Things have changed a lot in the last couple of weeks for everyone around the world and so today’s blog is on moving forward during upheaval, and how we can find a new normal.
I’m writing this post from a place of upheaval myself. These are the strategies I’ve put in place to find my new normal. Before we get into the 12 strategies, I’ll quickly outline my recent upheaval.
Three weeks ago, I went to work, to my day job as a professor of marketing at a university in the United States. I was expecting a very normal day, but every day since, the situation has constantly been evolving.
Right now, I am sitting in my parent’s house in Australia. I had to pack up my life of six years in the United States with no warning, selling everything, checking my son out of daycare, clearing out my office, being on hold with the airline for hours and hours trying to get new flights home before the borders to my country closed. In the end, after getting up at 3am to call and an hour and a half on hold, I got through and had new flights home.
During those days there was so much stress and worry… “Can I transit through New Zealand?… Am I going to be able to drive across state lines in the United States?… Am I able to do that in Australia?” All while transitioning my job teaching 150+ university students to completely online.
So for a few weeks it has been just about surviving. Trying to survive having a full time job in a completely opposite timezone. A jet lagged toddler – who was waking up before 2 am for a week when I needed to be up at 4 am to teach my students in the USA. Setting up a new life in a country that I haven’t lived in for six years, but at the same time, that country is completely shut down so nothing is open and every phone call takes 1+ hours on hold.
So, craziness, right? Among all of that, I had a little accident, and one of my teeth fell out, so I have a missing tooth right now… I can’t get that fixed until I’m out of quarantine. That seems like enough to handle right… but nope, I also had to take my son to get tested for COVID-19 and we’re still waiting back for the results of that. So when I say to you that my life was a little bit crazy the last few weeks, I’m not exaggerating. I know that a lot of people are going through a lot worse, but I’m in that really tough space that so many of us are right now, where life is not so crazy that you can’t continue on, but it’s also not easy.
So how do we move forward in this upheaval when dealing with so much? No matter what is going on in your life right now (and I know that something is). How can we go forward? Here are 12 ways to find your new normal.
1. Ask yourself if you really want this?
The very first thing that I recommend, and this is something that I spent a little bit of time on myself these last weeks, is to ask yourself, “Do you really want this?”
It’s really easy to give up. It’s acceptable to give up. It’s okay to not want it. It’s okay to stop your business. But it should be your decision based on what you want. It’s perfectly fine to move on from this business idea with no guilt if right now you no longer want to continue. But, if you really, really want something then you can work through everything that you need to work through.
In the midst of all the craziness in my life I am starting a giftware company. I could have so easily waited until later or pushed the idea aside. But, when I really thought about it. It is exactly what I want to do. So I am getting up at 4 am. I am putting in the time when my son naps. I am not wasting more than a few seconds (okay minutes every now and then) because I really, really want this. That’s not to say it isn’t bloody hard and that I won’t regret my choices more than a few times, or that I won’t dream of all the freetime I could have if I didn’t. But, the knowledge that I have chosen this and I have consciously decided that I want it – that helps in the tough times.
2. Accept the chaos.
The second thing, accept the chaos and to stop fighting it. This is really hard for me to do. I’m type A, I like structure. I like plans and I like things to be organized. Leaving a country with a couple of days notice, packing up my whole life, was something that is so far from anything that I would ever do. I would have that all planned out with a six or twelve month plan, of how it was going to happen.
So I’ve been working on just accepting the chaos, going with the flow, accepting that things are going to be crazy, things aren’t going to be ideal.
Of course, I’m telling you this more as an idea, something to aspire to, rather than telling you this is something that I have been able to do myself 100% of the time in the last couple of weeks, and in the weeks to come as things continue to evolve and change. However, even just accepting the chaos a tiny bit has helped me, hence me including it in this list.
3. Take action
The third concept to move forward during upheaval is to take action, because it does make you feel better. Especially during the times when I was trying to pack up my life, I felt like I was really behind in my business, that I hadn’t done all the things that I needed to do. But as soon as I could just take even the smallest action, the smallest little thing, it made me feel so much better about what I was doing and achieving. Despite all the chaos in my life, there I was moving my businesses forward. I kept meeting with my business partner. I moved forward and took action in all my businesses.
4. Remember your why
The fourth concept to help you move forward is to remember your why, why you’re doing this. For us ecopreneurs, it’s bigger than just being able to make a profit. It’s bigger than having income and having stability in our lives. It’s about making that change we wish to see in the world.
Remembering our why can keep us motivated to continue on. Me thinking about all of you, going through these really tough times right now, that motivates me to continue to write my blog, do my Facebook live in the ecopreneur community and continue to help and serve all of you. When I think about how my products are going to transform lives and (hopefully) society at large, I am motivated to keep going with my product launch.
5. Focus on what’s important to you
Number 5! Upheaval forces us to focus on what’s important. This has been really eye opening to me. It has shown me that there are so many things that I was doing in my business that weren’t always necessarily moving me forward. I think of this as our ‘minimal viable tasks’, the things that you have to do in your business to keep moving forward.
