Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re aware of the COVID-19 crisis that has disrupted our entire world in a matter of months. Rounding out 2019, I don’t think anyone (with the exception of a few people) had any idea this was coming. Like with every new year, people are excited about setting resolutions and maybe starting fresh on their goals or setting brand new ones.
For 2020, many people adopted some form of the catchy theme of having “2020 Vision” and seeing their lives, the new year and maybe the future more clearly. Although we didn’t see THIS coming. I certainly didn’t.
I might have been one of the most excited people about what 2020 held for me both personally and professionally. If you follow my blog posts, you know I started the year with two life-changing weeks in Ghana. I had my first speaking engagement as part of my new college speaking agency with the University of San Diego, and I had booked more speaking engagements even outside of college than I ever had. My calendar for the first two quarters were nearly full. I also had finally finalized a contract with one of the five largest school districts in the county for my S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum. And my term as president of the University of Memphis National Alumni Association was going extremely well with us being at nearly 90% of our goal of 100 new Life Members. Plus, the Alumni Association staff and board were making great progress on what is planned to be the biggest Distinguished Alumni Awards program in its 40 year history. As president, I would have the amazing honor of being the host. And at 40 year’s old, I am the youngest black female to ever be the president and have this honor. Something I never dreamed of for myself.
Then suddenly everything came to a screeching halt. Every speaking engagement, for me and most other speakers, was either canceled or is still in limbo. The entire school district closed for at least two weeks. The University of Memphis instituted online courses for the remainder of the semester, and all university events are suspended until further notice.
And those are just a few of the ways COVID-19 is impacting my life. The reality is that EVERYONE is being impacted, and many people are being impacted severely.
While the experts try to figure out how to reduce and deal with the impact of this virus, we each have to be the experts in our lives and figure out how to reduce and deal with the impact on our individual situations.
For me that means recognizing that just maybe COVID-19 which is hurting us in many ways is also aligned to that cute phrase of “2020 Vision”. Just maybe in all the devastation, loss, scarcity, and fear, we can truly begin to see things more clearly. The tips and questions posed below came from my observations of people, the media, and the world right now as it relates directly to the coronavirus, but they can be applied to every aspect of our lives and our futures.
10 Ways the Coronavirus is Forcing 2020 Vision
1. Getting clean
Isn’t it a bit crazy that one of the key messages being presented to prevent the spread of the virus is simply to wash your hands? For some reason, this is new to many people or people have been doing it ineffectively or just not enough. Bleach, hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap and other cleaning products are flying off the shelves. But shouldn’t we have already been clean/cleaning our hands, our homes, our airplanes, or stadiums?
Will one lasting effect of this crisis for you to be consistently even cleaner?
2. Preparing your finances
Like every person is being impacted, so is every industry which in turns impacts the global and people’s individual economy. Everyone from the rich to the poor and all of us in between have been hit in the pockets by this crisis. Experts have long taught to have at least six months of income saved for a rainy day. Well, for some saving when you’re barely sustaining your monthly bills is nearly impossible. For others, the decision not to save is hurting now. Also, many people have only one source of revenue, and when that is impacted they have nothing.
How can you prepare your finances for future rainy days…or crises?
During these uncertain times, we all need to build confidence wherever we can so that you can rebound and rebuild.
3. Protecting your health
Isn’t it interesting seeing people walking around stores and other public places with masks and gloves now? Especially when people engage in unprotected sex and haven’t even been washing their hands. How about how people are pushing for a vaccine when vaccines for other diseases are offered but not taken? The same for testing. Tests can’t be provided fast enough to keep up with the demand for them. Although other conditions or diseases may not be a pandemic, they have been killing people long before the threat of the coronavirus.
What health protection practices will you continue or implement as routines in your life?
4. Recognizing social isolation
Now that it is almost being forced, many people don’t like the idea of social isolation. We want to be able to gather whenever and with as many people as we want. In fact, before the coronavirus, many of us were already practicing social isolation but didn’t really see it. Glued to our devices, actual face to face human interaction was decreasing as people spent more time on computers and phones than ever before. With events being canceled, church services going online, and people being asked to work from home, we may begin to value the opportunity to come together and engage face to face more.
