Let’s face it. This is hard.
We’re feeling it. You’re feeling it. Some people are dealing with actual illness and death. For the rest of us, insidious uncertainty still looms.
We use words like “unprecedented” and “difficult” and “challenging.”
We feel helpless. We feel overwhelmed. We feel guilty if we’re enjoying the slower pace too much. We feel trapped. Anxious. Lost. Worried. Maybe we’re doing okay one day and feel like we’re absolutely, positively losing it the next. And we’re expected to put in a full day’s work at home, right?
How are we supposed to do that? | This post is Part 5 of Solarity’s Covid-19 Blog series |
I don’t have all the answers. I won’t pretend to. But I am an optimistic person by nature, and I am a problem-solver, and so the way I have chosen to deal with these uncertainties with my team at Solarity is to face them head on.
Here’s how we’re doing it:
Rule #1: Take care of the Team
People are not okay.
Your employees. Your 1099s. Your colleagues. Your clients. I guarantee you that on any day, some of those folks are just not okay. And while you can’t necessarily fix it, you can be there for them.
Huddles every other day
At Solarity, we’ve started holding a short check-in meeting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:15AM. This is a Zoom call with cameras, so we can see each other’s faces. The call has very little to do with work and everything to do with taking care of one another. This is how we know if someone’s kid is struggling with nontraditional schooling and they’ve had to spread their time between work and supporting that student. If someone’s spouse got laid off and now they have to worry about getting bills paid. If someone isn’t coping well for whatever reason (or no reason at all). It’s also an opportunity to spread a little joy, share some inspiration, make someone laugh. It’s probably the most important thing that we do every week.
Overcommunicate with clients
Being remote makes it challenging to cut through a lot of the noise and stay engaged. Our customers really need us to reach out to them during this time. They need us to work to understand how they are being impacted. We call our customers more often now, not less. We are developing strategies to meet their existing and changing needs in this new environment. And since we are taking care of ourselves, we are better positioned to take care of them.
Unless you are a monk or maybe a novelist, working conditions are not ideal, but we can do the best we can with what we have, and our customers are going to appreciate that. For the Type As out there, give yourself permission to not be 100% (I know, blasphemy, right?). Realistically, you are not going to be able to do things 100%. But you are going to do what you can with a willing heart. You are going to take care of yourself and others. And it will be enough.
Rule #2: Be healthy
While it’s important to feel and share our feelings, we can’t become stuck in negativity and pessimism.
When times are tough, it’s easy to fall into the trap of complaining and whining and giving in to hopelessness and negativity. I don’t mean to be negative about negativity… but NO.
We can still be optimistic
There is a difference between positivity and optimism (Simon Sinek outlines it really well in this short video). In a nutshell, positivity is saying everything is okay when it’s not while optimism is believing that things will be better in the future. People see through positivity. It comes off as fake or dismissive or naive. Optimism shows that you believe that while things are definitely not okay right now, they are temporary. Envision a better future and expend your energy working towards it.
Focus on what you can control
It is so easy to focus on all the things that are outside of our control, but that drains our limited energy and adds to the overwhelm.
Instead of obsessing about the negative, focus on how you can help those around you who need it. Focus on what you can do, right now, with what you have.
This is optimism. We can get through this. We will get through this. Together.
Every day, it’s important for us to DO at least ONE thing each day that advances our health. No excuses here, either.
Practicing healthy behaviors helps us feel better and builds our strength: physically, mentally, emotionally.
It might be something as simple as making our bed, walking around the block, taking a quick rest after lunch to recharge our brain. It might be working out, going for a run, or spending some time talking with a trusted friend or counselor.
Just do that one thing…it makes doing the next healthy thing even easier.
Rule #3: Be Early and Productive
Yes, you need to get out of bed.
I’m not saying you have to start your day at 5:00AM even when you don’t have a morning commute, but there is merit to keeping a schedule in these times, and making sure you are ready to face the day before the kids start clamoring for second breakfast and “elevensies.”
When you are early and productive you:
- Recognize problems early on and have more time to deal with them
- Are up and ready to face the day, whatever it holds
- Are able to identify needs early on and work towards meeting those needs
- Have more time to take action and produce results
One of my favorite mantras is all of us are smarter than any one of us. I, for one, am grateful to be part of a team that wants to take care of each other, be optimistic, face things early on and work to produce results, even in hard times.