It isn’t difficult to find reasons to be down about the year 2020. Between political battles, the global Covid-19 pandemic, the protesting and rioting that has taken place in major US cities, and a polarizing upcoming election, there are a lot of justifications for anxiety right now!
And yet, it is in the presence of hardship that we grow strong and overcome. In fact, without challenge and trial, we become mentally unengaged and weak. All leaders rise out of struggle - and this year has provided ample opportunity to overcome, lead, and move forward. Yes it’s difficult - but that’s the beauty of it. The struggle is where the opportunity lies.
So how can you stay positive regardless of the struggles that have plagued 2020?
1. Look at the opportunities
I’ve been saying this since the beginning of Covid-19! It’s true that there were some very real challenges posed to business owners in particular during the lockdowns that resulted from Covid-19. However, those challenges also posed some unique opportunities as well!
The sudden change that Covid19 brought to our society and culture forced us to think outside the box - and to do it quickly!
Some businesses decided to take their business virtual in ways that they never would have imagined before! Some that found themselves with a lot of temporary time on their hands used their quarantine time to reconnect with clients and prospects. The fact that we were all in lockdown provided a unique opportunity for connection and relationship building despite being separated. Who would have thought?
What opportunities exist within YOUR business and industry? Can you expand your social media presence? Move more of your business to a virtual platform? Connect clients on Zoom? Host virtual events?
There are many opportunities available - go get them!
2. Know that this cannot last forever
We are several months into all of the changes that have rocked our nation and our world. But keep in mind that this cannot - and will not - last forever. The generations that preceded us endured countless more hardships that we are currently facing, and they did it with courage and determination. We can do the same!
In the meantime, plan for the future! The months and years ahead of us are full of promise and opportunity - that’s a pretty good reason to be positive!
3. Evaluate where you are right NOW in your business
It’s easy to say, “Be positive,” grit your teeth, and force a smile. But it would be a fake smile. This doesn’t benefit anyone -- especially you. It’s okay to express your challenges and frustrations. Indeed, it’s the only way to really work your way through them!
It’s okay to say your numbers are down, you’ve lost a couple of clients, or your business has taken a hit. We need to be real about where we are currently in order to move ahead! So evaluate what your business looks like RIGHT NOW. Where do your numbers sit? Are you still able to make appointments? Has your target market shifted a little bit? Do you need to add Covid-19 restrictions to your business?
How can this possibly be a necessary step toward being positive? For some it seems like a good way to get depressed! But here is the key: Once you know where you are, you can make a plan to get ahead.
You cannot double your sales if you don’t know what you are doubling, so evaluate your business and make a plan! Once you have a plan, you’ll be positive about moving forward!
4. Connect with others
Covid-19 and the resulting shutdowns made it abundantly clear to all Americans just how much we need human connection. Some of you may live in states that are still locked down, and others are in states that have gone through various stages of reopening. Wherever you are, reconnecting with people is a pretty good way to stay optimistic about the future.
Reach out to your favorite clients for a personal - not business - chat. Spend some time fostering that relationship. Get to know your neighbors if you haven’t already.
When we reconnect with others around us, we experience a sense of validation. Isolation - which we’ve all been experiencing for several months - has been rough on our mental health as well as our businesses. If you need a pick me up, pick up the phone and connect with someone.
5. Reach out with an act of kindness
It sounds cliche but it’s no less true. There are plenty of people right now that could use a helping hand. Do you know of another local business that is struggling? Reach out to them and see if you can patronize their business. Connect with them. Serve them. It’s really hard to see your own struggles when you’re choosing to help someone else out with theirs.
This year will come to an end soon enough. What are you going to have to say about what you did with this time?