survive this crisis | making a plan at her desk

Truly Awesome Advice on How to Survive This Crisis

If you are struggling to adjust during this pandemic, I got your back. I pulled together some awesome advice on how to survive this crisis as a business owner or leader. It’s helped me, and I hope it helps you.


Also, welcome to the club. Most of us are grieving in ways large and small. Our lives have been upended, we don’t know what lies ahead and we feel like we have very little control over the situation – which is true. We don’t, and it sucks.


I am normally full of energy. My default is happy, with a big side of hope and a healthy serving of positivity. One morning last week, I struggled to get out of bed. I was lethargic and sad. Everything felt hopeless. “Who cares about marketing?” I thought. “What the hell is the point?”


(Then I watched the latest episode of Some Good News, and I rallied.)


Awesome advice on how to survive this crisis


This advice is gathered from all over the Internet. Whether you are a marketer, business owner or leader, I think you’ll find it useful.


Regain control, and find meaning


Last week, my sister-in-law emailed me an article from Harvard Business Review. In “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief”, David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief, shares thoughts on how to manage grief. It was a very comforting read, believe it or not.


I had two top takeaways:


Regain control through acceptance


By accepting what is happening, you regain some control: I can wash my hands. I can keep a safe distance. I can learn how to work virtually. Let go of whatever you cannot control. I cannot control what my neighbor is doing. I can control staying more than six feet from him.


Find meaning


As Kessler says in the article:


“I did not want to stop at acceptance when I experienced some personal grief. I wanted meaning in those darkest hours. And I do believe we find light in those times. Even now people are realizing they can connect through technology. They are not as remote as they thought. They are realizing they can use their phones for long conversations. They’re appreciating walks. I believe we will continue to find meaning now and when this is over.”


Focus on the bottom of the pyramid


My favorite blogger, Mark Schaefer, wrote about the best way for all businesses to survive this crisis: focus on the bottom of the pyramid.


Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? The bottom of the pyramid refers to our most basic needs. They are physiological – air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing, reproduction.


These are the top concerns for most people right now. Having enough food for a week or two, being able to pay rent or the mortgage, getting a decent night’s sleep despite crippling anxiety and staying healthy.


As Mark wrote:


“Right now, the long-term relevance of the brand is more important than short-term sales.


“Almost every business needs to send their social media and content marketing to the bottom of the pyramid … immediately.”


By the way, Mark is sick with COVID-19. Please send him some good vibes.


Leaders need to be honest but hopeful


One of my long-time clients, Joan Fletcher, asked me to help her write articles on leaders who are doing an outstanding job during this crisis. We have written two articles so far, and both leaders we profile share some similar traits.


Holger Wolff, President of Maiborn Wolff in Germany, and Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio’s Department of Health Director, are honest when they communicate. They speak hard truths, and they acknowledge that they don’t have all the answers.


However, they also provide hope. During an all-hands meeting in early March, Wolff told his employees that the company can survive the severe financial turbulence. He also shared his thoughts on the future based on current data, including his belief that everyone will be back in the office by mid-May.


Likewise, Dr. Acton balances negative news with positive news. She said that when life returns to “normal”, it will be different – and in some ways, those changes will be good. She also said, “This is a war on a silent enemy. I don’t want you to be afraid. I am not afraid. I am determined.”


Business owners need to be proactive and creative


The founder of Her Corner, an accelerator for women-owned businesses, published a really helpful blog post on how to approach business development and sales during the pandemic. In the article, Frederique Irwin suggested two approaches:


Call your clients with ideas


“What customers want right now … is to feel like you understand them, have thought about them, and have solutions that could help them…. Call them with an idea. A solution that you thought of that could help their business or them specifically. Innovate.”


Renegotiate contracts


“For the companies you work with that are still open, but struggling, consider how to renegotiate your services with them…. I’m not talking about doing work for free, I’m talking about getting creative in the short term to hold on to clients and to help those clients get through these next few months.”


Productivity might not be the answer right now


Your friends are posting photos on Facebook that are driving you nuts. You know what I’m talking about: the newly organized, color-coded kitchen pantry. The box full of photos neatly arranged in a leather-bound album. The freshly painted powder room.




If you don’t feel like doing anything productive, don’t (thank you to the Washington Post for this article).


“There’s a huge push of people thinking that because we are home right now, we can be productive and that we’re all going to be able to stay as focused as we were a month or so ago,” says productivity expert Racheal Cook in the article. “But that’s just not the case.”


Cook goes on to say that we are stressed and anxious. We are spending a lot of time and energy on adjusting our entire lives, which magnifies these intense emotions. “None of these things are setting us up for high productivity or high performance,” says Cook.


Don’t feel like doing something ambitious? Don’t. Watch Tiger King. Re-read the Harry Potter series. Play your ukulele. Chill.


We will survive this crisis. Stay safe and healthy my friends.


Image: Julia M Cameron via Pexels 

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