From Annelies & Conduit for Change, LLC
Cultivate "awe" in the presence of awful.
I am writing because I feel it's time to begin a dialouge of awe and preparation not fear. If you've spent even a moment watching the news, you're aware that something unexpected is knocking on our proverbial door. Coronavirus aka: Covid-19
It's a flu-like virus which stemmed from bats which evolved to spread via human to human contact. Why is it important to mention at all? Nature is fascinating and so are people. Fear can wreak havoc culturally, socially, financially and individually. In the presence of the unknown I invite you to be considerate, thoughtful and planful not reactionary.
Many of you are businesses owners, managers, healthcare workers and executives. The swirling questions of "how will this effect me?" may just now be entering your mind. I'm writing to say-- I hear you, I see you. You are not alone.
Since January I've kept my eyes glued to news on this virus. I feel, the global reaction speaks louder than the virus itself. This may be big. Even if the virus dissipates and we get a "fire drill" verses a fire, we're already experiencing the effects of reaction (fear) verses response (mindfulness).
If this issue turns more towards a pandemic, life as we know it may be radically changed simply because of the ripple effect to small businesses who may not have resources to "bounce back" and larger businesses that may be too big to adapt quickly.
You're smart. You plan for vacations. You plan for retirement. You plan for hurricanes and snow. You probably know where in your house you'd go when a tornado may be close. This is not a time to panic-- it is a time to plan.
We cannot predict what may happen with the spread of Covid-19 but we can and should have a mindful plan in place. Pause and consider what a ripple effect is. We're not isolated. We're highly integrated systems. Shutting down travel, social gatherings, entertainment, factories and shipping will and is having dire effects on us globally already.
I am fortunate that my coaching business can and will be run virtually. Many of my clients coach with me via the phone or internet already. However networking, conferences and social events are direct producers of new clients for me as well as referrals. I am concerned and am making some adjustments to how I stay in touch so that I can remain in business. Some of you may also have businesses that are similar. Some of you may need to radically adapt. Some businesses may not be able to bend so far. Start thinking, acting and planning now.
Currently the World Health Organization is advising businesses to be prepared for a pandemic. That means world-wide rapid transmission of Covid-19. Many people will recover, some will not. I want to give you useful information on what to do if such a scenario arises and gently nudge you from reaction (fear) to response (mindfulness) simply through awareness and planning. Of course-- I hope the worst is not the reality. In the meantime... be mindful. It's that simple.
- If there is significant spread of the virus where you live, you may be subject to the quarantine. Think of this as "snow" + flu. This may include long weeks or months indoors. Like a Narnia winter. No face-to-face social interaction. How will you adapt? Start with a month's worth of food and moving as much as your work online as possible. Talk to family and friends who can help you if you cannot sustain a month or more without income.
- Even if there is no quarantine, a great many people may be concerned about public gatherings. If your work relies on this, (as mine does too) now is the time to consider alternative ideas to stay connected to people. The internet may be the hottest thing since sliced bread. We all may be forced to live and work on it a whole lot more for an extended period of time.
- Stock up on food, medicines, cleaning supplies, toiletries and first-aid kit. Again-- this is not a panic pack. This is a thoughtful plan. Normal stuff you always have. Just have more of it.
- Complete documents for estate planning and financial planning now. Do it for you, do it for your parents, do it for your children. Again-- not a panic act. These things just should be done. I've been to 2 funerals this week. Two. None were from coronavirus. Do what needs doing. Don't wait.
- Know where your local health centers are. As supplies may ebb and flow due to supply and demand, it's good to just know these things. You may need something at some time. I know where mine are. Do you?
- The most important thing to know is that Covid-19 is a flu not the measles. But it is as contagious and does not currently have a vaccine. In the next 6 months or so we will. In the meantime, it will spread fast and wide. Wash your hands OFTEN. Sanitize your phone, your car keys, your steering wheel, your computer screens, your mouse and track pad with alcohol wipes. Don't touch your face and don't horde masks. They don't work anyway. The virus is too small and slips through. Although they're good for keeping you from touching your face.
If you're a C-suite professional whose job includes disaster planning then you may be well versed on what to do. If not and you carry a heavy load of worry, consider these written by my colleague Keith Weaver.
- What is the worst-case scenario for you and your business if there is a global pandemic?
- Can you/your employees do their jobs remotely fully prepared to work from home for extended periods of time?
- What plans should you establish in the event that significant numbers of your employees cannot work due to illness?
- How will you handle illnesses with you/your employees now?
- How might your supply chain be disrupted? What plans can you make now?
- How will your business be impacted in the event of significant travel restrictions?
- Do you have plans ready for your business based on a possible scenario of losing 25%, 50%, 75% of revenues?
- Do you know how many months of working capital you'll need if you can't work and do you have access to injection of cash if needed?
- Do you have sufficient cross training in place if a key person or people are unable to work, including you?
- Can the business operate from remotely or from a different location?
- Do you have an adequate 'staff care' plan in the event families of staff are effected?
- Do you have business disruption insurance and is it adequate?
These questions should provide you with a sense of preparedness if not send a shutter of reality down your spine. Here are some considerations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These should be helpful in preparing all countries. However, you should also research guidelines in your local state and/or country.
Many of my clients are on the front lines of health care. I know you are being versed at work and have plans. My nudge here is to consider your personal life and professional too. If you are freaked out or want help sorting out thoughts and planning from response to retirement, stress, overwhelm or grief associated with change-- let's talk. This may be a very useful time to start coaching, I'd love to support you.
To be honest, I don't have all the answers. I do have my concerns. In the meantime, I am grateful to have a curious mind and am fascinated by society and nature as it reacts, responds and evolves. Let's be on the evolutionary side. Eyes Wide Open.
I am on LinkedIN and will post this newsletter there so that there can be an open social dialouge on wants and needs during this emerging issue. When I find new information or resources that I feel may be helpful I will share them.
Be well, stay safe.
Love and light, Annelies