Almost exactly one year ago, things were shaping up nicely for my youngest son, Jonathan.
He was a second-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Denver and had just landed a summer internship at a cool tech firm near school.
He was thrilled.
The internship would allow him to learn some new things, make some money and remain in Denver for the summer, as opposed to moving back home for three months to live in a sleepy suburb with his parents. (I know, I don’t see why he preferred Colorado, either.)
And then, just days before he was scheduled to start the internship, the whole thing fell through (don’t ask).
He was devastated. Not only was he disappointed about the missed opportunity, it was much too late to find something else. It was looking like there would be no other option than to come home.
But then he had an idea…
Jon frequents a funky, local coffee shop and so he went in and asked if they were hiring. One thing led to another and by the following week, he had a summer job.
I asked him the other day how he felt about losing the internship. He said, “Best thing that ever happened to me.”
As he explained, he makes a lot more money at the coffee shop, he’s been able to continue working throughout the school year, he’s met a ton of great people near where he lives, and he’s become quite adept at creating “latte art,” a skill which, were the apocalypse to occur, is sure to come in handy.
Look for the Opportunity
I know of few people whose businesses have not been negatively impacted by what’s happened over the last couple of weeks. We all wish things would just get back to “normal.”
Hopefully, that will happen soon. But in the meantime, and in between watching your retirement savings fall to the ground like a drunken toddler (or whatever), why not look for the opportunities that have been newly created?
For your business…
Business has always been about helping people solve problems. It still is. So, what do your clients and others need now that they didn’t need two weeks ago?
Are you a writer who can help businesses communicate the impact to their customers?
Are you a leadership coach whose clients need help learning how to support remote workers?
Are you a financial consultant that can help businesses manage their cash flow in a time of uncertainty?
When it comes to your services, what can you develop, fine-tune, or modify that will satisfy a need and earn money for you in the process?
If you work for yourself, you’re already skilled at creativity and invention. How can you apply that here?
For your marketing…
I spend a fair amount of time networking with people over lunch and coffee. That’s off the table now (literally).
So I’ve switched to “virtual coffees” over Zoom. It’s not quite the same, but it’s actually much better than I anticipated.
And, unlike in-person meetings, it dawned on me that I can do these with contacts anywhere in the world, something that I probably wouldn’t have realized had I not been forced to find a new approach.
How about you? How can you tap into everyone’s heightened eagerness to stay connected and grow your business in the process?
For your personal development…
I used to love running. But I have a bad knee and so for the past few years I’ve been using the elliptical machine at the gym. It does the trick, but it’s pretty boring.
Now that the gym is closed, I’ve been hiking in the conservation land behind our house. Wow. I had forgotten how great it feels to be outside, by myself, exercising early in the morning. I may never go back in.
That’s just one example.
Since we can’t watch sports, go out to dinner, get together with friends or do a hundred other things that used to make up our daily routine, what can we substitute – maybe something new and better – instead?
Here’s the bottom line.
Unlike Jon’s experience, few of us will come out the other end of this crisis and say, “Best thing that ever happened to me.”
But there’s a big difference between gritting your teeth and counting the days until it’s over and looking for the upside – and there’s always an upside – that our new reality offers.
The choice is yours.
- What and where is your favorite coffee shop?
- What skill do you possess that will come in handy post-apocalypse?
- What have you done in your business or life to seize the opportunity that the crisis now presents?