One Year Later: Lessons I Learned From Having COVID

It has been a year since our world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obviously our lives have changed dramatically in the last 12 months or so and some of those changes will last forever.

COVID is no stranger to me on a personal level. I tested positive for the virus in late March of 2020 then spent an entire month quarantined in my bedroom – and nowhere else – as I slowly got rid of the virus.

Initially, from a physical standpoint, the hardest thing was getting through about three days of extremely high fevers where I would wake up in the middle of the night (usually around 3 a.m.) completely soaked in my sweat. After that passed, a persistent cough, and congestion in my chest area, became an annoying consequence of having COVID.

Also, late afternoon each day I was feeling exhausted.

Experiencing COVID first hand taught me many lessons on a personal level. First and foremost, having support from family, friends and others is critical in getting you through a major crisis like this.

Taking care of yourself both physically and mentally is also extremely important in getting you through something of this magnitude.

And attitude is crucial. A good attitude that focuses on hope, rather than despair, and on being positive, rather than being a nabob of negativity, speeds up the healing process.

But the more I think about COVID, the more I realize there are also lessons to be learned from a business standpoint.

Here are just some of them:

1. The word pivot is frequently used these days to describe what many businesses have done through the pandemic – some by choice, some by necessity. But being agile and being able to adapt to the changing environment and adopt new business practices and ideas is critical when facing an economic crisis;

2. COVID has taught us how critically important technology and the digital world is today. As a business, if you haven’t embraced this yet, it’s not too late. But make no mistake about it, you do have to embrace this reality or you will slowly but surely be out of business eventually;

3. Be prepared. There’s an old saying by Benjamin Franklin about failing to prepare is really preparing to fail. Oh how true that is. While we can’t look into a crystal ball and discover what will happen in the future, we can put plans, strategies and practices in place that would mitigate the risk of failure in the future should another life-changing event like COVID take place;

4. Building a foundation of connections and customers can get you through tough times. If you focus on building a good relationship with your clients, customers, connections and all stakeholders, they will be there for you in the tough times;

5. Don’t turtle. When tough economic times hit, many businesses go into their shells in the corner and just want to wait out the storm. A bad idea. This is not the time to be defensive and simply take the blows. It’s a time to be aggressive, be creative, and think boldly of success rather than failure;

6. Cut costs. This is something all businesses should be doing all the time but COVID, and any recession, will set that in motion in a hurry. Cutting the fat, streamlining operations, getting rid of what’s not necessary, seeking out efficiencies. These are all critical at any time – even when the good times roll; and

7. Adopt an environment in the workplace that embraces the idea of remote work and flexible work options for people. Obviously not all businesses can do this because of the nature of what they do. But for those that can, it’s time to leave the dinosaur age of workplace culture and create cultures that are forward thinking to both attract and retain talent – and to foster better productivity.

One thing you learn about life as you get older is that change is constant. Whether you’re an individual or a business you have to learn to adopt and adapt to the change in your current reality.

For businesses, without being overly dramatic, it truly does mean life or death.

(Connect with me if you would like to learn more about how I can help tell your story, share your message and amplify it through different digital platforms)

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