EMAIL #67 - 18th, April, 2020 - STAYING IN CONTROL
As this health crisis grinds on through the fourth week, we are all finding it harder and harder to stay sane and positive. The only way we can do this is by staying in control of our personal circumstances. So much of what has been happening right now is completely outside of our control, and it is perfectly natural to try to find someone to blame. But with this worldwide pandemic there is no one to blame! No government or health authority could have seen this virus coming and everyone in positions of authority are doing their absolute best to steer us through this crisis (well with one obvious exception anyway!). I finished up last week's email with the recommendation that "the best way to cope with the stresses of the new normal is by focusing on the things that we can control" and this is the topic I would like to expand upon today.
Present day lifestyles and the integration of digital technology (especially whilst we are all confined to our homes), is greatly increasing the levels of stress and anxiety in society. This is particularly true for the younger generations, who are on their devices 24/7 and are currently experiencing an epidemic of daily worries.
"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." Marcus Aurelius
To dig deeper into this concept of staying in control, it is helpful to ask yourself these two questions,
- If you don't control it, why worry about it, because you can't control it?
- If you can control it, why worry about it, because you can and do control it?
But unfortunately, it is often not that simple. We constantly mix up the things that are in our control with things that are not. Psychologists and sociologists explain that the secret to staying in control is to stay focused on the present. In other words, do not constantly look back at the past on what has previously gone wrong. Also, try not to focus too much on the future and all the challenges that might lie ahead. Simon Sinek's advice is that the worst mindset you can have right now is "how can we preserve what we had?" and the best mindset is "how can we contribute in a new way?" My interpretation of this advice is to focus on individual daily tasks, keep ticking things off my to do list and to keep moving forward each day, one day at a time.
"You can’t think you way out of this mess. You can only act and talk you way out of it." Verne Harnish
To this point, the biggest benefit of having Maryanne back from Italy these last few weeks, is being able to talk through everything that is challenging me and the business at present, instead of all the stress building up in my head and this negatively affecting my decision making. Taking control of your situation and making difficult decisions requires real courage, then staying in control requires focus and determination. Now is the time to face reality and take control!
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and soldier on.