This time last year, my business partner and I started work on an idea for our new business, Third Quarter Tribe. Having worked, refined, changed, sparked new ideas, and developed again, we are ready to launch– just in time, it seems for another lockdown. Who would have thought a year ago that something called Covid-19 would change our lives so completely? Who would have thought six months ago that life would not go back to the same old normal? And who else is still worrying and considering how to continue with a business in these different times?
I worry about the risk of meeting others, which can be a bit of a problem when your business is new, seeking clients, and based on helping others. Not something that I thought I would ever say as I consider myself very much a people person. What if I catch Covid? What if I infect my elderly mum with possible dire consequences? Or my partner who then may not be able to work and earn the money that is currently keeping us afloat? How do I conduct business when I can’t meet face-to-face and when video conferencing seems to lose something of the essence or humanness of physical meetings?
These are the questions I am wrestling with. For many of us, there is the additional issue of ageism. How do you navigate your way in a job market when you are over 50 with very little support? Let alone when jobs appear to be disappearing, even for younger people. And the fear of redundancy is rife. Those that have jobs are actively encouraged to be working at home. This might have seemed great six months ago but are we now beginning to experience the effects of self-isolation, cut off from daily contacts. These new threats to our mental health are real. Not being able to meet your colleagues, losing the social aspects of work, motivating yourself to open your laptop every day, and make the video-thingy work, all chips away at our wellbeing. Some businesses are trying to keep their teams connected. They are holding video chats during the workday equivalent to the tea break or by delivering pizza and prosecco to go with online quiz evenings.
What the long-term effects Covid-19 will be on the way we behave, interact with people, and how we grow our business is not known. Early studies ((https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/jul/friendships-and-relationships-worsen-during-covid-19-lockdown) show that people are feeling more disconnected from friends as well as work colleagues and missing the positive stress-reducing hormones that come from touching. The future may look like having fewer but stronger friendships, and work conducted more remotely alone.
Navigating change is tricky for all of us. Navigating change when your choices are narrowing, when you are isolated, and when your mental health is being severely tested is especially hard. We understand this and are changing the way we can help. The unique process we created for TQT was intended for face to face conversations between our Life Coaches and our clients. Now we are using video conferencing to help people.
And the future? I am positive that we will get through this current stressful situation. I am sure my work as a life coach is worthwhile and helping others itself is for me a measure of success. I liked this quote as it provides a starting point for us.
“In our personal and professional lives, we are constantly hit with one adversity after the other, most of which we have no control over. But the four things we have total control over is how we react, how we adapt, how we breathe, and how we take action.”
– Diamond Dallas Page