Like many of us during these new times of a global pandemic, I am constantly consuming content, whether it be opinion pieces, blogs, articles, and data––anything to gain perspective on these unusual circumstances. Some of the content is optimistic, some producing hysteria, and some applicable. Pitango has prepared a useful document for entrepreneurs. Viola shared insights on HR trends. Ronen Nir shared valuable updates on his Facebook, and Yaniv Tros wrote an accurate article on social responsibility during this period.
In light of this new norm, I wanted to share with you, my fellow entrepreneurs, a few points on behavior, values, and how to stay strong, maintaining the right energy and balance needed throughout COVID.
Our Need For Approval
Oprah Winfrey said that the most commonly asked question throughout her years of interviewing is usually at the end of a session when the guest asks, "How was I?"
Yes, we indeed have a drive for external affirmation to ensure that we are fine, adequate, or enough. But sometimes, this need for security is to our own detriment.
So how do we strengthen ourselves to move away from this need, this insecurity?
Hone in on your values (personal and managerial), which guide your decision-making. Ask yourself what is important to you, and act accordingly. As you will likely face difficult decisions within the near future (layoffs, lost equity, reduction in salaries, etc.), identify the factors that will ground you in your decision-making processes. The easy solutions are not immediate but are rather creative solutions.
It Will Get Harder Before It Gets Easier
Your resilience, mental flexibility, and creativity are what you must invest in. This time is the ultimate test of your inner strength as you navigate working without comfortable offices, sea views, and a coffee machine. So take a deep breath and each day take a moment to assess what is essential, what is perhaps less, and proceed as such.
See this period as an opportunity. Pivot is not a bad word. Regularly consider what can be done differently to improve? Can your solution contribute to a different vertical? What aspect of your business model can be refined? This is your power as an entrepreneur, so use it.
Trust Your People
For everyone, it feels as though the ground is crumbling beneath our feet, in one form or another. It is not easy for most people to digest the many behavioral, financial, and familial changes coming at us all at once. Rigid work expectations only make it more difficult. For example, counting working hours for employees is simply unnecessary.
Now, I have a few thoughts regarding internal motivation.
Proper communication, clear messaging, a sense of togetherness, and commitment to the task will motivate your team to contribute whenever it can. Strengthen your people's sense of responsibility, value, mutual guarantee, and vision of the "greater good" in the work they do. After all, you launched a startup to bring some level of change into the world. Now, the world requires you to guide both yourself and your team using your inner moral compass.
Make sure you do your best to apply this approach to your entire set of values and business, including employees, suppliers, investors, family members, colleagues, etc. A manager who knows how to lead their people at a high level in terms of personal balances and reduce stress will win over their employees later on.
It's Time For a Winning Relationship––Share It Through Actions & Opportunities
With more time being spent at home, balancing kids, relationships, and work is not easy! Everyone is talking about equality. In the current context, there are families where one of the spouses has to physically show up for work, and be available for work at certain hours, etc. Thoughtfulness, flexibility, cooperation, and a can-do attitude are the winning ingredients to this recipe of balance. Everything is possible, so find solutions and keep up the good spirit. For example, a household could divide the hours of their day with a two-hour format for each parent to have their guaranteed time to focus. For instance, Perhaps the children are seated at noon watching a movie over popcorn while their parents work, or someone is in charge of cooking in the evening so the other will be less busy the next day. You get the idea. Guarantee, partnership, and reciprocity are essential in the day-to-day operations of a family (even a divorced one).
We, as individuals, also need to maintain our sanity. For as long as possible, get up, go for a walk along the sea or in a park, practice mindfulness, breathe, and take some quiet time to yourself. Every day and in shifts to refuel yourself with what you can. At least for myself, the sun, sea, and sand seem to do the trick.
On Corona & Children
Kids will be kids, and we are the parents–not their teachers, department heads, or fitness trainers. However, at this time, we must be a little of everything. So teach your kids some entrepreneurial values, yoga, video production, cooking, English, Hebrew, or whatever it is that each child loves.
Let the children feel who you are. Treat them as a young adult with full capabilities, leverage their skills, and most importantly, stop for a moment to be proud of your chicks, and be proud of yourself for the miracles you have brought to this world.
I branded this period for my family as our "Corona Vacation" to look at things more positively with my children. We were able to have a mature discussion that explained the meaning and values of personal responsibility. Turn the lemon into pink lemonade, do not add pressure to your life, and refrain from overreacting if there is no reason to.
Our children absorb everything from us, including our speech, body language, and tension, so be mindful that all we exude is being observed and modeled after. Every day, try to play a leading composer or particular style of music of your choice at home in the background. Enrich your children's lives through exposure and new knowledge. The time we are in is an opportunity to explain to them about dealing with change, how sometimes things are uncertain, and how we need to rely on those we love and work as a team in more complex and unconventional times.
Try to build yourself a small, healthy, and enjoyable routine within all of this lack of structure our society faces. You can do this through your habits, jokes, and time. There is no right or wrong––there is what works for you amidst our current situation.
Excellence, Perfectionism & Self-Management
1. Consider building and executing a work plan for this temporary situation. Think goals, fundraising, and roadmaps that will lead you to your desired byproduct. Each day, assess your gameplan and make adjustments to your schedule for the coming day under these guidelines.
2. Establish digital workflows and practices. Do you use Zoom or Google Hangouts? Have you designed your work environment within your home? Have you established specific hours for running regular daily updates via Slack, Microsoft Teams, or any other way to keep your lines of communication open? This is an excellent opportunity to polish your business' digital toolbox, as well as setting up online marketing and sales channels. Try things out and see what works. In short, think digitally.
3. For as long as possible, try holding in-person meetings of 2-3 people according to the provided health and safety guidelines. Meeting at the beach or in the park is good for both the mind and the team to convene, plan, move forward, and take in a little human warmth. I opened this morning like this with 2 of my founders in a joint session at the beach. It was incredibly effective.
4. Given the current circumstances, excellence is doing the best you can at this point. Let go of expectations and perfectionism. Self-deprecation and internal criticism only hinders us and weakens our immune system. Release your negative thoughts, focus when you can, focus on the kids when you are with them and know that you are doing the best you can to get through this period. Be compassionate and inclusive towards yourself. You are a good person, and recognize that you are trying your best. If you operate in this mindset, your day will look different, and you will be able to create moments of peace and leisure to conduct business.
In conclusion, our positive spirit and energy to manage our current situation have significant power in our ability to maintain a healthy routine and can help the global effort to normalize our situation. Practice making a habit out of responsibility, tolerance, generosity, empathy, and mental elasticity.
Sending you all my blessings for days of peace and routine. Until then, wishing you lots of pink lemonade.