Stoicism and Our Very Bad Year

Real Life Example: Over 35% of my clients have lost their jobs or are struggling to save their small business in 2020. (Very Bad Year, Would Not Recommend).

The work of discovering our meaningful medium and long term goals can be a powerful recipe for success. But setting goals is especially hard to think about this year – everyone’s ability to think about the future is crowded out by the noise, burden, and circumstances of the present. So let’s spend a moment on the problem before us – getting through the year. My stark headline has an accompanying follow-up: more than half of the people in that 35% number have found new work or dramatically adjusted their business in the past three weeks; all of them are moving forward towards recovery and success. What are they doing? Three straightforward things, and one that’s not like the others.

Tapping Into Resources

Unemployment benefits. CARES act loans. Proactive negotiating with landlords and creditors. Forbearance on mortgages and student loans. Take advantage of everything that’s available to give you some breathing room to work your scenario.

Absolutely Not Giving Up

Real Life Example quote: “There’s no way we’re giving up on our business.” Starting with a statement like that leaves little room for lackluster efforts. Everyone is focused on their outcomes, everyone is persistent, everyone’s showing grit.

Asking Everyone You Know for Help

Maybe you haven’t revised your resume in over ten years, maybe you need practice interviewing for a job, maybe you need ideas and guidance as you start pursuing something completely different. Everyone needs help, everyone is asking, and we’re in an environment where many want to give that help without needing anything in return. In a “give/get” world, there’s a lot of giving happening right now.

Defining Fears Instead of Defining Goals

People are re-thinking their lives right now. In 2020, everyone is questioning what’s important to them: what they do for work, where they live, what they want next. One of my clients shared a Tim Ferriss Ted Talk (13 minutes) about Stoicism that recommends defining your fears instead of your goals, a powerful and practical way to move forward by addressing your present concerns and fears. While this might seem negative or reflective of a closed-mindset (vs a Growth mindset), that’s not the case. Ferriss lays out three simple pages of notes that anyone can take down in a few minutes. If you can take that time, you’ll find the results will lead you to the next, right thing to do to help your situation. Check it out.

Let me know what you think, and let me know if I can help you navigate the year.