“May you live in interesting times” is an old saying. Few would argue that these times aren’t interesting.
As I write this, the world is more or less in a state of lockdown and isolation due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Reactions on social media have run the gamut from helpful to hurtful, which is nothing new. I think people who have been particularly selfish will live to regret it, which is also nothing new.
Some people are buckling down and trying to conduct business as usual even as the economy and financial markets are experience previously unknown stresses. (And this is coming from someone who experienced the crash of 1987 as a phone clerk on the trading floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange.)
Whatever you think of what’s happening and whatever is going on in your life or business, I think it’s important that we all prioritize compassion – for yourself, for others, and for your business.
Compassion for yourself
Your life may be upside down right now with kids at home due to school closings, financial distress, or health concerns.
In a state of extreme stress, we often don’t think clearly. Or we may shut down completely.
If you’re barely getting through your days, be gentle with yourself. Don’t overload your to-do list and don’t overcommit to supporting others. Prioritize self-care.
Self-care isn’t self-indulgent – it’s critical.
Compassion for others
A colleague I adore posted something on LinkedIn that didn’t sit well with me, given what I am hearing from people. She said it was business as usual for her and she had three virtual meetings scheduled.
While I am pleased she has experienced minimal disruption, my calendar has tumbleweeds blowing through it.
On top of that, people are reaching out to me with fears of not being able to pay their rent next month, and struggling to buy food. These are people who are usually highly paid for their valuable services and are now scrambling to bring in money however they can.
So, if you are in a good financial position, I’m really happy for you, but here’s what I can promise: Someone you know is in dire circumstances right now.
Compassion for your business
Your business may be severely impacted by supply chain issues, employees or contractors having health issues, slow payment by customers, etc.
In general, cash flow makes or breaks a business.
Given everything that’s happening now, your business will probably be affected. You may need to adjust your expectations and projections. You may need to revisit your business model.
Compassion as a practice
When things are going well, or if you’ve been running around with your hair on fire for too long, you may have forgotten how to connect compassionately with yourself, or with others.
Compassion comes easily for some, but it’s a practice for most of us.
And by a practice I mean we need to work on it – probably over our lifetime.
My voice teacher, Davin Youngs, just released this impossibly beautiful guided meditation with a soundtrack he created using only his voice. Lots of people, especially people who are sensitive to the emotions of others, are feeling like their circuits have been fried. If that’s you, I strongly recommend listening to this meditation with earbuds. It might be exactly what you need.