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LISA HAYDON: Sidelined, or waiting for an opportunity?

How business looks in Newfoundland and Labrador is going to change in the wake of the pandemic. This is a closed sign on west end St. John's beauty supply business. Keith Gosse/The Telegram
How business looks in Newfoundland and Labrador is going to change in the wake of the pandemic. This is a closed sign on west end St. John's beauty supply business. — Keith Gosse/The Telegram

As a business coach, I’ve been thinking lately about my high-performance clients who are hard-wired to be in the middle of the action.

With the pandemic, the rules of engagement are being rewritten, and many owners and leaders are feeling they have little control.

What powers successful business owners and leaders is their energy, competitiveness and confidence. They work and play “all in.” But the way business is done today has changed drastically.

Many of them are feeling frustrated by being stalled, perhaps even halted, in their pursuit of goals.

While the economy will see some recovery in 2021, people can take longer to bounce back. Loss can consume more mental energy than recalling good times.

In 2007-09, I was working in capital markets. The markets crashed, and I spun in uncertainty as jobs disappeared and team culture changed. My response was to quit, with lingering effects and lessons learned. The silver lining is that my clients benefit from those experiences.

Right now, psychology and business are even more interdependent. When we’re rebuilding, we’ll need an abundance of optimism. That optimism has to be nurtured; you can’t just turn optimism on.

The critics will get attention. The optimists will be dismissed but they will be the ones able to do more than expected, and potentially do the unexpected.

If you or your business has had a setback, here is what you can do:

  1. Know your values. When your values get breached, you get emotional and it affects your ability to do your best work. Write down your values. Refer to them regularly.
  2. Check your mindset. When things are bad, it is easier to be critical. A positive mindset helps in a rebuilding phase. Gratitude is a powerful daily ritual.
  3. Get out of your head. To get through challenging times, you’ll need more than thinking skills. You’ll need heightened skills for reading and interacting with people.
  4. Be self-aware. Stress will diminish your capacity to be self-aware. Slow down to consider how you show up to engage with your team, clients and family.
  5. Find comfort in your discomfort. Learn to embrace the feelings associated with change. Our greatest discomfort will be deciding what we don’t return to or readopt.
  6. Time will heal you. Many are hurting emotionally and financially. There is an end to our crisis. We will be able to look to the future again.

What we haven’t lost through all this is control of ourselves. You can decide how you react and engage. It’s about knowing your under-stress personality, how others are experiencing you and figuring out how you can do your best work today and in the future.

There’s no playbook for today’s situation. Without a gauge for what could be right, it’s an opportunity to try different.

Be intentional about it. Consider your leadership impact. It will take being proactive, thoughtful, engaged and patient.

Seeing failure as learning is very important. Some will argue that we can’t afford to make mistakes, that the path with fewer failures will take us back to what we knew before the pandemic. Perhaps, but you can chart a new path, a changed approach for yourself, your team, your company and your community. How do you optimize this opportunity?

With the right plan, you’ll know the new rules and how to play your best.

Success will take more than just reacting to get through our situation. Think about what you can do or influence, and what your future might hold.

Lisa Haydon is a business coach and president of Pivotal Coaching Inc.


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