In the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of work on my own business. It’s not unusual, right? Many of us are peering into our personal crystal balls to interpret what we are seeing and feeling around us so that as we continue coming out of the pandemic, we will know what we should be doing to serve our customers. What does that mean?

For me it has meant changing my business model to deliver support and knowledge on a new, online platform. It has meant doing research to find out what people need right now and how they like to learn. It has meant making the most out of this period of suspension to tear down and build up.

It has also meant encouraging people to reach out and share what is going on. Talking is therapeutic. And several heads are better than one.

I’ve watched as my email and cell have filled up with people reaching out for a sounding board, or advice, or just plain help… to shore up confidence, to change direction, to understand. In our Start Up and Grow Your Business Facebook group, I have noticed activity in different areas. Some folks engage if we can find an area of common interest (puppies are still good). Some are up for connecting and some are a little sporadic. That seems to be a theme. When life is inconsistent, and you are unable to predict the course of events…. sporadic enthusiasm seems the way to go.

I’ve reached a few conclusions. Nothing mind blowing… but sometimes we have to go back to basics.

This has been an experience we will all remember. Sometimes as a creator and writer, I have to reach for inspiration but this topic will provide lots of fodder for the future I think.

It doesn’t feel like we’re achieving much sometimes When anxiety is widespread among your colleagues – and even when it rears its head sporadically in the (usually) non-anxious among us, we need to remember that we are carrying on, and under a larger load. Adding hours, and hours and hours with our children, filtering through facts and theories about… everything, trying to maintain space in our heads for calm, losing things… income, businesses, jobs, confidence, the normal distractions; gaining things (wanted and unwanted)… too much time, too much weight, too much family, too much thinking.

Many of us are feeling we have so much we should be doing (or we’re actually doing so much). Perhaps not quite Atlas with the world on our shoulders – but it can fee like it. There are two possible mindset outcomes: self-criticism (I should be doing more) or compassion (I am doing what I can do). Too often, as women, we are too familiar with the judgment of perfection – or not good enough – take your pick

Roller Coaster

Many of us are looking at the potential of an economic downturn (and perhaps wondering how we might move ahead… another obstacle in our path, maybe. How do we prepare? Already some people are putting off larger purchases… just in case. We may be buying small things but we do have more expense around food, gas and others. I’ve been describing it as consumers holding their collective breath. Let us not forget that the experts (several bank economists) are not affirming a recession – perhaps limited growth.

So we continue our efforts to unravel demand among our clients.

I believe we need to keep reminding ourselves that this extended crisis will end at some point. We’ll tell each other and our children how the world turned upside down. How priorities have changed. How we’ve had to go back to the drawing board several times to work out what we can do with our businesses and our lives. I felt a change in the level of hopefulness several times last year. We had adjusted to learning and being online, being separated for the most part… and then a third wave began to lighten as prices began to rise. Confidence in knowing when the end would come was suspended – and behaviour changed again. So now what?

Back to the drawing board? Stay tuned.

Patricia Dent
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