe we have to deal with restrictions for six more weeks. Ugh, just the thought of it makes me want to go into hibernation or something until this is over. I’ve already missed out on so many things over these last six weeks. And yet, there are so many things I have experienced. There are new skills I’ve learned, new mindsets formed and most importantly, more resolve to not give in, to not quit. To focus, instead on the HOPE and the better days that are to come.
Because, I know those days are coming. #faithoverfear