From a trail run at Grindstone Lake in Ruidoso, New Mexico

Whoa.

Just whoa.

It’s only been 2 weeks since I sent my last newsletter.  And to quote Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist:

What a year this week has been.  

The COVID-19 virus pandemic and the associated public health actions over the past week are having social and economic impacts that are unprecedented in our lifetimes.  Starting last Tuesday, I began getting messages from conscious entrepreneurs who are clients, colleagues and members of the Awarepreneurs Community.

In total, I’ve heard from or had conversations with over 100 conscious business owners.  Though the specific situations are unique, the common denominators are:

  • Entrepreneurs are seeing a drop in their business activities – down between 30-100%.
  • People are scared both about their own health and about their financial well-being.
  • Many entrepreneurs either need to shift their business models significantly or close their business altogether.

Finding One’s Path in a Pandemic

I certainly have had many moments of grieving and angst over the past week. I cancelled an event, my daughter got sent home from college, I’ve been worried about loved ones with health issues and I have shifted into a fairly robust social distancing routine.

Still, as I have been talking to the dozens and dozens of you, my focus has been crisp and my sense of purpose strong.  Quite often, I have been asked: “how are YOU doing Paul?”  And over and over again, what’s come out of my mouth is:

I was made for these times.

That line has really caught people’s attention and quite a few have asked me to unpack it.  Thus, this newsletter.

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl – a Holocaust survivor – shares his observation that people who had a clear sense of purpose were much more likely to survive the concentration camps.  Over the past week, I think I got a small glimpse into what he was seeing.  The people I’ve talked to who were freaking out the most were more focused on their own losses and survival needs. The people who seemed most centered and able to creatively think about what comes next were focused on being of service to others in this new reality.

Try This Practice

First, I invite you to get comfortable and to take 3 centering breaths.

Now, I want you to give yourself permission to really go into the level of personal impact and survival.  Let yourself ask those questions.   What if I get sick?  How am I going to pay the bills? How long are we going to have to do this social distancing stuff?  How am I going to keep from feeling really down and isolated?

Notice the thoughts, feelings and sensations that come with these ways of thinking.  Try not to shame yourself for or steer yourself away from them.  Just let come into your awareness.

Stay with them for a minute or two.  What do you notice?

And then let them go and focus on a full but relaxed breath.  And again.  Then one last time.

Now I’d like to you to say to yourself, I was made for these times.

Even if you’re not totally sure what that means.  Just breathe and say, I was made for these times.

When your mind starts to wonder or try to figure things out, just come back to your breath and again say, I was made for these times.  Notice the thoughts, feelings and sensations that come with this way of thinking.  What do you notice?

After a minute or two, come back to your breath for 3 centering breaths.  You may want to write down a few of the things you notice.

What’s on Your Mind?

Though you’re likely to be iterating your way into new expressions of your work, I want to suggest that you’ve had unique life experiences, mentors, formal and informal training, learned powerful techniques and have a network of smart colleagues that are invaluable for these times.  Stay present and focused on finding creative ways to leverage these to help others, and I trust you’re going to navigate this transition.  I’m hoping this practice of You Were Made for These Times can help.

What did you notice with this practice?  What’s on your mind re: finding expressions of your work in this new time?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the form of a comment below.