Wondering how to help in the pandemic? Me too. I want to share what I’m thinking, what I’m trying, and I’ll share the process I used to shift my energy, so that you too can find a way to help that’s uniquely you.
HOW I’VE BEEN FEELING
Life in the pandemic is not like anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s surreal.
It’s a slow-moving roller-coaster of emotions. And, that slowness has made other things possible, like having much deeper conversations and reflections about gratitude.
In my little family: we have our health; we have our daughter who provides endless amounts of joy (and sometimes frustration, to be sure); I have a job where I can work remotely and thrive; our dog is thoroughly enjoying having her humans at home full-time; on sunny days we can escape for a long walk through the park and wave a safe, socially-distanced hello to our neighbors.
I am so grateful for all of that. And, yet…
A lot of us are.
How could we not be?
As I write this, the pandemic has taken over two hundred thousand lives and puts at risk millions more. It’s also destroyed our economy and shuttered businesses that were once only dreams.
It’s put life on hold.
The pandemic is also shining a light on things that were broken long before this crisis. That’s good in the long run, but people are feeling the pain right now, at this moment. That’s what keeps me grounded.
HOW I SHIFTED MY ENERGY
In the back of my head at any given time is the fact that our universe is 13.8 billion years old.
A fact that immediately brings to mind humility, perspective, and stillness. We’re just passing through this place. In as little as 100 years, this will all be forgotten.
It also brings feelings of gratitude, pride, and responsibility. We get to be here – right here, right now. How might we ensure that this experience (yes, of life) is fulfilling, meaningful, and productive for everyone? How can we do the most good right where we’re at, in this moment?
That’s where I’m at.
I’m ready to start thinking about possibility, creativity, and change.
If you’re not, know that that’s ok. Know that it’s ok to be right where you are. (I found this New York Times article from the Smarter Living column helpful).
We’re all experiencing this differently.
If you are ready to start thinking about what’s next and reflecting on how you can help in this pandemic, then buckle up – because we’re not going back to “normal” after this, we’re going to make it better.
WHAT I’M THINKING ABOUT
If this is your first time on the 321 Liftoff blog, welcome.
Every week, I share educational content, stories of entrepreneurial triumph, and other information to help people start and grow their businesses with confidence. But, it’s also my way to inject a little hope, optimism, and imagination into the world – things we could all use right now.
This pandemic has us hyper-focused on getting through this crisis one week at a time. That’s important, but it can also be soul-crushing.
We need to do both: manage the present and imagine the future.
There’s enough smart content out there about the former, I’m going to focus on the latter because it’s going to take a tidal wave of entrepreneurial hustle and creativity to move society forward once this crisis is over.
WHAT I’VE BEEN REFLECTING ON
As we all know, a crisis has a way of bringing out either the best or worst in people. It can bring about feelings of intense creativity and fear. Humility and pig-headedness. Vision and retreat.
Personally, I’ve been deeply inspired seeing people step up and do whatever they can to help others in the pandemic right now.
Whether it’s using your 3D-Printer to make face shields or using your expertise in remote collaboration to help students and teachers use Zoom for the first time, there are real stories of hope out there.
I’ve been thinking hard about how I can help in the pandemic in my community too – in a way that’s authentic to me and my strengths.
Well, after some reflection, it dawned on me: I have a knack for telling stories, I regularly help people shift their energy and clarify their thinking, and I’m obsessed with business strategy.
The same combination of things that led me to start 321 Liftoff could be helpful in this moment – only now I have a modest platform.
WHAT I’M GOING TO DO TO HELP IN THE PANDEMIC
I’m going to use this platform to give a voice to small business owners in the Twin Cities, helping drive some traffic to their businesses, and – hopefully – inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs who will start their businesses after this crisis.
So, for the next several weeks, I’m going to be sharing interviews I’ve done with small business owners from around the Twin Cities.
Real stories. real people. and real businesses. Some are people I know and have worked with, and all are operating businesses I respect, study, or enjoy frequently as a customer.
In each interview, you’ll hear stories from the owners about their experiences and their challenges. And, I’ll highlight the various entrepreneurial and leadership lessons that I think are noteworthy.
I’ll also share how they are adapting to the pandemic.
Selfishly, conducting these interviews – some via zoom, some over email – was an incredibly fun and energizing experience. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
And, as Seth Godin likes to say: I hope you’ll learn something, but more importantly, I hope you’ll do something with it.
WHERE TO READ THOSE STORIES
I’ll share those small business stories right here, on the 321 Liftoff blog.
If you’d like to get notified when new articles and interviews come out, you can subscribe to my blog using the form at the bottom of the page. When you subscribe, you’ll also get a free ebook: 5 steps to clarifying your business idea.
Next week, I’ll be sharing my interview with the co-founder and general manager of Cardigan Donuts in Minneapolis.
HOW YOU CAN HELP IN THE PANDEMIC
Help right now doesn’t have to mean science-ing your way to a vaccine and saving the world. Experts are already hard at work on that.
Help where you’re at: what help can you give to your local community with the skills and abilities you possess today? Try this:
- Think about a time when you last had to creatively solve a problem. What superpowers and natural abilities helped you do it?
- Think about the passions, super-powers, and abilities you possess today. What are they?
- Think about something important to you that might be impacted right now. How could you creatively apply your passions, super-powers, and abilities to that problem this time?
- What’s the biggest, boldest thing you could do?
- What’s the smallest, little step you could take?
- Now, what’s something in between those two? Find a happy medium that stretches you, but that’s not too far outside your comfort zone.
- Get started. I’d encourage you to subscribe and use the free ebook: 5 steps to clarifying your business idea. It just might help you clarify how you can help out right now.
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line. It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating ven for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok. It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself. And, that’s why it’s worth it.
ONE MORE THING
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.
It can feel messy – it zigs and zags, it starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.
It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.
And, that’s why it’s worth it.