What can you learn from social isolation to improve your outlook?
5. Getting down to the necessities
As schools closed, college courses moved completely online, people having to work from home where possible, grocery stores were flooded with people buying (and in some unfortunate cases fighting for) the necessities of food, bottle water, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. Many people have begun to feel financial insecurity as well and have had to review their spending. Canceled gym memberships, children’s dance classes, and other services and subscriptions that aren’t deemed necessary are getting cut back fast.
How can getting down to the necessities in your life help you survive this crisis and meet the goals you set at the start of the year?
6. Needing community
Even though “social isolation” is maybe one of the most used phrases right now, we still need community. My email signature for at least the last few years has included, “We’re in this together.” Well, even in this forced isolation, we’re still all in this together. Shelves are emptying of necessities fast, and now (or sooner or later) you or someone else won’t have something they need. And we’ll need to share and support others. Whether its food, toilet paper, or just information, we must remember that we are indeed in this together.
How can you extend yourself to help others in your community (while protecting your health and theirs)?
7. Monitoring who you let get close to you
Although I’m a friendly, out-going…even social…person, I have always been careful of the people I allow to get close to me. But now, like nearly everyone else, I’m extra cautious about people getting physically close to me. Because testing is still not widely available, someone may intentionally or unknowingly contaminate you. Or you may infect someone else. Whether it’s the coronavirus or a negative attitude or bad energy, monitoring who you let in your space can save your life or simply help you meet your goals.
How are you watching who you let in your space?
8. Getting focused
Although schools are closing, colleges are moving to online classes, people are being forced to telework, and people are actually even dying, one of the greatest impacts to the economy and people’s personal enjoyment was the shutdown of college and professional sports. As a basketball fan and former NBA employee, I have to admit that I was shocked too (but all of this is shocking me). So now is a time to really get focused. Focused on what your priorities should be. Focused on your goals. Focused on your business. Focused on your family and whoever you are stuck in the house with right now.
How can you use this “downtime” to refocus and reset?
Confidence is the #1 success strategy in the world. Our world has totally been thrown upside down and your personal world probably has too. Right now many of us are lacking CONFIDENCE for understandable reasons. Although many aspects of our lives are uncertain, you can build your confidence to prepare to hit the ground running when it’s time to get back to business. I want to help. I’ve been helping become more confident through my online Confidence Class since 2017, and I would love to help you too. I’m on a mission to prepare as many people as possible to be ready to rebuild and rebound so the online Confidence Class is now 75% off the regular price. The time to start increasing your confidence is now while you have more free time than maybe you’ve ever had.
9. Preparing for the problem
As stated before, most of us did not see this crisis coming. However, we all do know that problems will come in our lives. Financial obstacles, family challenges, business downturns, and so much more. The people and businesses who are faring the best at this difficult time were more prepared for this (or any) problem. As we begin the long recovery from the impact of the coronavirus, we can count on future challenges in our personal and professional lives.
What measures can you take to prepare for future problems?
10. Recognizing that things can change SUDDENLY
If this crisis hasn’t shown me anything else, it has definitely shown me that things…everything…can change INSTANTLY. Two months ago I was just returning from Ghana and had been on probably twenty flights in the few months before and at least five in the couple of months after. I was excited about finally getting to do my program that had been delayed in my local school district. I was eagerly preparing for speaking engagements across the country in the second quarter including figuring out how I would get from one in time to host the University of Memphis’ Distinguished Alumni Awards. Over just two days of this crisis, all of that was either canceled directly or announced that it might be.
But just as suddenly as it changed for bad or uncertain, it can all change for good. Like every aspect of our lives, the entire situation can change SUDDENLY.
How can you prepare for your next SUDDENLY change? What can you do to foster SUDDENLY change in your life?
I never would have chosen these current circumstances, but I choose to seek the positives in it. Doing so is always about perspective and how you see things, and sometimes it takes tragedy to help people see things more clearly.