I feel like I have lived a lifetime of learning in the past three weeks. With the increased amount of time on my hands, I have developed this insatiable appetite for acquiring wisdom. I currently have three books on the go, I’m attending daily webinars and I’m signing up to live business education events all over the damn place!

That’s partly because I am based regionally and I am making the most of the opportunity of having no geographical barriers to be able to actually make it to these events. It’s also because we are living through a momentous time in history and never have I ever felt more compelled to lean in and learn!

So three weeks and I’m already wondering what six months of this will look like!

I wanted to share my biggest learnings now because I don’t want to forget them. Also, the ripple effect. If I have benefited so much from these learnings then maybe I can help spread the love.

Here they are:

Lesson #1 The importance of diversification

“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

I’m one of the most ambitious and competitive people you’ll ever meet.   As a result, I’m always trying to figure out ways to scale my business. Problem is, while I’m pretty good at marketing, the finance, people management and general building-a-business genetics just don’t seem to come naturally to me. So it’s not uncommon for me to pursue one avenue for growth and then fail learn.

In a recent attempt to scale, I learned a really important lesson around diversification. I’ve always specialised in small business and have worked with a huge variety of small businesses across all different industries. This makes it pretty hard for me to build a predictable service model and pricing strategy.

So I decided I would focus my marketing model and develop singular pricing to service one industry. That way, I could add value to my company by making it easier for me to manage productivity PLUS it would build customer value as I could really become an expert in that industry.

After fervent planning and modelling I decided not to pursue this avenue. Six weeks later, that industry was the first to be shut down indefinitely due to social isolation regulations.

Phew.

Lesson #2: Overcoming Fear

‘What did you do through the pandemic?’

This will be the question that we are all asked in future years. And what an amazing opportunity that we have this opportunity to learn and pass on that learning.

My answer so far (and who knows if this will change over the next 6 months) will be that I showed up. And actually, I showed up harder than I ever have before.

This pandemic experience has shifted something in me. It has compelled me to move in a hyper-focused, laser-fast manner that startles me.

I’m not sure if this is simply because the busyness of my life has ground to a halt and all of a sudden I have time to focus. But it’s more than that I think. It’s like the universe has provided me with this gift of clarity and bravery. It’s brushed the fear and excuses that have held me back from pursuing goals that have scared me and issued the directive to just fucking get on with it.

The fear I speak of, is of course fear of failure. I become less afraid of failure every day because I’m pretty familiar with it now. However, I guess there are just some things that you just really don’t want to fail at. And at the thought of failing at them, you just worry that you might not be capable of getting back up. Again.

But this pandemic has inspired a bravery in me. Seriously, what do I have to lose?

Lesson #3: Learning to lead

“Hope is not a plan.”

A presentation by Peter Baines; Founder of Hands Across Water left me speechless today. Presenting as part of the Business Chicks All Stars Live event, Peter provided stories of what true leadership in a crisis looked like. I won’t tell his stories because you want to experience him telling you those himself. However, his words compounded the fact that effective and inspiring leaders have the courage to make decisions. They also have the courage to live with the outcomes of those decisions.

I think as business leaders it will be the decisions that we make now that end up making or breaking our business in the future. Now’s the time to step up or to step out.

Some of the business decisions I have seen my colleagues make have been heart-wrenching. But they have been made with the best of intent. And some of those decisions will be right and some of those will be wrong. Right or wrong, they made the decisions that they had to and they’ll be forgiven for any error of a judgement because their heart was in the right place.

Lesson #4: Revelations can be confronting

‘Character is revealed when pressure is applied.’

In the same event presented by Business Chicks, Mark Manson; author of ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’ remarked that one of the most surprising revelations from his three weeks into isolation, was the people and the things he thought he would miss, and actually didn’t.

A sense of loss can be the trigger to an enlightening truth about who and what is actually important to you.

Our family has become closer and watching my children adapt to home-schooling and learning all the life skills that their usually busy lives have never allowed time for is quite frankly one of the proudest moments I have had in their lives. Well beyond all the academic awards and the sporting wins.

It also got me thinking about who I have built closer relationships with outside the walls of our home over this past three weeks. And I too was surprised by the group of people that I have had daily contact with since this all started.

We have a business mastermind group that connects on WhatsApp daily. Our banter swings from stories of loss and confusion to stupidly hilarious COVID 19 memes to offers of support and friendship.


So while a lot of this is still new and raw and so much still unknown, I’m starting to see why the universe has placed this wake-up call in our path. And as Peter Baines reminded us today, ‘we can’t change what has happened, but we can all change what happens next,’ and that’s a responsibility that I feel privileged to have been gifted.

 

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