Lockdowns in 2020 have brought business operations to a halt, leaving no industry sector untouched. The second wave closures brought a sense of novelty, amid the stress, evoking a sense of being on holidays or at home, especially if you were in a place like South Australia.
But the second more significant lockdowns in cities such as Melbourne and states like Victoria are a different beast altogether. Entrepreneurship Facilitator, Nic Bolto, from South East Melbourne, shared his experiences about surviving 112 days of lockdown, alongside his clients.
Progress to contain the virus can be shattered at any moment, he said. “It’s a piece of glass.” In terms of control, the second wave is much worse. It’s unnerving, boring, and challenges your perceptions about survival.
As an entrepreneur or business owner, you know how difficult it is to stop. “We want to break the rules and have our vision forced through, no matter what,” Nick added. A reluctance to make big moves takes over.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
With a second lockdown, there’s a high level of common experience. What Nic likes to call: “holy crap moments.” Say you’re a runner, a gym junkie or someone who always eats out, all those things are removed from you.
You have to get really busy attending to your basic psychological needs – water, food, shelter, and sleep. Instead of focusing on being the best person you can be, you shift to simply trying to survive. It can help explain the hording of toilet paper and canned food.
It’s a major historic event. Nic has helped people “put their businesses down”, those who run operations where the cost to pivot isn’t worthwhile. He touches on ‘COVID brain’ and the need to get a third-party audit or review to help you see where you’re at.
Focus on the long term
Depression and anxiety are features of a second lockdown. You’re used to being in control and this is hard to surrender. Put taking care of yourself as a priority. Use this time to set yourself up for the way you want to live. Neuropsychologists say the habit formation ‘sweet-spot’ is about 28 days, so it’s a unique time to develop new habits.
As for your clients and audience, remember people still need things. They require safety, security and entertainment more than ever. So how can you give them this? If you’re trustworthy, reliable and available during a tough time, it’ll help forge closer emotional bonds.
Expect the environment to be shaky for some time. Always be ready to respond, as it can change at any moment. And most importantly, only do what you can do. Your productivity will undoubtedly dip. It’s easy to get complacent. You’ll suddenly have to reconcile what’s professional (Zoom calls, while cooking). Things will be different and that’s okay.
In the months and years to come, there will continue to be a perception of: ‘is this okay?’ Take this opportunity to consider your Why, then your How. Ask yourself what’s really important. “The virus is an amazingly social thing. Tell your story about COVID’s impact, wrapped in your goals and aspirations. This is a time to connect on a deeper level.”
Adaptability is one of the most important traits of succeeding in business. When you look at the lockdown from this character-building perspective, you can see it in a new light.
Do you need support to help your business thrive? Book a free one-on-one coaching and mentoring session with the Australian Government funded Entrepreneurship Facilitator Service.