‘Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted – it is an intimate date with yourself”
In our last blog we talked about a practical guide to get your business back up and running as we return to a new normal. However, as business leaders the demands on you as an individual has never been greater. The need to just keep going, spinning an ever-greater number of plates with a constant backdrop of uncertainty can be overwhelming. Thinking time between meetings has even disappeared in this virtual world!
So, when I refer to ‘re-group, re-set and re-imagine’ in this article it refers to you as an individual rather than your business. I have had too many conversations in recent weeks with proud owners or entrepreneurs who felt they were indestructible but who have woken up to the reality that they are not. It is important to remember to be flexible to your own needs as well as those of your customers.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going… but….
Owners of small businesses, entrepreneurs, visionaries have been used to adversity, beating the odds, keeping going when others would’ve given up. However, the personal impact as well as professional challenge that Covid-19 has presented is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. We can see the top of the mountain, but the path seems to be taking us in the wrong direction and there are obstacles at every turn. Flickers of light at the end of the tunnel disappear as the virus seems to take another hold. So how do we stay strong and prepare ourselves for a long and arduous climb?
Be kind to yourself
Take some time out. August feels like that moment when lots of people are re-charging their batteries. Focus on things that take your mind off the job, spend time with the family, switch off. It is perhaps sad, but true, the business can survive without you. Your own health and wellbeing will be crucial if you are to re-imagine your vision and achieve it.
Take some time to reflect on your lockdown experience. What have you found difficult, what have you learnt about yourself? What are you going to do differently as a consequence?
Deal with things your way
Talk to other business leaders. Hearing other people’s stories and how they have overcome their personal and business challenges reminds you that you’re not alone. With your head down dealing with your own crisis it is easy to feel isolated. Why am I not coping better?
Everyone will have different ways of handling this situation. Don’t get too despondent if you haven’t become fluent in Italian, worked out with Joe Wicks every day and become an exemplar teacher!
Work life balance
For many, whilst there may have been positives in this regard over the last few months, work and home life have just lost their definition and boundaries. Those that have chosen to work from home have had lots of practice drawing a line between the two, probably have a home office and have learnt to shut off. Covid gave no time for adjustment. If home working looks like a long-term situation then make sure you find a productive and healthy routine.
Some personal learnings
I, like many other business owners have been on a personal and professional roller coaster. Seeing the initial impact of coronavirus on my own business and our clients, wondering how we and they would survive. But I have retained an optimistic viewpoint, taken time out when feeling overwhelmed and focused on how we could be better prepared for the future whilst adding value to our clients in the eye of the storm.
We have focused on pivoting from our why, but we also worked on our own resilience, as a team and as individuals. These practical tips will definitely be part of our ‘re-set’ after taking some time out:
- Stay close to your team – share each other’s challenges and work together. Take time to listen to their lockdown experience
- Stay close to your clients/customers – we have kept talking to all our clients throughout – learning and guiding
- Stick to a clear routine that works for you – walking the dog in the morning and evening has given me the time for reflection and kept me sane.
- Focus on what you can control – there is so much that you can’t!
- Ignore the noise going on around you. Focus on what gets you through, however small.
- Maintain a wider perspective – I have found KPMG webinars great for learning and have given me a sense of ‘we are all in this together’
- Have a plan but focus on the small steps to get there – one day at a time
Time to re-imagine
At some point, just as we re-imagine the vision of our business so we should reconnect with our own personal aspirations and development. Every situation and challenge have learning, none more so than this pandemic but create time for reflection, block it out in your calendar. You will be more productive, a better colleague and healthier, both physically and mentally.
If you are taking some well-deserved time out, enjoy your break and we look forward to re-connecting on your return.