By default, you’ve become the C.E.O. of your household, your kids’ schooling, a new remote work life, foraging for toilet paper and hand sanitizer and whatever else that may currently have fallen into your lap. Welcome to entrepreneurial life; where you’ve got to take charge of something you may know nothing about or may not want to handle… but at the same time you have an opportunity to create something special. This Covid-19 pandemic has thrust us all into a new leadership position that won’t have ROI for a while. We’re at the start up phase of this new normal. Like entrepreneurship, you’ll work hard and hope it all pays off later.
My background: I took an idea for a beauty product (Moisture Jamzz Gloves circa 1993) and turned it into a successful business selling to mass retail chains like Bed, Bath & Beyond, H2O PLUS, Bath & Body Works, Crabtree & Evelyn,QVC and the like…I was a broadcast journalism major and didn’t know the difference between wholesale and retail when I began. But I learned on the fly. I listened, watch others’ journey and asked a lot of questions. I figured it out. I began to enjoy the daily rollercoaster ride of uncertainty that is a big part of entrepreneurial life.
These 5 lessons learned over 25 yrs. as an entrepreneur are coming in handy today for pandemic life:
- Be Self Aware and Mindful In Small Moments: This is the difference between being a C.E.O (Chief Executive officer) and what I call being a C.E.Om; taking charge mindfully. “Om” is a yoga term that connotes a feeling of calm. Taking charge mindfully is key in this pandemic time. We need to do what’s best for the greater good. For those new to the idea of being self-aware and mindful it can begin with deciding that you’re willing to try to create this new mindset. Start with just three deep breaths and the intention of going inward for some self-reflection. Close your eyes and take a long, slow deep inhale through your nose. Exhale through your nose or mouth. Repeat 3x. Then just sit for a minute and notice how you tapped into your inner self. Once you’re in–tell yourself that you are calm, grounded and ready to figure this new situation out. Finding your inner strength is where it all begins Breath is the catalyst for getting there. It’s science. You can manifest any energy that you need (calm, patience, compassion, clarity, creativity, positive mindset) with a variety of mindful BREATH tools …in small moments. You can pair the power of the mind with the power of the breath for fast transformation of thoughts and energy. Breath is the most under utilized tool for wellness. It’s free. Sustainable. Available 24/7. Done in small moments. Anywhere.
- Create Your Own Eco-System that makes you thrive now and long term. You are the C.E.Om; you can organize your pandemic life as you’d like it. Take charge mindfully. Set up physical space (s) that feel both calm and empowering. Begin to make lists of priorities, groceries, supplies, caregiving, schedules etc. As decisions need to be made, make them from that place of clarity that you can access with breath/mindfulness. Keep your lists going. Communicate with your “team. ” Understand that we are in very uncertain times but feeling grounded and empowered within your own HQ is key to knowing that you’ll access resources and get through the obstacles. Delegate what you can to those living with you and everything else, you’ll figure out.
- We’ve got technology! Whew! When I launched in 1993 we didn’t have this tech centric lifestyle. I had to pound the pavement and pick up the phone for everything. What a relief and blessing that today as we self-quarantine we can order supplies online, keep updated on news/information, work (if you’re lucky to have a job that can be done via tech), and connect with family, friends, school, colleagues etc. This is one huge benefit that other historic emergency situations did not have.
- Adapt an Entrepreneurial Mindset: Be optimistic. Trust me, it matters! If you’re constantly thinking “I’m terrified!,” your body will be stressed in a chronic “fight or flight” mode and your immunity lowers. Optimism, on the other hand makes you feel hopeful and boosts immunity because you’re believing that you’re ok. Be solution oriented. Problems arise–it’s ok, you’ve got tech at your fingertips and you’ll find resources. Be open minded. Listen to what’s happening with anticipation of hearing another perspective and possibly see something in a new/different way. “Perspective shifts will unlock more than smartness will.” -Dr. Astro Teller CEO/ Google X Be persistent. Know that it may take a few attempts before you find the right match/solution. Every “no,” gets you closer to a (better fitting) “yes.”
- Stay Agile & Pivot When Necessary: Agility is key in entrepreneurial life. It’s hard for big corporate brands to be agile–so much bureaucracy in order for changes to be made. But as a C.E.Om, you can change anything at anytime. A process may typically be done in a certain way but when it’s no longer fully effective, having agility to shift and pivot on a dime is where innovation happens.
This new normal isn’t something any of us wanted (or could have ever imagined possible) but the eternal optimist in me is hoping that we can all become “C.E.Oms” of our households and develop new habits that will enhance our lives once we’re out and about again. Human connection will mean more. We’ll understand more about being still, present and resilient. Simple pleasures will be more appreciated. We may consume less. We may share more. Priorities may shift. We may feel more creative. We’ll be more mindful, compassionate and we’ll breathe much easier. Eventually, you may even be able to give yourself a raise… or pivot on to something that you otherwise wouldn’t have had time to explore.