We now understand that we are most likely to be locked done until May at the earliest. Most households in the UK and also the world being affected by the crisis. With businesses closing and losing money on a huge scale and people losing jobs and large portions of their incomes it can feel like the best thing to do is hunker down and wait until this is all over and hope something will work out.
Don’t wait for something to happen
Unfortunately waiting for something to happen is the same as hoping and wishing. It gets you nowhere. Some of us will have concerns over our health in the coming months and may even experience the loss of loved ones. I don’t want to pass over these events as these are the true tragedies of the crisis.
The lucky ones will only have to worry about finances and assets. I like many others have experienced such events. I’ve lost homes, assets and been forced to sofa surf relying on help from my friends. I’ve had to run and cycle to work when I’ve had no money for transport and been crushingly in debt. The reality of this is that life goes on. You still have great times, great experiences but just in a different environment. You still have money issues whatever situation you’re in. You just go from worrying about basic food and shelter on to other financial issues.
Nothing will be the same
Whenever the lockdown officially ends the reality is that nothing will be the same for a long time, if ever. We have been forced to change our working and living habits and although there have been a lot of negatives from the situation some of us can also extract some positives.
Accentuate the Positive
For me these have been the following:
More time at home with my wife and son.
I’ve never had so much time with my family and although it presents challenges the overwhelming result of this is positive. I feel my relationship with both of them is stronger as we’ve had to adapt to living in each other’s pockets. Both myself and Francesca have been able to see in full our daily routines. For Francesca that’s seeing how much of my working day is actually spent working. My worry was that when I was working 15 hour days at the business Francesca would be imagining me just relaxing and chatting to members, but the reality is that I spend time either coaching, programming, producing content or general business admin. Being able to see that create a better understanding of why I keep such a detailed schedule and the hours I keep. From my point of you I see how hard Francesca works on educating and entertaining my son, managing the household day to day and assisting within the business. This has created a real mutual appreciation for how we work together as a team and although it has taken a few weeks we are really starting to the find the best ways to assist each other.
With Phoenix being so young (16 months) the change in our relationship has been very distinct and the time we’ve spent together has been huge for us both. For me spending time with him makes me more patient, more understanding and makes me want to improve as a human being to lead a better example for him. I’m so aware now that I need to be thinking clearly about how we are going to maintain as much of what we’ve gained once the lockdown ends.
Better communication with other members of my family and friends
I’ve always been guilty of staying in the bubble of my at home family. I think because I spend every day engaging with people at work that I’m less inclined to want to do it for leisure. But being in lockdown makes you realise that you need to be looking out for friends and family. You can determine during a phone call how people’s mood can improve from just a few minutes of a conversation. At this time when our days can be a rollercoaster of highs and lows the effect that good communication can have is tangible. For just a few minutes of your day you can make yourself and others feel much better. It’s crucial that I continue to improve in this aspect of my life throughout the lockdown and beyond.
Clearly establish those who bring positive energy
I’ve talked previously about the importance of surrounding yourself with a balance of positive people. I think crises can just highlight this further. I’m not talking about people that are just happy and then others that our down. I’m talking about people who even though they are struggling will bring positivity through words or actions and work to improve the mood of those around them. The negative people will be the ones who only do something if it makes them look or feel good and will bring negativity to others through their words and actions.
This period has just made clearer which of my circle I need to spend more time around and which I need to pay less attention to.
I’m not talking about food here as the lockdown and Easter have combined for the perfect storm!! Instead I’m talking about the dramatic reduction in income and the inability to leave the house which have resulted in very little non-essential spending.
When forced to live off a much smaller budget we cancel all the non-essential payments and purchases. Is there anything I miss, not really.
When all of this is over I’m going to be looking much more closely at what I spend money on and try and maintain some of my frugal behaviours.
Value our Experiences
Making the best of being at home has forced us to create great experiences out of very little. A family BBQ, a walk in the fields, games in the garden and chats with the family.
When we get the chance to meet up again I need to put a much greater value on each and every moment. In life this is really what we have and it’s these memories that live with us.
Planning our Life Reboot
Right now, nothing is certain. But the opportunity is to press the reset button on our lives. We know that everything has changed and the longer the lockdown continues the less likely that we’ll go back to as it was before. I think we need to be planning for how we’d like the reboot of our lives to look. This includes:
Renegotiating our work schedule
If you’ve been successfully working from home for the lockdown then this is a chance to renegotiate how your work week should look. Many of us have proven that we can be effective on a more flexible schedule. We’ve shown that in person meetings and visits aren’t always necessary. Let’s use this time to create something that’s closer to our perfect day.
For me that means looking at who and when I coach. Being away from home and not seeing my family for entire days is not what I intend to happen going forwards.
Reset your network of people
I don’t want to have my mind taken up by negativity so I need to ensure that the network around me is hugely positive. This means identifying those who I need to avoid and those who I need to spend more time around.
Work to be a better friend/family member
From a personal point of you I want to be that positive person. So therefore I need to be more available to my friends and family. Plus when I’m around them I need to be better.
Reset your finances
Once we establish what’s important, we can then plan our finances based around that. I talked about experiences and I think my finances should be such to be able to reflect that. I doesn’t necessary mean spending on experiences. From my point of you it’s ensuring that the budget is set that I can manage my work to allow me to have more time to spend with those that I love.
Reset your career
For some this may be enforced, for others you may just have realised during this time that you are not living the life you want. Either way it may be the time. This might mean having to downsize your life and spending to fit your new plans. Some people are reluctant to do this because they think it’s selfish. But it’s really not, because you’ll be a better person to be around if you are following your passion. I made a decision at a young age to do what I love instead of what would make the most money. I knew that this would mean not fulfilling my potential in some people’s minds and earning far less than I could have done had I taken a different path. I reflect on this choice often and not once would I have changed it.
Opportunities come at any time
As a golfer you have to learn early that when you hit a bad shot you get upset, then forget about it and move on the next one quickly. This is how I treat all adversities that happen and this is no different. If the worst case scenario happens and my business needs to shut down then yes of course I’ll be upset, there will be tears. But this will be followed by the excitement of having to start something new, a new challenge tackled with the experience and knowledge I’ve learned through all the good and bad times.
The lockdown is one of the great challenges we face as individuals and as a society. Let’s use it as an opportunity to improve.