The Unexpected Has Happened, Now What?

When I pressed “publish” on this post, I was supposed to be in my hotel room, in Virginia, resting and getting ready for a presentation. It was scheduled for Monday, March 16.

On Thursday, the event was postponed.

For all of us, there are things we were planning to do, but now are not.

We operate in the context of uncertainty all the time. Yet, there are moments when we shift into hyper-uncertainty. Not only on a personal level, but on a level that affects multitudes at once. Now is such a time.

This is the rainy day we are often told to prepare for. Though I suspect even if you have the wildest of imaginations, you may not have conjured up what we are bearing witness to right now — the convergence of a pandemic along with a stock market correction. Nevertheless, here we are.

How are you doing? What are you feeling?

As I’ve shared in private conversations, I’ve been like a deer in headlights. I really acknowledged my state of being when I was doing last minute packing prep, for the speaking engagement that has since been postponed. I was on a search for travel size hand sanitizer (to no avail, of any size). The next day, I found myself waiting in line for 45-minutes (!)  to get into the Park Slope Food Coop. (To understand my bewilderment, we didn’t have lines to get into the store during the aftermath of September 11.)

Because of the events above, along with some news coverage, I felt like I missed an important memo. Not about the gravity of the coronavirus; that I took (and take) very seriously. More in the vein of why must we buy EVERYTHING right now…won’t we have time?!

In just the last five days: 

  • I’ve been on two podcasts talking about COVID-19 and its impact on small business owners. (If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner or a family member or friend of one who is, click here and here to listen to and share my conversations with Tara McMullin and Evolyn Brooks, respectively.) 
  • I had brunch with a friend whose sister’s job offer was rescinded because hiring freezes are now in effect at where she was to start tomorrow (Monday). Her last day of employment with her current job was Friday and her position has already been filled. That sucks!
  • Thankfully, the speaking engagement I mentioned above has been postponed; another has been canceled entirely. 

We are all in a state of flux as we adjust how we live, work and socialize.

We’re all trying to come to grips with some of the realities this weird moment in time has brought into stark focus. And you may be feeling not only unprepared, but bad about being unprepared.

A kind suggestion: Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you didn’t prepare too well for the rainy day that has arrived.

We’re here now. Better to redirect your energy and focus by asking questions like, “What do I need? What will I need? and “Where can I be more resourceful?”

Like you, I, too am navigating and negotiating new territory. Like you, I have many questions and more than a few concerns.

And one of the things I shared on the podcasts linked above and in some of my 1:1 conversations is that it is important, in my opinion, to be careful of this: Let’s be wary of the temptation to want to return to what was familiar and “normal.”

Because I believe the convergence of the pandemic and stock market correction has placed us on a path to a new normal.

Thus, this reflection as a question:

What if the adjustments that we are being required to make right now to how we live, work and socialize are not just for the days, weeks and months ahead? What if these adjustments become our new reality, our new normal for years to come?

Getting ready for a “new normal” is very different from waiting for things to return to what they used to be!

Here are a few things I’m doing (and reminding my clients to do, also). Pick and choose what feels right for you:

  • Acknowledge what you can’t control, but focus on what you can control.
  • Take extra care of yourself (which may or may not include giving yourself permission to occasionally binge eat your favorite snack :-/).
  • Recognize the difference between what’s a delay vs. a detour (or figure out how you’re going to handle the delay/detour if someone else is deciding which is which for you. (I’m thinking of my friend’s sister here…major detour!)
  • Be intentional about your actions so that you don’t stay in a state of shock or fear. 
  • Shorten your timeline as to what you view as long-term.

We all may be a bit on edge for a little while. But let’s remember to make room for possibilities, too. Times of duress can also be seeds of creativity.

Speaking of possibilities, I suspect you or someone close to you may be thinking about how to recalibrate and create a new financial reality — either because the need to adjust is already here, or because you foresee the need coming in the immediate weeks and months ahead.

I can’t promise to have the answers to all that you may be trying to balance right now. But I’d love to support you as best I can by hosting an open call on Wednesday, March 18.

It’s an opportunity to ask questions, exchange ideas, and share resources. It’s a chance for us to remember we’re not in this alone.

You can choose from one of two options:

Wednesday, March 18 at 12pm ET (click here to RSVP)

Wednesday, March 18 at 7pm ET (click here to RSVP)

Let’s get ready for the new normal together!

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