None of us knows exactly how life and business will change following this crisis and none of us is immune from worry. Even if we're fortunate enough to be financially secure, we see our families, friends, neighbors and clients struggle. Day after day the news prompts us to wring our hands, but handwringing only exacerbates the problem. Here are five things you can do to not only weather this storm, but emerge stronger than ever. It starts with you:
- Nurture yourself. Remind yourself that you can handle whatever happens. You've managed your way through problems and disappointments before and, if necessary, you can again. That reassurance can help you stop worrying and focus on silver linings. Take time to go for nature walks near home, toss a Frisbee with your kids, watch a movie with your spouse and enjoy family meals together. Worrying won't help anyone and will make you less effective, so lighten up! What are you doing to take care of yourself?
- Hug your clients - virtually. Start by doing excellent work, then ramp up your client service. Client service is always important, but never more than when clients are frightened. Be visible to your clients. Reach out to clients every single day. Many are feeling isolated and all will appreciate the attention. If they're struggling, help them prioritize their needs. What's critical now? What can wait for a few months? What changes might occur or opportunities might emerge as we move through this crisis? If a client becomes inactive, check in to see how they're doing. Let your clients know how much you care. What are you doing to hug your clients?
- Market yourself. Note that some of the activities in these five categories overlap. Make those daily calls to clients and prospects. What do your clients and prospects need to know? Anticipate their changing needs and demonstrate that you and your firm are ready and able to meet those needs. Deliver content via social media, blogging and webinars to provide value to your existing and prospective clients and grow your reputation as a thoughtleader in your marketplace. What are you doing to enhance your visibility and market yourself?
- Invest in yourself. This is a great time to learn something new, whether for pleasure or for practical business application. Have you always wanted to learn Spanish? This might be the perfect time to do it and, with our growing Spanish-speaking population, it will make you more valuable in addition to enriching your life. Do you want to add a new practice specialty? This is the time to learn, whether by Continuing Education or independent study. Take this time to master social media skills or study your clients' industries. What will make you more valuable or your life more rewarding?
- Invest in your firm. What can you do to improve your firm? Can you lead an effort to market collaboratively? Research new industries or opportunities? Cross-sell? Would your firm benefit from improving one or more of its systems? Instead of complaining, this is a perfect time to initiate change or volunteer to be part of the solution. Are you doing your part to delegate work and mentor newer associates? Overcome the urge to hold work close to the vest and spend time teaching new associates. They need it, your firm needs it. What firm need can you meet?
Bonus: Invest in your community. The need is as great as it's ever been in our lifetime. Growing numbers of people in our community are hungry and homeless. Domestic violence increases with unemployment and stay-at-home requirements. Schools need support to teach virtually and feed hungry children. Neighbors need help. Whatever you choose to do, whomever you choose to help, your service will enrich their lives and yours. How will you invest in your community?