If you said to anybody 6 months ago that we would be facing a world recession, people would have laughed and said you’re crazy. The economy was doing well. The future was bright. Things were going just fine. Then Covid-19 hit. And with it, the focus changed – and so did behaviour. The “Covid Blubber” took over as lock-downs came into force and many watched endless TV to kill time. However, not everybody did that. Others used their newfound “free” time they suddenly had to pursue their dreams. Which did you do? You see, what we do today DOES matter.
Some businesses are doing better than others. That is just the luck of the draw. I feel especially for those in the travel and tourism industry. How do you fancy waking up one morning and finding that your government has closed its borders and through no fault of yours, your business income plummeted to zero overnight. Those in the airline industry is contending, not just with a very much reduced income, they continue to have extremely high overheads. What can you use an aeroplane for? The hospitality business is another industry that was badly affected as thousands of casual workers got laid off.
Some business owners in affected industries are coping better than others. Some have just cried for government handouts to help them weather the storm while they wait out the pandemic. Others have pivoted and adapted their businesses and moved on, carving new trails. Which will you be? Whatever you choose, it will dictate whether your business survive this pandemic and come out stronger and better on the “other side”. Your decisions today does matter.
LESSONS FROM HISTORY
When the GFC struck in 2008, many panicked and expected the worst. However, not everybody panicked. Some saw this period as a wonderful opportunity. Do you know that some of the biggest companies today were born then? Whatsapp, which is currently worth around $19b surfaced in 2009 followed by Instagram in 2010. Who hasn’t heard of Uber? They surfaced in 2009. We’re now in a similar business landscape. One thing I know – out of this pandemic, some new businesses will be born. And I can’t wait to see what those will be. It might even be yours!
IS THE END REALLY THE END?
Covid-19 has spelt the end for many hospitality businesses. Many restaurants and café chose to close rather than struggle through. There is no doubt that many more businesses especially in the hospitality and tourism area will not survive this. However, rather than give up, my preference is to think of your business like a phoenix. The phoenix represents transformation, death and rebirth in its fire. It is the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal. The end, in this situation, should not mean the end.
You’re probably asking what would a business blogger know about the pain and struggles that hospitality businesses are going through? Actually, a lot! You see, I wear 2 hats – one as a business mentor, the other as the owner operator of The Long Table Perth, a catering company that specialise in grazing tables. The catering business took a big hit from Covid-19. All our bookings were cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Enquiries dried up. Turnover dropped to ZERO overnight.
I should be panicking. I’m not. I’ll tell you why. It’s not because I’m extra clever or extra rich. It’s not because I’m arrogant and too confident for my own good. It’s because I have spent years working on my personal growth and developing my entrepreneurial mindset for times such as this. It is this that will see me through. You see, what you do today does matter – especially in business.
Out of the ashes, a new complementary business Black Swan Catering Co will rise to now encompass corporate catering and eventually home meals as well as the much loved grazing tables. It is not the end of the catering business. The catering business will emerge stronger and better than before. Of that, I am certain.
WHY PURSUE PERSONAL GROWTH
I personally found that It taught me many lessons that I will carry with me through all my businesses. I know that it’s this pursuit of personal growth that has stood me in good stead when it came to meeting the challenges that Covid-19 threw at me. You see, what I do “today” does matter. I am who I am today because there were many “todays” before that shaped me. That belief in myself, that I (or with my mastermind group) can figure it out, was not something that happened overnight.
WHO MUST I BECOME
When I decided to pursue personal growth, I asked “Who must I become to achieve what I want to achieve”. So I focused on building my character, skills, mindsets and habits. It’s a life-long journey that will never stop. And it was because I got so much out of it and the effect it had on my business was beyond expectations, that I ended up developing a wholistic business mentoring program that I now take my clients/students through. I know this Wheel of Success works!
In asking that question, “Who must I become”, I went through an exercise that I learnt from one of my mentors. Go ahead and do this exercise for yourself.
See yourself as the new you. Can you name some of the accomplishments you have achieved? What did you do to get to where you got to? What decisions did you make that got you off on the right foot? What decisions did you make that changed your mindset to enable you accomplish what you accomplished? Did you make the decision that you would fail? Did you make the decision to not change because it was all too hard? For most of us, we tend to only change when the pain of staying as we are becomes greater than the pain of discipline, persistence and hard work. There is a saying in map making: “You can’t get there from here. You can only get here from there.” It is easier to start from the destination and work back to the beginning.
