Let’s not beat around the bush. We are going through an unimaginably (at least until recently) difficult time — a time that requires innovative thinking. At some point, of course, the news will start to get better. But as of now, it just seems to be getting worse and worse.
It’s difficult to take. It’s all too easy (and perfectly justifiable) to fall into despair, or even depression. And there’s a certain part of that that’s appropriate. It’s part of the grieving process, and right now many of us are grieving loss: loss of connection, loss of income, perhaps even loss of loved ones. Certainly loss of normalcy.
So the grieving is natural, even healthy. If, however, that’s all we do, then everything shuts down. And that doesn’t serve us or those who count on us. But what can we do instead?
Just do something. Take a first step. Move forward. Take action.
[You: “But Bill, what should I take action on?”]
Between you and me, it almost doesn’t matter. But if you do have that question, let me suggest this as your first action step:
Sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and make a list of things you could take action on.
In fact, I suggest you make two lists: Personal and Professional.
Your Personal list could contain items like:
- Take an online guitar course
- Send one handwritten note a day to someone who matters to you
- Go through the house and collect all of the books you’ve been putting off reading until “someday”
- Create an outdoor garden to grow your own veggies
- Plan a virtual happy hour over Zoom or Skype with friends and neighbors
Ideas for your Professional list might include:
- Read one book or article a week to deepen your knowledge of your profession
- Organize a virtual conference call with colleagues to discuss this changing reality
- Develop online resources (courses, webinars, PDF worksheets, etc.) to help your clients/customers
- Study outside of your field to broaden your general knowledge base
- Take an online leadership course
The mere act of making these lists starts the momentum, and this momentum will get your innovative juices flowing. After that, just pick one, and take a first step. This might be developing a project timeline, or making a list of items and resources that you’ll need. Tomorrow, take the second step. Order some supplies, watch a YouTube training video. The important thing is that you’re moving forward. You’re taking action.
When you take action — any action — it changes your focus and your mindset. The despair many of us are experiencing comes from feeling helpless and out of control. Action puts you back in control: “I may not be able to control everything, but I can control this!”
Here’s the real question: When this is over (and it will be over), what kind of person do you want to have been?
My hope is that you’ll be the kind of person who showed up for the challenge. The kind of person who moved forward while others stayed still. The kind of person who used creative, innovative thinking to emerge from the storm stronger than you were before.
Right now, the world needs people who are willing to roll up their sleeves, face the storm, and take action. Are you one of those people?