But how are YOU?

Published March 27th, 2020 by Kai Jacobs

To All Leaders (and p.s., everyone is a leader to someone)

But how are YOU?  Every minute of every day for several days now, you have been assaulted on all sides with news, semi-news, opinions, social media posts about fear and, in some cases, outright misinformation about the state of the world.  There is also an onslaught of information, speculation and postings about bailouts, aid and relief.  All of this treats you as if it’s already over for you and your business.  You might be, if you listen to enough of this long enough, afraid and resigned to failure.

Make no mistake, these are trying times.  But you – yes, you – are a leader.  Whether it’s of your company, your department, your family, the students in your yoga class, or the work on your desk, you are a leader.  The decisions you make affect other people and, right now, those other people are counting on you to make good decisions and the right decisions.  The attitude and predisposition you bring to those decisions is almost as important as the decisions themselves.

So, check in with yourself and take care of yourself.  What’s going on in your head?  Is your narrative one of doom?  Are you already writing off your job and your business because of our “unprecedented” event?  How does that attitude impact the people you are making decisions for?  Badly, I would think.

But you’ve got this.  You are at your current place because of a lot of effort, hard work, determination and, at some point in time, the sheer force of your will over the odds and reality.  So, remember, where we are is not unprecedented, just large scale.  Cities, states, and even entire countries have been effectively shut down before by hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, avalanches, tsunamis, volcanoes, wars, insurrections, border closings and even epidemics.  They come back, as do their people, systems and ways of life.  Sometimes they emerge differently than when they went in but come out they do.

We get the benefit of living in an age where we can still connect, be in touch, and work to keep our dreams (and those of the people who depend on us) alive.  Now is the time to take stock of and appreciate that, unlike the examples I gave above, we have electricity, gas, and Wi-Fi up and running.  And as much as there may not be toilet paper on the shelves (for reasons somewhat passing understanding), there is ample food and water.  

For all of the talk of ruination and the end of so many businesses, I see those same businesses employing clever and downright ingenious ways of staying open and supporting their staff and clientele.  Restaurants are becoming take out kitchens.  One popular restaurant even made a deal with a grocery store chain to temporarily employ its entire staff to help out with the increased demand for stock and cleaning that the food and toilet paper hoarders have brought on. My local bookstore became a virtual business almost overnight (offering a ton of substantive content on its website in addition to making book sales).  Even my local bike shop has managed to stay open, making online sales and offering bike service with home pick-up and delivery.

Leaders lead.  And in case you don’t already know it, every single one of you is a leader to someone.  So, check in with yourself.  Assess.  Plan.  See the opportunity – to help, to grow, and to make the future better for you and those who count on your decisions.  You’ve got this

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