03.22.20

#InThisTogether: A business builder’s guide to managing uncertainty

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC
Photo by Shutterstock

Life is on hold for much of the world as we grapple with the implications of the COVID-19. This destructive, insidious and silent killer has caused our once thriving stock market, economy and high quality of life to come to a screeching halt. Anxiety is high. Many don’t know if we can flatten the curve. Indeed, it’s a dire situation, and I don’t want to minimize the emotional turmoil, the tremendous loss of life, the loss of community, and the loss of connections caused by social isolation and this disease.

Still, in the face of more questions than answers, we can do what we can as a business community (beyond social distancing and common-sense handwashing) to try to manage our physical health, emotions, and encourage/support each other at the same time.

Here are a few ways to do just that.

Embrace rituals.

Even if your routine is off, maybe because of telecommuting, the kids being home from school, and other distractions, you may find comfort in turning to a routine. A morning practice, like reading, meditation, or working out, can help create some semblance of order when life seems to change by the hour. Forming and building disciplined habits is key to having rhythm and balance in your life. I gain a lot of my daily rhythm and discipline through my work to master key concepts in Brian Johnson’s Optimize mastery program.

Make space for rejuvenation & action. 

Sometimes the greatest gift is newfound time and space. If the pace of work has slowed down (or come to a halt), try to find solace in the fact that work and rest should be a yin and yang relationship. Catch up on sleep and unplug on the media to the extent you can. Meditation, yoga, controlled breathing or other mindfulness activities can provide some peace of mind and relaxation for you during this overwhelming time so that anxiety, fear, panic doesn’t overcome you. I have resumed listening to books on tape because I am overwhelmed daily at what I listen to on the radio, see on the web, or watch on tv. Today, I started listening to one of my favorite books from long ago 7 Habits to get back to basics and to focus on something I control – my own behavior and actions. Paralysis and inaction will only serve to rob you of a better life worth living – the choice is ours.

Let ideas flow.

Similar to above, more downtime can mean more space for brainstorming and get out of old thought patterns that may be holding us back. Too often, we’re too busy to sit and think about new ways of doing things that it’s detriment to growth. So allow your mind to wander and look for various new ways to connect dots. You just might come up with a great idea!

Up the ante on the appreciation. 

Expressing gratitude and showing empathy to valued customers, employees, partners, and suppliers are good for business, especially in volatile and uncertain times when people’s lives are being turned upside down. Paying it forward offers dividends. These dividends include opening up to more and better connections and relationships, improves physical and psychological health, well-being, and happiness.

Uncertain times have many people on edge. While we can’t predict the future, we can make our mental and physical well being a priority. What are your coping mechanisms, and how are you navigating these uncharted waters as we prepare for a new normal?

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