Extending Grace During the Time of COVID-19

Uncategorized Mar 23, 2020

I wanted to express just some encouragement for you all as we navigate the current state of our world and businesses during COVID-19. So where to even begin? I guess I’ll share my own story of the past several weeks. As you probably know, Tennessee was hit with an EF3 tornado on March 3rd in the middle of the night and it missed our neighborhood by just a couple of miles, but it devastated parts of our town. Ever since then we have been essentially quarantined  as most of our town didn’t have power for several days, traffic was insane due to traffic lights being out, and main roads being blocked by debris or power lines. Schools were closed as of March 3rd. Everything was a mess, but I continued wrapping up work with the kiddos home that week and then on the 7th we left on a spring break vacation to Florida. Then the entire world basically changed between the time we left and the time we arrived home, as you all know.  We were actually at Disney World just 5 days before they shut it down and at the time everything was pretty much business as usual with a few extra hand sanitizing stations.

It’s crazy how fast things are changing! I know everyone is freaking out about what is to come and what their business might look like in a few weeks or months, but I want to offer you these thoughts. Not to get spiritual or anything, but maybe we needed some extended time with our families and our loved ones. Maybe we need to slow down. Maybe we need to be present and not just moving from one thing to the next, one launch to the next, one client to the next. Maybe we need to be more thankful for the roof over our head or the groceries (or even toilet paper). Side note, now that grocery stores are rapidly losing stock of everything, are you also suddenly noticing that you are wanting to ration your own food? I’ve actually found myself thinking, do I want to cook that chicken breast tonight because what if we can’t get more? It’s honestly super weird to suddenly have to consider these types of things that we’ve never had to consider before.

Nevertheless, I think that we can still operate from a place of gratitude. But believe me there will be moments that I want to lock my kids out of the house for an entire day so I can get work done, or lose my mind because I feel like I haven’t been alone for days, so don’t think I’m being preachy. I know I’m going to have my share of bad thoughts and feelings about all of this and I already have had a few. I’m sad that my kids may never go back to their classrooms and teachers this year and miss out on those friendships and learning opportunities. I’m sad that the dance season might be over practically before it began, all that hard work those kids put in over months and months is essentially for nothing now. I miss my friends and going out for a drink and some laughs every week during dance parent happy hour. I miss having alone time in my house, even though the only time I’m usually alone is when I’m working. It’s tough constantly being surrounded by 4 other people all the dang time, but yet we can still be grateful for so much. Even in the few short (or more like really long) days that we’ve been officially self-isolating, here are some amazing positives:

  • We’ve eaten more meals together as a family in 3 days then we have in the past few months.
  • My kids are actually getting along better than usual because without outside friends to lean on, they only have each other to play with.
  • I’m realizing that my gifts of organization and planning things out are making me a fairly decent homeschool mom.
  • Since we’re all trying to stay off screens as much as possible, we are so much more present with each other as a family.
  • I’m learning to really slow down and take things day by day. I normally need to have every aspect of my life planned out months in advance, but I’m learning and enjoying the value in just focusing about the present.
  • I have seen SO many people in the world truly step up. From all the online educators and homeschool parents giving away lesson plans, tips, and strategies to those of us new to this homeschool world. To the dance and arts community who are leading free live classes on Instagram every single day. To the companies that are giving away tools and resources for free to make everyone’s lives easier.

So many people are lending their gifts to the world in need and it’s amazing to witness! I truly think we will look back at this time as the line in the sand. There was before the virus and there was after the virus. But maybe we needed the reset to help us get back on track with what’s truly important and what truly matters.

Now I know this is not a sunshine and rainbow situation and it can be hard to be a light in such a dark time for many. People are sick, people are dying, people are losing their jobs and not sure where their next paycheck is going to come from. There is so much uncertainty.

Many small businesses and online entrepreneurs, such as yourself, are feeling the crunch and the uncertainty as people start curbing their spending or cancelling their events. I have spent the last few days pushing back launch plans, redoing content calendars for my clients, and having lots of calls about what direction we need to go in now, or what goals and projects to adjust. It’s definitely a lot. I have been seeing this urgency in our industry like “all eyes are on social media right now - you need to be showing up, serving, leading, and doing all the things for your audience!”. While that’s important if it feels good to you, but also remember that this is so new for all of us.

We don’t really know what the exact right best course of action is because no one has ever been in this situation before. So if you don’t feel like going all in right now, don’t! Take a breather. Again use this time to reset and focus on your family if that’s what feels good to you. You don’t have to pivot overnight. Extend yourself some grace and extend some grace to your audience and extend some grace to your team if you have one.

First, the online space is being inundated with new offers and new leaders stepping up and it’s honestly a little overwhelming. So don’t contribute to the noise just because you are operating from fear and think you have to pivot, or be a leader, or offer them something, right. Only do it, if it truly feels aligned.

Next, check on your team members. Since I work as a contractor and work with a lot of contractors on the many teams that I manage, I’m seeing the pressure they are under. People are suddenly having to find a completely new normal with their schedules, with working from home while homeschooling kids at the same time, with co-working with partners. Not to mention it’s a stressful and scary time in the world and everyone needs space to process that. So just be mindful that as a Digital CEO you might be ready to put the pedal to the metal and pivot and re-launch and change all the things overnight, but your team needs more space and grace than ever right now. They might not have the bandwidth to go go go.

So extend grace to your team and make sure that everyone is making time for self care and their families and their new normal, even if that means you might not get to launch that next thing as quickly as you’d like. Or they might not be able to jump in with all hands on deck right now in your business. But still support them as best you can. Because if we don’t support our team members, and small businesses, and friends now, they might not be around for you when we recover from all this.

Everything is a cycle and we will get through this time of hardship and uncertainty. Let’s all try to extend grace wherever we can, be grateful for the things we do have, and put as much positivity and light out into the world as we can because the world sure needs it right now.

So stay safe, and stay home in isolation friends. We’ll get through this together and I’ll talk to you soon.

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