Not everything is cancelled – especially you! Though life can sometimes feel like a never-ending cycle of pressures, both internal and external, it’s only when some particularly large external pressure – such as the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis – occurs, that you even stop to think about it. Usually you just get on with it. That’s because external pressures are typically completely out of our control, whereas we can assert a measure of control over internal pressures.
Whether external or internal, pressure often generates feelings of being over-whelmed, leaving you with more questions unanswered than answered.
COVID-19, brings unprecedented levels of cancellations. Sports events, theatres and cultural events are being shut down indefinitely. Countries are closing their borders, implementing and enforcing mandatory isolation – including self-isolation. Business trips, events, projects and critical meetings are all being postponed, cancelled or moved online.
For large enterprise businesses with stockpiles of cash reserves, this is not great, but very survivable. The rest of us, the over 90% of businesses making up the majority of the market, are hurting under this level of pressure.
I offer no silver bullet, but after talking with a lot of friends who are indeed doing it tough at present, I want to say a few words of encouragement and remind us all of an essential truth…
What is not being cancelled is your creativity, your drive, nor what got you to where you are today. It may not be easy getting motivated under mountains of stress, but throughout these increasing constraints, remember you are still creative.
I always say that innovation is born out of limitations and it’s not simply a platitude. My personal life experiences include many struggles and disappointments. However, what I’ve learnt over the years is that hidden in every problem is either a blessing, or an opportunity. I’ve long understood that my own mindset is the catalyst for whether I’ll give up or move forward.
With these new restrictions, and likely more to come, how can you apply your creativity and drive to mitigating them and their effect?
What have you been too busy to do, or thought could be a good idea if only you had time?
I’m not minimising the obvious pain people are feeling, nor the seriousness of what is happening. In my direct family, I have two members with severe immune suppression, and exposure to COVID-19 would spell certain disaster.
I only seek to encourage you, to remind you that not everything is being cancelled, that you still have it, whatever ‘it’ is, and you still have great ideas.
Moving into this week, and the coming months, my encouragement is to pay more attention to what is inside your control, using your time-proven strengths to your advantage.
All too often, the biggest obstacles are not external, but internal pressures. Don’t let your internal pressures define you or prevent you from making progress.
As a final thought, we have seen a lot of people behaving in questionable ways during these tough times. Another way of overcoming a negative mindset is to look outwardly and be sure to help someone who is stuck. Bring the same energy and enthusiasm that serves your clients so well, to assisting an elderly neighbour, friend or colleague. Some of the most encouraging and life-changing events come from helping others rather than putting ourselves first.
Whatever happens next, I hope that you can move forward and not let these circumstances hold you down. Share your struggles with those closest to you and remember that community means we are all in this together, ready, willing and able to support each other.
You’re not alone and your creative drive cannot be postponed, never mind cancelled.