March 16th. That was the day my husband and I shut the doors to our restaurant not knowing if or when we would open again. Based on the news and statistics we were seeing at the time, we decided it was in the best interest of our employee’s and patron’s health to close the business and wait it out. It wasn’t an easy decision but it really wasn’t a difficult one either.
We have gone through the roller coaster of emotions like so many of you have. And whether you are a business owner or team member, we are all experiencing a spectrum of feelings: Fear, confusion, frustration and simple yearning for the lives we led just two short months ago.
I’ve been speaking with attorneys around the country on a daily basis since this “new norm” hit us smack between the eyes. It is no surprise that stressful times like these trigger our fight or flight response. Many of my calls have centered around how best to deal with and manage these primal reactions. Some attorneys are worried to the point of inaction, some are having a hard time focusing and prioritizing their activities, and some are jumping in and trying anything. There is no right or wrong way. We are just surviving and riding this out the best way we know how. But could we, in this time of upheaval and uncertainty, be thriving? I think we can.
On recent membership calls, Sanford M. Fisch and Robert Armstrong shared some guiding principles that we can do now to get us through these tough times. I’ve added a few more that I’ve been sharing on my calls to round out the list.
- Focus on health – We all want to control and contain the spread of this virus, so fuel your body with good food, exercise, get good sleep and work on building a healthy immune system.
- Focus on family – Most of us are working from home and that means many families are together on a daily basis, so be aware of what’s going on with your family, talk through how they are feeling and find out what support they may need.
- Be grateful – Even though we are going through tough times, one thing to not overlook are the many things we have to be grateful for. Jot them down, reflect on them and share with your team and family to keep things in perspective.
- Be present in the moment – Eliminate distractions so you can be fully engaged and focused on what is important now. This will inoculate you from going down a rabbit hole of fear. Being present reduces stress, lowers anxiety and will propel you through this difficult situation.
- Focus on what you have control over – List out things you can do today to keep yourself and your firm busy. Here are a few ideas…
- Create your online and email marketing steps
- Create a list of topics you can share with your followers
- Check-in with clients who haven’t heard from you in a while
- Establish protocols for virtual and in-person meetings
- And the list goes on and on and on…
- Focus on mindset and language – The language we use is a reflection of our mindset and what we think can easily become our reality. Although the virus has dictated how we live our daily lives, we can choose how we think about and approach the situation. Are you finding yourself focused on the negative aspects of these restrictions or are you seeing the positives and opportunities?
Negative and powerless language can sound like:
- I “have” to deal with this (victim, lack of control)
- They are the reason (blaming others)
- Here’s another problem (problems not solutions focused)
- I doubt it will work (lack of faith in systems, self, or team)
- I hope we can make it work (lack of commitment)
- I have no control over what is happening (lack of control)
Positive language that empowers us and others, sounds like:
- I “get” to test this new technology out (opportunity focused)
- We “can” reinvent what we do (belief in ability, systems, self and team)
- We “will” get through this (committed, confident, action-oriented)
- Let’s discuss solutions and modify our systems (solutions and systems focused)
- Let’s identify our actions (in action and in control)
We clearly cannot control everything, but if we take a step back, there is plenty we can take action on to help us shift and adapt.
Stay safe, make the best decisions you possibly can and keep an eye on your own well-being so you can be the best leader you possibly can be for yourself, your team and your loved ones.
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128