I am writing this in a time when we are facing an unprecedented crisis in the world
I was a little hesitant to discuss this at a time when we don’t even know how this will unfold.
However, I think we need to talk about how we cope and respond to what is happening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am not an expert on this and I don’t want to create content around what is happening, just for the sake of having content on my website.
As difficult as this time is for so many people, I want to share some of my experience and also the opportunities I see for you to rise to the challenges we are facing now.
This blog article is a summary of the related podcast episode.
I am not going to dwell too much on what is happening in the world right now as a result of the COVID-19, not least because the situation is changing so quickly. As I write this some borders are closing, there are restrictions on movement and travel, schools are closing and some people are experiencing total lockdowns. It is a totally unique, and pretty alarming situation.
As well as the very serious health and social implications, there are very clear consequences for business. It is a major disruption in people’s lives and we cannot underestimate it.
What is equally serious is the spread of fear and anxiety. Even those not directly affected by travel restrictions or school closures are struggling. I have heard people compare this to war.
So the first thing I want to ask all of us to do is try not to panic and to encourage other people to stay calm.
Yes, it is a terrible crisis, but it’s not the end of the world. We will rise from this.
And in responding, we need to be intentional and mindful. We need to reflect a lot on what this crisis means for us – travelling, socialising responsibly and how our choices impact our wider community. But despite all this, I do see reasons to be optimistic.
I want to share some of my experiences of growing up as a the daughter of diplomats. As a young child I spent four years in Algeria during the worst of its terrorism and violence. I didn’t know if my Dad would come very day. I lived with curfew for many year, with daily bomb explosions and I saw things a child should never see. And perhaps this is why I am able to approach this current crisis without panic – I have seen worse situations and understand how important it is to remain calm.
I know that the things that helped Algeria survive and rise were remaining positive, keeping our sense of humor and keeping going with your life. By doing these things, even in times of sorrow, we were able to avoid panic and survive such harsh experiences.
So let’s talk about opportunities – not at the expense of other people – but to take action in these difficult times.
I want to ask you how you can use these challenging times to rise as a person, an entrepreneur and a leader. Think about what you can do, despite the daily challenges you face and your level of stress. You can learn and grow so much at this time if you approach it without panic and in a mindful way.
My message here is to use this tough challenge to rise.
If you have a team, if you have clients, what can you do to support them? To support your wider community? It doesn’t have to be something big. The key thing to do is to be mindful – being caring, being kind and being authentic right now can make a huge difference to others. Doing little things to show people you care can have such a big impact.
I also want to be here for you if you are going through a particularly difficult or stressful time, unable to see your families, dealing with financial issues or struggling with your own health. I am sending you so much love and I want you to remember that you will get through this – this so difficult time will pass!
If you are in the space where you are stressed but you want to take action, I want to share with you some things that have helped me:
Look after yourself
In stressful times, you need to first take care of yourself, you won’t be able to support anyone if you cannot first take care of yourself.
- Give yourself time and mental space to adapt and build resilience: this is so important. Before you start implementing new processes or launching anything new to respond to the current crisis, take some time and give yourself some mental space to think and build some resilience. I know this can be hard with your partner and your kids all working from home! As expats, remember that we often have amazing skills that we have developed from coping with change and transition. This is just another change that means you need to adapt, as you have done before.
- Gratitude: this is so important. We cannot move forward unless we see what is already going well and good in our lives, even in difficult situations. Please join me in finding and appreciating the things you have right now. It is powerful to acknowledge that you are in a good space. Take the time to make a list of everything that is positive around you. While gratitude is powerful all the time, it is particularly important when things are rough.
- Self-care: if you cannot help others if you are not looking after yourself. Reach out if you need help. Our Tandem Nomads community is amazing, talented and has so much to share. Please come and join the Nomad Nation and reach out for whatever tips and advice you need.
- Meditation and mindfulness: I never thought I would be someone who meditates! Now I understand why so many people praise it. It can really help to take just five minutes and clear your mind. One great resource is Deepak Chopra. I also had a great guest on Tandem Nomads podcast show, Jodi Harris, who shared with us her tips to manage stress with mindfulness.
Show up to your community
In times of crisis, once you have made sure that you care doing the right thing to take care of yourself, you might able find strength in supporting your community.
- Be there for others: who around you needs your support? This is a great chance to build ties and strengthen your community, whether they are next door or you are connecting virtually. Helping others in need can also help us reflect on the positive things that we do have in our lives. Feeling part of a community and being help them will help you rise!
- Send out all the positive vibes: this is so important. If you see someone who is struggling, who is panicking, who might be sharing inaccurate news, share your positivity in response. You don’t need to be confrontational or start a fight but use your skills and talents to counteract fear and panic in our world. If you’re funny, be funny; sing if you can, use your talents and your will rise!
- Reflect on what you will learn from this: usually I wait until something is over before I write a blog or record a podcast about it. This time I felt it was so important to go for it and talk about these things. But as time passes, we will need to reflect on what we need to do to take better care of our world, of our community – this is a huge message to pause! The whole world is in pause and it is such an important time to reflect.
Keep going and create opportunities!
Don’t just stop whatever you are doing – ask yourself what you can do differently? This is so important. If you keep going, you will build your skills as an entrepreneur, you will muscle up your game and you will get through this! And you will rise to all the challenges you are facing.
For all of you who have businesses, this is NOT the time to pause and stop reaching out to your clients. All the opposite, figure out how you can serve them even better!
And don’t forget that there are so many people working remotely and figuring out working in a virtual space for the first time. I am so lucky that I already have a remote business that is less disrupted and this is such a huge opportunity to start your portable business. I have always said a portable business helps us travel, but it also helps us thrive at home!
And as more and more people start to access services, support and products virtually, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs with portable businesses to show leadership and meet that demand. I feel this demand will only grow and this is a great time to build your business as people become more comfortable and willing to consume in this way. And if your business is focused on delivering physically, this is the time to talk to your clients about moving into a virtual space and learn about the available tools.
We can do this together – we’ll just do it virtually!
If you already have a portable business, this is your time to adapt and grow. Also, use your virtual business to bring support to your community in any way you can! This is not the time to hide, on the opposite, this is the time that you need to show up as a leader in your space.
And if you don’t have a portable business yet this is the time to start! Don’t wait any longer, there are people out there who need what you have to offer.
This is your time to learn how to do and make it happen!
Despite all the challenges right now, we still live in an amazing time. This crisis is not the end of the world. Let’s use it, if you can, to pause and reflect and to move forward in a mindful way, taking what opportunities we can to continue to make an impact.
Let’s come together, rise together and turn these challenges into opportunities.