LESSONS THAT MOULDED MY THINKING
I have been influenced by my environment, the books I read, the mentors I have and the friends I keep. I’ve learnt lessons that has been invaluable to me in adapting to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
1. It’s not what life throws at you, it’s how you respond does matter
Life throws us all some curved balls. Do we simply lie down and accept it as fate? Napoleon Hill said, “Your attitude towards problems, difficulties and adversities is the most important factor in overcoming them.” In other words, play the victim and the chances are that you will never overcome the problem. Real difficulties are not the problem. It’s the imaginary difficulties in your own mind that stops you dead in your tracks.
I’ve learnt to ask “HOW can I overcome this”. It’s a waste of time to waste time complaining about how unfair it is, or even ask the “why me” question. Worrying will not resolve the matter. You could be waiting a long time for someone else to solve the problem. Asking HOW will get your mind working on the problem. It took me a long time to inculcate that HOW mindset till it became second nature to me. Today does matter because it prepares you for the many more todays to come.
I haven’t always been able to find the answer. One of my mentors, John Maxwell says that some of his best ideas come from other people! If you’re struggling to find an answer, I recommend that you take this to a mastermind group, and the HOW will come up.
2. We Must Never Take Advantage of Crisis Situations to Profit
A time of crisis is not the time to try to take advantage of others. Now is the time to extend a helping hand and do what you can. What saddens me is to see there are people taking advantage at the very time when they should be helping where they can.
For example, the Australia government rolled out the Jobkeeper legislation to very quickly support those industries suffering the brunt of the coronavirus – a fixed $750 a week paid to the employer to pass on to their employees to keep the employees on their payroll. Good on them! However, as with all quickly drafted legislation, the holes soon appeared. Because of the way the legislation was drafted, many casual workers ended up earning that $750 for just a single 4 hour shift a week. It was far more than they ever earned and they didn’t have to work. Whilst many employees did the right thing and worked some extra shifts to help out, there were just as many who refused, preferring instead to take advantage. I know one thing – these are the very employees who will not have a job later. That’s very short sighted thinking. What you do today does matter.
3. Leadership Does Matter
John Maxwell, voted the No.1 leadership expert in the world by Inc. said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” The Covid-19 pandemic brought this right to the front and centre. One of the attributes of great leadership is the ability to see before others see. In early April, I wrote a blog on how doing business after Covid-19 will be different. 3 months on, I am watching it unfold before my eyes.
John Maxwell wrote a book Leadershift in 2018. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to get a copy. While the specifics aren’t there, if you’ve read Leadershift you would know what is happening. The world is moving faster than ever. To go forward, we need to move faster. You need the leadership skills to help you keep up. Bad leadership gets accentuated during a crisis. Sadly, we can see examples of this from the leaders of many countries.
Difficult times, such as what we’re going through right now, are the times when leadership is needed the most. You must develop your leadership skills today, so that you’re ready for the challenge tomorrow. Leadership really does matter. And what you do today does matter.
There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” What will you build?
4. Learning Does Matter
There’s a statistic that’s doing the rounds on the internet that states 42% of college graduates never read another book after college. I have not been able to find anything that confirms this figure. However, irrespective of whether it’s 42%, 10% or 60%, the important fact is what the opposite of this is. Do you want to know one habit that super successful people have in common? They read. A LOT! A study of 1200 wealthy people found that they all have reading as a common past time. The key is also in WHAT you read. Don’t just read anything. Novels are entertaining. But they do not grow you. Be highly selective about what you read – choose to be educated rather than entertained.
Buffet reads between 600 and 1000 pages per day when he was beginning his investing career, and still devotes about 80 percent of each day to reading. And he’s not alone. My mentor John Maxwell reads 2-3 books per week. He told us that he ended up taking 3 Speed Reading classes (he’s a slow learner LOL) so that he could read more!
I’ve taken this advice to heart. Today, I always have a stack of books sitting on my desk waiting to be read. I buy all our books from Book Depository because they give FREE delivery worldwide and regularly discounts the recommended retail price. So while it may sometimes be advertised at a cheaper price on Amazon, the total cost, including shipping can often be higher especially for those who live outside the United States.
5. Being Intentional Each Day Does Matter
Learn and practice the habits and mindset necessary to make that difference every day, wherever you are, with whatever you have. Why is intentional living the ultimate key to a life of success and significance?
Because when you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit to what you can do. You can transform yourself, your family, your community, and your nation. When enough people do that, they can change the world.
When the pandemic started and it was obvious many were feeling helpless and fearful, I set up a Facebook Group “I Can’t Do Much But I Can Do This”. When the need for this group dissipated as people learnt to live with the effects of the coronavirus, the group was changed to The Power of One. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Don’t leave your footprints in the sand where they will wash way; let Intentional Living show you how to leave footprints in the hearts and lives of those you love, and leave a legacy that will last. Intentional Living is about living a life that matters — not just about improving your life.
