Now even more so…

How are you, friend? Where are you on the rollercoaster right now?

Like many, I’m up and down, exhausted and hopeful, trying and then resting. I’m incredibly grateful to be home, safe, well, with my humans. I’m grateful to be able to show up here on my blog, occasionally on social media, and for my clients and groups.

The conversations with clients and the things I’ve been thinking about have often brought moments of “This! We need to think about THIS!” shortly followed by, “But we have always needed to think about that…”

I’ve started naming it the Now Even More So principle.

Here are some examples:

Comparison

We know, don’t we, that comparison is the thief of joy. Right now, it’s not only the thief of joy, but also the thief of sanity and survival.

While real life is kind of shut down – shops are closed, we’re not going out – the internet is very, very alive. And some of the internet is amazing, supportive, truly great.

But I know that for many of us, comparison has increased dramatically. We’re looking to our peers and our leaders and our favourites to show us what to do. We’re not sure what we should be doing. And so we slip into a comfortable groove amongst all the uncertainty:

We compare ourselves to others.

Friends, if this has been you, and most likely is has been, I offer compassion. It is natural to compare. It’s sooooo easy. But no one is you. No one has your exactly skills or experience or situation. And no, you don’t have to keep up with anyone right now.

Whatever you can do to reduce this very human form of self-torture, prioritise it! Don’t drive yourself insane.

Money

I think this is where a lot of us have been hanging out, too. The money worries.

Again, we can worry about money at the best of times, can’t we? And yet Now Even More So.

Clients who don’t usually worry about money are freaking out. People who’ve been in business for a really long time are struggling. Because none of us have ever been here before.

I thoroughly recommend working with an accountant to get the best financial advice for your business, and reviewing the government’s guidance on what you are eligible for.

Know that any situation you’re in right now is not your fault. It’s really easy (for me, too) to blame ourselves, to think that we should have prepared more or that this has hit us harder because we messed up.

This is not your fault.

Any time we worry about money, it hinders creativity, which is ultimately how we get out of sticky situations. The aim, as ever, is to release the worry – or at least put it on pause – while you allow your wisest, most creative, most resourceful self to be in charge.

You have survived. You may need to make hard decisions. You may need to ask for help. But right now, you just have to make the next decision, the one right in front of you.

Discernment

There are, on any given day, about a billion possibilities. This is still true. There are SO MANY options available to you.

I find this a comforting and encouraging thought.

But it also means we have to flex our discernment muscles. During normal times (remember them?), we practice discernment and prioritisation. Well, Now Even More So.

Discernment isn’t about making perfect decisions. I repeat: this is not about perfection!

It’s about choosing the things that matter to you, and the things that don’t. Sometimes, it’s about choosing ONE thing that matters most, and letting others take a back seat for the time being.

It’s about saying no to one thing so that you can say yes to a better thing.

Discernment is a muscle. It requires head and heart. In these uncharted waters, we need both Now Even More So.

What else?

There are more of the Now Even More Sos. Imposter syndrome, focusing on one thing at a time, grieving past decisions, creating community, marketing with authenticity… Not to mention environmentalism, activism, dismantling the patriarchy and white supremacy. They needed our attention before, and now they need it even more.

We’re still going. Even if you business is on pause or hibernating or becoming a different size or shape, you’re still going.

Even more than before, it’s vital that you believe in yourself. That you keep putting one foot in front of the other (even if it’s right back into bed). That you live closer to your dreams than your fears.

Support

I’m running weekly live calls through my Progress not Perfection membership, which is currently Pay What You Can. Join us on Mondays at 12pm, and get access to past recordings and resources when you sign up.

I’m also putting together a directory of small businesses who are still delivering, offering freebies, or sharing services. Add your details here.

Things that have been helping

I find I have so much I want to say, with not enough time or energy to get it written and making sense and out there.

So this week, I’m lowering the bar, and showing up to share a few things that I’ve found helpful, mostly podcasts and articles, this week.

