21 March 2020

The Impact Covid Has On My Business

It took me a while. Last week I still was convinced that Covid would not affect me so much, while today, only a couple of days later, I really sense the seriousness of the situation. Yes, my source of income has currently broken down. And at the same time I feel that the imposed slowdown it’s a great opportunity to take stock, listen to what feels right and to let new things evolve.

1. No clients, no money, but a bucket full of love and care

As coach and facilitator I come into play when leaders want to increase their impact and effectiveness and when leadership teams need to increase their effectiveness in working together so that they are able to manage their challenges successfully. So about 90 percent of my work takes place face to face, which turns out not to be an advantage in times of Covid.

The moment of truth has finally occurred a few days ago: I actually don’t have a single customer assignment anymore. The last cancellation of a 3-day team offsite came in this week. In my 5 years of self-employment I had a couple of moments in which I imagined that scenario and I felt quite anxious about it.

To be completely honest, I never really believed that it would really happen. Now it’s here.

Interestingly I don’t feel any fear, any anxiety. I am totally calm. Financially I can manage for a while and if needed I can fall back on a few savings. Or I could ask my father for help, which, however, causes quite a bit discomfort in me. My hope is of course that all this won’t be needed.

Zoom check in with my community of facilitators

I am also aware that I am not alone in this situation, which is kind of comforting. I am part of some wonderful communities of coaches and we established regular slots for exchanges on Zoom, in which we just listen to and are there for each other in whatever way needed.

This feeling of support and belonging is very soothing and uplifting. At the end I am full of trust that all will be fine.

2. Is the way I’m working still working?

Covid somehow turns everything upside down and I have to ask myself whether my way of working still can be maintained in the future. I am talking about the 90 percent face-to-face work. Virtual workshops seem to be the magical formula on which everybody is focusing now. I do have some experience in running virtual sessions, but I know that much more is possible. The way I decided to get a feeling for what might land best is joining diverse online events of people who work in my field. So typical me, I joined a couple of different sessions, all within two days and after this marathon my head is spinning and my spine and butt are aching. So my biggest findings until now: less is more, plenty of breaks and get people interacting and moving as much as possible. More insights to come I guess. And yet...

...I don’t believe that virtual can completely replace face-to-face. Good luck we are social animals.

3. My client offer: real connection on a human level

Talking about virtual sessions, I find it pretty overwhelming how many virtual offers are now being created for the sake of supporting the client. I am not sure if this is really what’s needed at the moment. My desire these days rather is to connect with people on a deep human level, regardless of whether it’s a friend or client. What I mean is simply picking up the phone and calling someone because I want to see how they are in these crazy times, what impact the current situation has on them, what they experience, what they feel. I just like to listen to their stories and be there. Sometimes it also happens that I can come up with some tip or advice for the situation they are in, but that naturally results from the conversation.

I experience that people are incredibly happy about these simple check in calls and so am I.

A caring connection on a human level forms the fundament of a good relationship, that’s my believe, only then more can evolve.

4. My experience: Contraction precedes Expansion

I find it fascinating that a little virus forces the whole world to slow down. Personally that makes me very thoughtful and I see this as an invitation to me to pause and reflect about what I generally put my energy into. It’s a good time for introspection and contraction, to listen to myself and see what wants to show.

I have three top favorites where I “hear” the most. The first is meditation. At the beginning of a meditation I do a body scan and with every outbreath I consciously breath away the tensions in all parts of my body. This in itself has the most relaxing and grounding effect on me already. The longer I sit in stillness, the more my mind calms and the more I ‘hear’ what my overall wisdom wants to tell me. After a meditation I am always very centered, mentally, physically and emotionally.

My second favorite is a walk out in nature (as long as there is no total shut down). I have the advantage that I live in the mountains, so there is the most beautiful nature around me. I either go for my standard walk along a mountain creek or I have my local mountain with a beautiful hike that is easy to do in three hours. Hiking in nature has something very meditative and when I walk in silence I can connect well with all my senses which brings me in deep connection with myself. At the moment it’s particularly nice as spring is already knocking at the door.

And then there is favorite number three, which is simply sitting on a stone in my mountain creek and staring into the water. After a while I have the feeling that all my thoughts are washed away with the flow of water and my mind is just empty. That’s an incredibly beautiful and relaxing state and this is when I am really open to listen.

I realize that taking time to listen to myself gives me room for expansion, for things to emerge. And boy, there is a lot that wants to emerge at the moment. I realized for example that one of the business homepages I have no longer matches who I am and what I want to stand for. So I am currently taking the opportunity to review what it is that I stand for now and what it means for my client offers. Then I saw the invitation of Judith to join the “Quarantexte” weekly blog challenge and I immediately noticed that I caught fire. I felt already energized when I thought about it as I had written a couple of blogs a year ago and remembered how much fun it was. So here I am, this is the first one. I also realize that my creativity gets the space to come out. While I was writing on my text yesterday, I suddenly had this inspiration which resulted in a short fairy tale about Covi, a loving little virus who helps mankind to realize what it is that matters. I suddenly also had a very concrete idea of how I could convert a planned (and postponed) face-to-face workshop for a client into a meaningful series of Zoom sessions. I checked in with the client and he was very open for the idea, so I am currently working on a design. Isn’t that great?

As soon as playfulness and lightness come into play, things start running smoothly.

It really feels that I am breathing more fully again, by simply following were my energy takes me. And I am totally convinced that in the end this is an excellent “investment” in myself and thus in my business.

5. A possible perspective on Covid

For me, our whole current situation is reflected in the natural law of polarity. Small is only possible if there is something bigger. Good only makes sense when there is evil. Everything has its opposite pole and if one side is emphasized too much, we conjure up the opposite pole. As much as Covid currently restricts us and even threatens the lives of some, there is also the good that he brings. Nature literally can breathe again and recovers from us humans in an insane speed which in the end is advantageous for us again. So, one possible perspective on Covid could also be that he’s among us from a place of love, to help us to preserve our own living space.

With love from Covi, a fairy tale

Once upon a time there was a little virus called Covi. He was a loving little guy, but quite lazy and only took action when he needed to. One day the time had come. After watching humanity for a while trying unsuccessfully to get back in balance with nature, he decided he had to help. He pondered for a while how he can re-connect people and nature in love when he came up with a brilliant idea. He paralyzed mankind collectively. Nature was very grateful to him, finally she could breath and bloom again. She was happy to demonstrate to mankind how quickly she can recover if she gets the space she needs. And mankind? He brought a bit of drama into the situation as he knew that otherwise mankind would not listen to him. He locked them up at their home for a while and made absolutely sure, that everyone was given the opportunity to slow down, take a breath and think about what really matters and how they want to position themselves in life. And as long as they haven’t found out what counts, Covi and his siblings are ready to help.