The global pandemic has changed lives. It has changed business as we know it in just a matter of a few weeks. It has changed the psyche of hundreds of millions of people and has shocked us into a ‘new and somewhat uncertain normal’. Many of the outcomes of this virus have been negative, but the world-wide spread of the COVID 19 virus as propelled us forward in positive ways as well. But to see those few bright spots means you have to view the world through a different lends. It is really all about mindset and approach.
There are industries that were immediately and dramatically affected by the crisis. Food service, retail and transportation will not look the same as they did only a few month’s ago. Social Distancing, contact less transactions and new cleaning requirements will force businesses in many industries to change and sadly some will not survive. They will be unable to adapt and shift to meet the new marketplace demands.
The lock downs world-wide have plunged many economies into recession and unemployment numbers reflect a real economic winter. But at the same time, it has brought many unimaginable opportunities. Opportunities which will further change our lives for the better, in the long-term.
This crisis has thrust health, communication of disease and proper cleaning to the forefront. Doctors and health experts have lived with these truths, but most of us took them for granted. Suddenly, we are all more conscious of ways to keep ourselves healthy. The organizations that shifted and adopted new cleaning procedures, installed protocols on social distancing and tele-work, have been able to stem the tide of the economic downturn. Those who didn’t panic and planned and pivoted to address the limitations of the lock down situations, are not only standing as localities start reopening, they are more equipped and positioned to excel long after the virus fades away.
Those who have changed the way they deliver their products and expanded their online presences have found new ways to serve customers. They have likely taken customers left under-served by shuttered businesses because they choose to transform their business quickly and decisively. They found opportunity when most found and or perceived doomsday.
So, ask yourself. Do you look for what will work or do you identify only the obstacles in your way? Do you immediately go on the defense or do you pivot to an offensive mindset to overcome challenges? Do you marshal resources and galvanize others to find solutions or do you resign yourself to the inevitability of a negative outcome?
It is all about mindset and your willingness to find some sort of positive in every situation. It is not about being Chicken Little or a Pollyanna, it is about being in the moment. It is about being present and finding actionable, creative ways to address the challenges you face. You don’t ignore the difficult or negative aspects of a situation but you don’t let them stop you from moving forward.
Here are some historical examples of people who despite the obstacles choose to find the bright beam of hope and carried on…
William Shakespeare: He faced jail, the black plague, the death of an only son and the burning of his beloved theater and still wrote more than 37 plays and hundreds of sonnets that are today, some 500 years later, the gold standards in theatrical works and poetic genius.
Albert Einstein: He flunked math early in his youth and many of his teachers felt he would never be very successful. He developed the theory of relativity and changed the world through math and science theory anyway.
Helen Keller: Born deaf, dumb and blind she became a renowned author, political activist and educator and received her degree in the hallowed halls of Harvard.
The list of inventors, educators, world leaders, scientists and seemingly ordinary individuals that have shaped our world in the face of insurmountable odds is very long. It is because of their approach that turned misery, poverty, lack of formal education and other sets backs into marvelous accomplishments that have moved humankind forward. Whether they survived famine, civil war, the great depression or a world war, their resilient and persistent spirits lead them to greatness.
Today’s crisis will have its own heroes. There will be those that will make news and create groundbreaking innovation as we emerge from this pandemic. But there will be hundreds of thousands more that will make small yet meaningful change for their businesses that will impact their employees and their families in quiet ways. They are not seeing an economic crisis. They are seeing an economic transformation. They are adapting, adjusting, and reinventing. They are rethinking adversity and finding a new way to succeed. Their approach wouldn’t be news worthy or earth shattering but it will change lives.
These individuals will put pluses in their ledgers. What will you record? Will your pen’s ink be red or black? Or will you use a different ink all together and color your world in new ways, just because you choose to see the possible within the impossible situation we all face.
Brad Sugars, best-selling author, founder and CEO of ActionCOACH ponders this concept in his Driveway Time on Facebook earlier today.