Much as I hate to admit it, I cannot stop thinking or talking about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. It feels all-consuming and terrifying and filthy and confusing and surreal. So many of us are contending with a variety of emotions and anxieties that we’ve never experienced before. It’s maddening.
This morning, my pal, Jon McGraw, co-founder of Vision Pursue, an organization that seeks to dramatically improve the way people experience life by improving their mindset, published the piece that follows. It gave me some comfort – I hope it helps you to embrace a “Performance Mindset” and helps you through this unusual time.
With appreciation to Jon for his generosity and clear-sightedness, here is Vision Pursue’s advice for managing through the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Expect the Expected: The landscape is changing, and our expectations need to keep up. Here’s what we can expect in the short term:
- Concern about ourselves and our loved ones.
- Disruption at work.
- Financial pressure from stress on our employers, the stock market, and the economy.
- Difficulty in getting certain goods and services.
- Disruption of the lives of our loved ones that will also impact us.
- Uncertainty about what’s going to happen.
- Emotions of anxiety in ourselves and the people around us.
While not pleasant, these are realistic expectations for most of us. However, we can also expect that this will all work out. We have a strong country, economic base, and healthcare system.
2. SEE: Separate, Embrace, Evaluate
- Separate: If you’re feeling emotions, know it’s your brain projecting chemicals to give you a message.
- Embrace: Of course, your brain is alerting you about the possible impact on the well-being of your loved ones and your financial situation. Thank your brain, while knowing it’s a temporary message. It’s okay to feel however you’re feeling.
- Evaluate: Determine how to play this hand the best you can. What can you do to keep you and your family safe without overdoing it? How can you reassure your teams, clients, and customers? How can you bring comfort to your friends and family? Remember that telling people they’re overreacting is not a good strategy!
SEE doesn’t stop your emotions, especially in major situations. However, the three steps should calm emotion to access higher levels of creativity and problem-solving. While this situation may feel worse than it really is, it’s still a big deal. Keep thanking the emotion for the message and focus on execution even while it’s there. In sports, we call this “playing nervous.” You can’t stop your nerves. So instead of trying to stop them, you switch to knowing you can operate while they’re there. Execute what you need to do regardless of your emotional state.
3. Control the controllable: You can’t control the virus, customers, the gov’t response, the market, and how people are responding around you, but you can influence them through by focusing on what you can control such as preparedness, social distancing, calling to check in on elderly neighbors, sharing supplies, and by boosting your immunity through proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise. For work, keep evaluating and doing what you think needs to be done. Acknowledge the situation as best you can and then refocus yourself and your teams on their shared goals and what needs to get accomplished over the next month, despite the disruption. Embrace this disruption and the opportunity to spend quality down that would normally be consumed by the status quo.
Keep calm and Network on, my friends. Be safe. Stay healthy. Happy Networking!