Top 3 Things to Keep Your Sanity During the Downturn
Put One Foot In Front of the Other
You had successfully steered your career or company into just the direction you were aiming for, things were looking great and now this, another economic disaster that is out of your control and not of your making. It is all too easy to despair and feel like there is no horizon or light at the end of the tunnel, and in some respects, there isn’t! We don’t know how long the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia will last, and we don’t know how long Coronavirus will continue to damage the world. It’s easy to walk towards the end of the tunnel when you can see the light, but what do you do when it’s total darkness? You can’t go back, the only way to go is forward. When I found myself in the situation and in 2016 a critical piece of advice that got me moving was “just put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.” If you are an avid Disney fan the appropriate alternative advice is “just keep swimming.”
Invest in and Take Care of Yourself
It is far too easy in business or your career when things go truly sideways to focus on nothing but there very here and now, do only the things that make money and nothing else. It’s just as important to keep investing in yourself now as it was when times were better. For your career that might mean learning a new technical or leadership skill. For a business that might mean training or coaching your people, investing in your processes or even investing into a new product or technology. Those that can keep a level head and not allow emotions or panic to dictate their actions will come out far ahead of those who will make very short-sighted decisions. Above all else you must also take care of yourself. Personally, this definitely means having regular exercise, having a hobby and spending time with your family. For a business this means encouraging your employees to read, recognizing employee achievements or taking extra time to communicate with your employees through uncertain times.
Plan for the Future
This may not be the present we want but there will be a future. Time will continue to advance forever, the only question is, where will we be when it does? Reset your expectations to match the current reality and get right back to work building from here and now to the future that you envision for yourself or your organization. Take the time to write this vision out, refine it, make it crystal clear so that you and everyone around you can understand it perfectly, believe in it, and work with you to build that vision.
I have come to accept that if something is painful that generally means that I am learning and growing and getting better at what I do. There are parts of events like this which are indeed painful and unfortunate, but some good does come out of making individuals and organizations stronger through challenging and stressful times.
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