The craziness of the last few weeks highlighted what those were. One of the things that I didn’t do in the last couple of weeks was write blog posts. I knew that while important for my business, if I missed a few nobody would miss them and it wouldn’t have a long term negative effect on my organic traffic. It was something that even if I missed two weeks, my business wasn’t going to completely fall apart. So, I scratched it. I only worked on what was really, really important. I engaged with my followers. I used pre-batched content to scheduled videos so I could keep having those constant videos every Tuesday and every Thursday. So during the most intense upheaval my businesses were continuing to operate.
6. Choose your attitude
Number six is choose your attitude. There’s a lot of research out there that talks about how your attitude is the biggest predictor of success and it is actually a better predictor than IQ or knowledge.
If you have the right attitude. If you believe in yourself and you believe that this is an opportunity, and that you take all the good and mitigate all of the negatives, then you are going to have a much greater chance of success than someone who has a bad attitude no matter how smart they are, no matter how many resources that they have, connections, none of that is as beneficial as having the right attitude.
This is not about being happy all the time or being positive every single second. It’s absolutely okay to feel down about your situation, to feel overwhelmed, to feel stretched thin at times because we are all human. This concept is about your overarching attitude not your mood.
7. Ask for help
Number seven is to ask for help. That help may differ depending on what’s currently happening in your life, what is going on. I am very happy to help you in any way that I can with your business. If you send me a direct message, if you have a specific type of training that you’d like me to do, I’m happy to create those lives in the Facebook group.
It might also be a great time to outsource some of your tasks. I’ve recently set up an eco service directory that includes VAs, social media managers, and graphic designers that can take the load off you during this time. Check out the eco service directory here.
But also think about asking for help in your life. A lot of us are working from home, we have children at home, we’ve got lots of other responsibilities. So we all need help in different areas of our life. I am currently in isolation and therefore I have reached out to people that I know who live in my local area so they can get me groceries and drop it by my mailbox. My son was unwell for the first week of isolation, so asking people if they could get medicine for him. Now more than ever people want to help but they also don’t know how to help. So reach out and ask.
8. Be flexible
Number eight is to be flexible. To move forward we have to be flexible. Not being quite as strict on needing things to be done exactly when we thought. Me as a type A, my plans are all being jumbled up right now. Long term plans that just can’t happen. I’m changing things up. I’m trying different ways of working. I’m connecting with people in different ways, and creating my content in different ways. I’m also being flexible with my product launch and thinking about whether now is the right time and how we can make changes and do things that are a little bit different for our business.
9. Lower your expectations
Number nine, this is another big one for me, lower your expectations. Most of my clients and eco minded entrepreneurs I’ve chatted with have extremely high expectations of themselves, about what their business should be, and the type of content they should be creating and the success that they should be having.
Sometimes we do need to lower our expectations. It’s okay to not write a blog post this week. It’s okay to make mistakes, to forget what day of the week it is and not post something. It’s okay as long as those things, you’re conscious about it and you’re being intentional about it.
10. Be grateful
Number 10 is to be grateful. For each of us, there are different things within our life that we can be grateful for. Maybe it’s the people that you are surrounded with, the help that you have. It could be as simple as having people to miss.
See if you can find things that you can be grateful for. Yes, this is a tough time, but we are lucky in where we currently are. We have our health and we have our friends and family.
11. Focus on your priorities (be intentional)
Number 11, is to focus on your priorities. Making sure that you are doing the things that you need to do and being intentional. This one’s more about being intentional than being about priorities because you need to first think about what it is that you want to be doing. And then being intentional and putting those into place.
When we’re working from home, when we have a lot of things on our plate, it’s very easy for us to kind of be in a scramble and to “Oh, I’m just gonna quickly post on social media.” and “Oh, I need to ship those products out.” or “I need to check my website.” Or “I need to make a decision on if I’m going to continue to sell my product.” Task switching is extremely counterproductive and when we have limited time it just causes more stress.
I’ve talked about this before as I’m a big believer in mitigating out task switching and being intentional in whatever we’re doing. For me for example, that means in the afternoons, I am not doing any business work, I am not working in my day job, which I do really early in the morning, and I am intentionally present with my son. I don’t want him to feel like I’m always on my computer, that I’m always on my phone, that I’m always distracted thinking about my businesses. So I have set times in the day where I’m intentionally taking time out from the craziness of everything that’s going on. I have time when I am intentionally moving forward with my business. Time when I’m intentional with my family and (a lot less) time when I’m intentionally having downtime and relaxing.
12. Focus on your positives
The last one is to focus on the positives and think about decisions that you’ve made that have led to where you are. Focus on the fact that you want to not to get fired from your job because your job is your business, and you can build it and continue to grow it during this time.
Thinking about the positives in your life is going to just shift your mindset from being in upheaval to being much more positive.
Alrighty, so 12 different ways to move forward during upheaval, and how to find that new normal. I look forward to seeing your business continue to grow and soon again be thriving. Let me know in the comments below if you are going to try any of these ways to reduce the overwhelm and help you find a new normal.