2020-09-11

what to do when your business is in lockdown

Navigating COVID-19 & Other Business Challenges

 

Whether or not you agree with Governor Inslee’s decision doesn’t matter. For the next four weeks starting tomorrow (Wednesday if you are a restaurant), many Washington State businesses are severely limited or shut down to in-person engagements. 

What’s my approach to this situation? I say GOOD.

GOOD. is a phrase I adopted from Jocko Willink , but you could also use the stoic phase “Amor Fati” – or love of fate…as Friedrich Nietzsche said to “not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.”

not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.

LOVE IT.

To truly love the difficult, the unfair, the mundane, you must orient your thinking toward a growth mindset. A perspective where you suspend judging circumstances as good or bad, and all outcomes are an opportunity for improvement. It’s much easier to grovel and complain; or accept victimization, making it hard for many people to embrace this mindset. 

Many years ago, I read a story, and now regularly share a version of it from Derek Sivers blog called the “Parable of the Horses.” I’ll let you read the story for yourself, but the essence is this: we don’t know what the future holds and don’t have nearly enough information to judge something “good” or “bad.” 

Your mindset, starting right now, will have a profound impact on your business, your health, your employees, your family, your community, and so much more. With a healthy perspective, you can benefit no matter what happens – pandemics, shutdowns, elections, booms, and busts, all are opportunities for growth and improvement. 

What now? 

To navigate the situation and maximize the opportunity for growth, we need to reprogram how we think. I’ve found a single phrase borrowed from design thinking to be profoundly effective. How might we…?

How might we…?

How might we…? is a mental exercise in the form of a question that suspends judgment of good vs. bad ideas and allows you to explore possibilities you may not otherwise consider. There are no wrong answers – only opportunities to improve and grow. 

  • Do you own a restaurant that can’t seat customers? How might we delight our takeout customers? 
  • Do you have a gym that must close? How might we continue to serve our members digitally? 
  • Do you have a retail store that is limited to 25% capacity? How might we reach our customers online? 

So how might you benefit from Governor Inslee’s statewide restrictions? 

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