Note: if you’re overwhelmed, some of these resources may be helpful, but please don’t add to the noise in your head if you need quiet.

This podcast from the Kate and Mike Show by Kate Northrup and her husband, Mike. Great perspective on taking it slowly as we process this, calming the nervous system, and pivoting your business.

Erm, HI, Brene Brown started a podcast and it is wonderful! Unlocking Us is exactly what I need, now and always.

This conversation with Jane Lindsay on Ruth Poundwhite’s Creatively Human podcast was brilliant!

Read this article if you’ve been feeling the pressure to be really productive. It’s really well written and such a relief to read.

I started Untamed by Glennon Doyle, and it’s great. Plus she’s been posting great “family meeting” IGTV episodes.

What’s been helping you? I’m all ears!

I’ll be sharing more as it clarifies and I have time to post it.

Pivoting your offering in these tough times

Let’s start off with a massive assumption / disclaimer: None of us are looking to “profit off a terrible situation”. We’re not looking to take advantage of anyone, especially those suffering. If you’re here to try to make a quick quid based on scarcity and fear, this isn’t for you.

This post is for people who want to make an authentic contribution through their skills, talents, and creations. (I kind of hope all my posts, courses, and services have always been for those people.)

Marketing your business may feel weird during this time. I’ve heard that from several of my clients and Progress not Perfection members, and I get it.

If you’re a jeweller or a sewist or a designer – or indeed anyone selling primarily gifts – it’s easy to tell yourself that there’s no point, that this isn’t what’s important right now.

And let’s acknowledge that if you could be making hand sanitiser or medical masks or loo roll (eye roll), you would.

Should you keep posting out products, potentially adding more pressure to the postal service and risk to others? Only you can decide.

My initial gut reaction is to keep going if you can. We need boosts to our spirits, as well as to the economy.

But I can also see the argument to shut down, reduce risk, and reduce pressure.

What I do know is that you can pivot.

We’re being asked to see our businesses, our economy, and our concept of money-and-value in a new way.

A whole new set of needs are arising for a population in extraordinary circumstances.

Chances are, you can meet some of those needs.

If you can sew and mend people’s clothes so they don’t have to buy new, do that.

If you’re a jeweller and can reimagine family heirlooms or repair beloved pieces, do that.

If you’re great at making your hair look good without a hairdresser, please tell us how!

If you’re a storyteller, tell us stories.

If you’re great at making your cobbled-together dinner or homemade coffee look restaurant-quality, show us!

If you can help us to connect with far-away relatives and friends, please make it easy and help us do that. (I just want to send my Granny photos of my 8-month-old.)

If you can help us to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions, tell us allllll about it.

If you have great store cupboard recipes and ideas, we’re all ears.

If you have tips or activities or creative approaches to entertaining kids of all ages, my goodness we’re going to need them!

If you can provide anything to soothe, calm, organise, or encourage us, please show us, and make it easy for us to get it.

What if it’s not relevant to your current business? Does it matter?

Yes and no.

If you’ve got existing products or services that serve your existing customers in this new normal, carry on. Keep going. Share, with thought and good intentions.

You might find you’ve got things you can offer your local community, but doesn’t really work online.

You might have new ideas (hello, creative minds) to serve your existing audience. Create, get feedback. Listen to what your people need, what they’re struggling with. Create accordingly.

And then again you might have fabulous ideas that serve a different audience… That’s great too! But note that that’s also the category that needs the most marketing effort. Not impossible by any stretch of the imagination, but be ready.

Consider:

  • Digital downloads for people to print at home (colouring pages, fresh artwork, helpful lists and reminders, puzzles…)
  • Running a live workshop online
  • Creating a mini ecourse to teach or guide your audience through something you know about

Do not underestimate the power of art, of gifts, of beauty. Do not underestimate the power of creativity and connection.

We need pick-me-ups and lovely things to send each other. We need to celebrate birthdays and friendships and incredible NHS staff and all the amazing people keeping things going right now.

You may not need to make a huge change. It’s probably just a pivot.

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