Hold up your writing hand, your palm facing you.
Look at your palm for 5 seconds.
You’re not looking for anything, just noticing it.
There’s a meditation technique called ‘noting’, which is super simple and which can help during times of uncertainty.
You stop whatever you’re doing, focus briefly on something like your palm or the breath, simply note it, and move on.
No analysis, no searching, no judgement, just the realisation that hey, there you are.
Some days, this is the most important 5 seconds of my day.
(Wow I guess that’s not gonna get me on the front cover of CRUSHING IT!!! magazine any time soon!)
It may be old news to you, it may be something you read now and forget about right away, or it may be something you’d like to try.
But I thought I’d share it today as one small thing to do in the face of the current weirdness.
Here’s what I like about it:
You can do this quick technique whenever you want, and note that your hand, your breath, is simply there…
Same as it was yesterday…
Same as it was when you suffered a personal loss or felt alone…
Same as it was when you made your first sale (yay sales!)
Everything around you may feel different right now (or maybe not), but there it is.
There YOU are.
You’re still here.
In rapidly-changing times, sometimes it helps to return briefly and frequently to what doesn’t change.
With what’s going on around us at the moment, something as simple as noting can be incredibly useful.
Let’s face it:
Nobody’s going to show up in our inboxes this week with ALL the answers.
But each of us has something to offer.
It’s at times like these that as biz-owners, entrepreneurs, creatives or just curious, questioning souls, we have the opportunity to make a unique contribution, however small.
Some of the stories I’ve seen this past few days show people choosing to connect and lift others up, even while physical connection is becoming less and less easy:
Stuff like impromptu balcony concerts to show solidarity with neighbours… supermarkets designating priority shopping hours for elderly and at-risk peeps to get their essentials… businesses offering innovative help or access to information… and the many large and small volunteering efforts across the world.
People are doing some incredible things in the face of a ton of uncertainty.
Pretty inspiring stuff, and important to remember when things seem a little, y’know, gloomy.
Just a couple of weeks ago I had dinner with a client in the travel industry, and learned about some of the challenges facing them, their own clients, and their clients’ customers across the world.
Mad times for the travel industry in particular.
But since then, the concerns of other biz owners large and small have come into focus too…
I’m thinking about friends and partners in the music industry, for freelancers in areas that rely more on offline activities than mine does…
…even about the future of the 140 year-old football club I support, which depends more on ticket sales than most of the giants we read about in the sports headlines or watch on tv.
Here in Berlin, the city relies more than most on its nightlife: people spending money in bars, clubs and restaurants (the vast majority independent businesses) that are now almost completely locked-down.
These are challenges I have to admit I never considered that much before. But here we are.
How we each respond to the challenges we’re faced with is what makes our businesses unique – whether you’re part of a multinational workforce or a company of one.
(For a simple structure to communicate leadership at this time, check out this short thread to help you inform, explain and inspire.)
It’s time to adjust, accommodate and empathise. Not always easy, I know. But we’ll make it.
I wish you the very best in meeting the challenges facing your biz over the coming days, weeks and months.
And remember to pause now and then to notice what doesn’t change.
Keep on keepin’ on,
PS – if like me you’re a solopreneur or freelancer and facing a longer-than-usual period working from home (or on the balcony, since spring just hit here in Berlin and – irony – it just got really nice outside!) remember to keep in touch with your network, clients or just other freelancers online and on the phone.
It’s good for the brain, good for creativity, and good for your health to keep yakking with others. Thanks to the interwebz, lockdown needn’t be completely solo!