6. Learning to Trust the Process
If you’re anything like me, then the “process” is just too slow. I want it and I want it NOW. Unfortunately, wanting it now will not happen for most of us – unless we happen to be the spoilt brat of a super-rich parent. It is process. Persistence is required. It might not happen today. It might not even happen tomorrow.
One thing is certain. If you apply the necessary discipline and hard work required, AND persist, you WILL see the results. Trust the process. A year from today, you will be so much further ahead you would wonder why you even doubted yourself.
7. Understanding Human Behaviour and the Power of the Mind Does Matter
When it comes to personal development, you’ll hear that positive thinking is a must. Many then take this to be the be all and end all for personal development. It’s not. By itself, positive thinking never has and never will work! No doubt many will totally disagree with me on this especially if you have read the Power of your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy. (By the way, if you have not read this book, put it on your must-read list. It takes the teaching of Napolean Hill on the subconscious mind to the next level.) In the book Murphy explores how you can use your subconscious mind to, amongst other things, achieve great wealth. So why did I say that positive thinking does not work?
Let me specific …
Positive thinking on its own does not work. If it was that simple, there would be more people who mastered this art. And it explains why it never worked for me when I first tried it – so I promptly put it down to it being just another snake oil talk. Have you heard about the salesman who decided that he would do some positive thinking and win his company’s Salesman of the Year award. He wanted to win because when he wins the prize, he would win a large sum of money. And that large sum would then enable him to quit the job that he hates! It wasn’t surprising therefore that he didn’t win the award. Napolean Hill said, “Opportunity will not interest itself in the person who isn’t interested in it.”
There is more to positive thinking than just thinking and believing. This took me down a pathway of learning human behaviour and ended up with my becoming a Certified Human Behaviour Consultant. You don’t have to go this far. But you do need to know enough. Undertanding human behaviour has been one of the most useful things I’ve learnt and continue to apply in all my businesses.
8. Focusing and Taking Action Does Matter
I heard an acronym for FOCUS – Follow One Course Until Successful. Very apt!
I’ve learnt that I must take action to support my goals. Let’s get back to the old favourite of losing weight. Sitting on the couch and watching TV about how to lose weight is not taking action. Browsing the internet for the latest diet fads and not following through does not constitute taking action.
You have to implement together with a huge dose of discipline. No exceptions are permitted. Once you make one exception, the second will follow. And before you know it, no amount of positive thinking will help. If you spend your days at the beach, then your “persistent action” will give you a beautiful suntan. It will not give you the results that you want. How do you keep motivated? You must know WHY. If you know WHY, the motivation and discipline will follow.
Brendon Burchard said that success is 50% philosophy and 50% implementation. Lack of implementation is one of the biggest reasons why many do not achieve that which they set out to do. Implementation is not always as easy as it sounds.
Using the weight example again, I can desire to be at my perfect weight. The chances are I will be highly motivated and start an exercise regime to make it happen. Then the old habits come back. Without putting some strategies into place, old habits will return. Sad but true! Do you know that the busiest time at the gym is in January of each year? Yep! That good old New Year’s resolution kicks in, the guilt factor sets in and you head to the gym. 63% that start their New Year’s resolution fail within the first month. By February, this figure jumps to 80%. What strategies can you put in place? Will you do whatever it takes to make sure that you do not fail at the implementation stage?
WHERE TO FROM HERE
So, to summarise … Should we be worried? Yes, we should. And so should every person affected by this pandemic – that means ALL of us. A lot of businesses will be going broke. But, am I worried? No, I’m not. It’s because I’m still doing things today that I know will set my pathway towards a great future. The world is not returning to “normal’ anytime soon. The ramifications for what’s happening globally now is too wide. Remember though, the new “normal” can be much better than what we’ve left behind. There’s still a lot to be positive about. The goals you set yourself and your business just 6 months ago may not happen. It will likely have to change. So, go ahead and set new goals. You see, what we do today DOES matter. It is what we do today that will see us through tomorrow.
About the Author:
Patsy Lim’s business and financial background (having qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1980), together with her entrepreneurial spirit enables her to apply a potent blend of strong financial and accounting expertise, deep practical business experience, and entrepreneurial flair and creativity to complex business problems. As an entrepreneur, she understands the issues that an entrepreneur faces. So, unlike some accountants who only know the theory of business, Patsy has had hands-on experience of what it means to be IN business, to start a business, to grow a business, and most of all, to manage a business when times inevitably get tough!