“After tragedies, one has to invent a new world, knit it or embroider, make it up. It’s not gonna be given to you because you deserve it; it doesn’t work that way. You have to imagine something that doesn’t exist and dig a cave into the future and demand space. It’s a territorial hope affair. At the time, that digging is utopian, but in the future, it will become your reality.” – Björk

The current situation in the world has changed not just how we work, but how we live our lives as well. We are anxious because our worlds have been turned upside down, and many of the freedoms we have taken for granted have been taken away.

The fact is, many of our pre-covid habits, rituals, celebrations, and basic ways of doing business are gone, and likely never to return.

However, new ways of being and moving through the world are already making themselves apparent. If we are able to take some time to think through many of these opportunities, I think we can find a new way forward.

A Recent Interaction I got a call from a franchisee prospect a few days ago that I had not heard from since the holidays. This was about a week after the initial economic shut down here in Columbus.

We talked for half an hour or so and it quickly became clear he just wanted to chat as opposed to actually buying a franchise. Which was fine with me.

I sensed however, that he was questioning just about everything pertaining to his business and his life. As we chatted, I realized everything he had been doing was suddenly in question. I then realized that I felt the same way. It was great therapy for both of us to just talk.

Great Things Can Come From Bad Situations We have all have gone through dark times in our lives. I really started feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders a couple of years ago. I tried to ignore it because I had been through a lot of bad things and always come through the other side. But this time was different.

With a lot of help and introspection I realized that the worst times of my life always led to a better way of being. For instance, I was certain my 2009 bankruptcy was as bad as it could get, and my life would never be the same.

My life has not been the same since, but in positive ways I never imagined at the time.

When I really thought through the bad times over the last 30 years or so, I realized they all led to better outcomes. Surprisingly, I became aware that they all led to very powerful personal transformations. When the world caught up to me again a couple of years ago, I was able to step back and think through what kind of transformation I wanted to make.

This time I decided not to leave it to chance. I wanted to be intentional about what I wanted in life going forward.

Start Stop Continue I started with a simple exercise that I am sure all of you have seen before. People call it different things but basically it is a list of things you are going to start doing, things you are going to stop doing, and things you want to keep doing.

Think of column one, things you want to start doing, as the freedom to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, but never given yourself permission to do.

Think of column two as freedom from the things in your life that simply drain you emotionally and physically that you would give anything to give up.
In column three, list all the things that you love about your life and work right now that make life worth living.

Finally, make of list of action or ‘to-do’ items that will set you on the path making your ideas real.

Pro tip: I like to keep a running list of Start, Stop and Continues that I add to as I wish

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The Starting Over Exercise
I am a member of the entrepreneurial coaching program created by Dan Sullivan called Strategic Coach. (www.StrategicCoach.com) At a workshop in early in 2018 Dan introduced a thinking tool called Starting Over. I have included the basic outline of this form below.

This tool really resonated with me because it is so simple, so powerful, and based 100% in gratitude for what is right in your life.

The tools starts with three columns.

Column one is ‘Capabilities To Take With You’.

Column two is ‘Relationships To Take With You’.

Column three is ‘Opportunities To Take With You’.

The rest of the space below these columns is for making a to-do list based on your insights.

Like I said, simple, but powerful. Try It.

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You May Never Get Another Chance Like This. I believe that out of adversity comes the chance to design the life you want.  

I urge you to take the time to use these tools and ideas to clarify the capabilities, relationships, and opportunities you want to take into your future. Just as importantly, define what baggage, bothers, and obligations you want to leave behind.  

There are a lot of things that were important to me three weeks ago that just don’t matter to me anymore going forward.  

Everyone in the world is going to be questioning their personal way forward once they get through this shutdown.  Nobody is going to judge you for creating new habits, forging new relationships and collaborations, seizing new opportunities to serve new clients in new ways, or investing in new capabilities for yourself and your organization.  This is about your future, nobody else’s.

I for one can’t wait for this moment in time to be over so I can get on with my bigger future.  Bring it on!

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