WRITTEN BY: Melinda Wittstock
I’ve been sheltering in place now for 19 days. Everything is different, yet for entrepreneurs like me who mostly work from home, it is eerily the same.
It does feel a bit weird to not to be on my way to my next adventure in that busy business travel calendar I had for this year – and like many I’m grappling with the cancellation of all those speaking gigs and conferences where I had planned to demo and exhibit my new socially-interactive mobile podcasting network Podopolo™ as a sponsor.
And yet, I’ve learned you can still be closer to people than ever before.
1. Practice “physical distancing” not “social distancing”.
We can use this time of isolation to connect deeper with our customers, team members, family, and friends. I spent two hours Saturday at an international yoga and dance party with 2,500 people on Zoom. I organized a mass meditation on Zoom for the women in my “Wings of The Empowered Woman” tribe. And in my Unicorn Club, we’re having a virtual cocktail party with “quarantinis.” I’ve been connecting and collaborating with lots of inspiring people on social media and text. Make use of this extra time to check-in with people you’ve been meaning to catch up with … for months!
2. It’s okay to have fears.
We all have them, and it’s important to feel and accept them so we can move beyond them. I fear being an asymptomatic carrier and making others ill. I have fears too of my 95-year-old mom dying in her Toronto nursing home without me being able to get to her. And I have fears borne of the growing financial crisis and the implications of a delayed close on my current funding round. These are very real fears, and it is okay to acknowledge that this is an uncertain and scary time for all.
It’s important, though, not to let the uncertainty freeze us in paralysis. For entrepreneurs, this is an opportunity to go into massive, inspired action, whether making a fast pivot to maintain or seize market share, or creating a new product or service your customers need most from you, right now.
3. Channel those fears to look inward.
The Coronavirus is a massive wakeup call to all of us. Have you noticed how it is shining a very bright light on all the ways our institutions are broken? The inequities and fault-lines of our society? Have you noticed how some people are shining as “lighthouse” leaders while others fail the test of history?
You might have also noticed the air is fresher, the sky is brighter, and we may inadvertently solving climate change with all those flights cancelled, cruise ships moored, and cars in the garage.
It’s a great time to slow down a bit and look inward – consider it a sabbatical – and reevaluate “business as usual”. What do you want to change? What do you want to keep? We have essentially been given the gift of time – use it wisely to reflect.
4. Leaders are born in times of crisis – and so are great businesses.
Adversity sparks innovation. I know from the ups and downs of my own entrepreneurial career, building 4 successful businesses that I have learned the most when times have been tough. Many of the best businesses and most impactful game-changing missions were built in recessions, depressions, wars, natural disasters, or yes, pandemics.
One of my companies, Capitol News Connection, doubled in audience and radio-TV stations served during the 2008 financial meltdown. Going back a few centuries, Isaac Newton took time during the Plague in 1665 to notice an apple falling from a tree – and discovered GRAVITY. The gravity of this situation demands inspired action.
If you’ve been delaying a project – perhaps your book, your podcast, your online course – now is the perfect time as you hunker down to escalate all those “mananas”. It’s time to think like an investor – and invest in your own next product, service, or way you will add value.
A slowdown doesn’t have to be a meltdown. Sometimes it’s the time to double-down. Let’s use this time to find inner alignment, purpose, strength, and focus on where we can provide the most value right now.
Melinda Wittstock is a 5-time serial entrepreneur, host of ‘Wings of Inspired Business’ podcast featuring women entrepreneurs who’ve “been there, built that” and named #8 of the top 20 business podcasts by Entrepreneur Magazine, and the founder of Podopolo™ – the first-ever dynamic, interactive podcast network where communities connect around valuable content and win rewards for putting lessons into action to enhance lives and change the world. She also helps entrepreneurs engage communities and attract customers by launching magnetic and profitable podcasts. Connect with Melinda at MelindaWittstock.com, Instagram @MelindaWittstock2020, or LinkedIn in/MelindaWittstock or learn about her podcast intensives