This month I’m going to change gears a little. 2020 has been tough all over. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t gone through the wringer this year, and it’s almost scary to consider it’s only halfway over. This morning I told my manager, “When somebody asks, ‘What’s next?’ I want to slap them.”
Like most of you, this year has hit our family hard. To skim the high points, we began the year emptying most of our savings to help out one of our kids in need. I lost my dog of 14 years, we lost an unborn grandbaby, another grandchild was born with some mild health complications. Due to lockdown measures, we spent a week not being able to meet him or even see his mom. Our roof decided to give up the ghost, as did our air conditioner, my youngest daughter had two serious car accidents … Honestly, it’s hard to remember it all. I guess that’s a good thing.
So, here at the midpoint of 2020, it’s time to regroup. I’ve always believed that problems are just opportunities in disguise. We don’t grow and mature in calm waters. It takes storms to build strong, competent sailors. Instead of asking, “Why is all this happening?” I’m doing my best to ask, “What should I be learning?”
If you share my question, let’s ponder what we can take from pandemics and quarantines and protests – Oh, my! – and find some valuable lessons that will make this year a time of growth. It would be a shame to waste these opportunities to learn.
Don’t Compare Your Tough Times to Other People’s
Sometimes, I hear people whining about their First World problems and I have to resist the urge to roll my eyes. In light of what many people have been through – losing businesses, losing children, losing spouses – some people’s “problems” just seem trivial.
On the other hand, I find it hard to complain about my struggles when I know people who have had it so much worse. How can I whine about losing a pet when others have lost so much more?
The answer is: Don’t compare your hard times with other people’s hard times. It’s okay to not be okay if your burden is hard for you to carry. You don’t have to justify that your problems are worse, and you don’t have to resent the fact that other people’s problems don’t seem as bad. It’s okay if you’re struggling. It’s okay if your load is a bit much for you right now.
We all have a burden to bear, so begrudging and belittling should be the last things on our minds. See how you can use your struggles to console, uplift, encourage, or inspire someone else during their hard times.
Lean on Your Teammates
According to Clifford Strengthsfinder, I’m an off-the-charts Achiever. Every hour of every day is measured by what I got done. This makes it really difficult to be okay with accomplishing less than the goals I’ve set.
Time and time again, I’ve “pressed on” when I should have just been content with what I could get done in a given day. Recently, one of my writers wrote me back after I’d apologized (way too) profusely for a mistake I’d made. She simply said, “Christy, give yourself grace.”
That hit me like a bus. How often do I give grace to others? Daily. Sometimes more. I extend deadlines, take up the slack, help out, pitch in – whatever I need to do to help my team, family, friends, or even strangers when they need it. Why are we so quick to give grace to others and so slow to accept it ourselves? Perhaps it’s pride. Wanting to be the hero. Wanting to be perfect. Never wanting to show a chink or crack.
Allow your teammates to help out. Remember how awesome it feels to pitch in when someone needs you? Let the other guys and gals get that wonderful feeling from time to time as they help you during a crisis. Or 10 crises. Same goes for your family and friends. Quit being the prideful hero and be willing to let them help when you need it. Trust me, some crises call for it.
Celebrate the Blessings
This morning, I Slacked a couple of my besties at work to share the latest shenanigans. It’s getting embarrassing, really, to have to report week after week on the latest life disasters at the Dunaway Household. One of my sweet friends said I should start a Blessings Journal. I think it’s a wonderful idea, and I think I’m going to do it.
Truthfully, I have so much to be thankful for. It’s easy to look at what’s broken and all the money we’ve had to shell out for various disasters, and all of the shock and worry and grief. But, for the most part, I have a life full of incredible, loving, healthy, hardworking, generous, precious friends and family. In addition to having the Best Job on the Planet in pool and spa marketing, I’ve got oodles to be thankful for.
When life is dealing disaster, take a few moments to be grateful for what you do have. Honestly, if we have a safe home, a supportive family, a little money in the bank, and food on the table, we already have it better than a billion (literal) other people in this world.
Doing Less Can Mean Getting More Done
I’ve also found that I often get more done when I slow down. For months, when I got behind due to some mishap or another, I worked longer. Harder. Faster. I burned out.
I actually get way more done when I take a little time to absorb a hit and get my head around what’s happened. Just snipping a few dead leaves in the garden, going to my grandkids’ house for a few snuggles, or switching on Tiny Desk Concert on YouTube does wonders for, not only how I feel, but how productive I am at work.
All work and no play makes you dull. When I double down to remain at a high level of productivity during a crisis, I kill my creativity. I hamstring the spark that gives me joy in my job. I get irritable, defeated, and discouraged. When I back off a little, I may not get as many items scratched off my glorious to-do list, but the things I do are more inspired. More creative. Better.
Fighting our humanness is really pointless, if you think about it. Delaying our thoughts, feelings, and even pain is counterproductive. Only when you go through the necessary emotions can you come out healthy on the other side. Psychologists could ramble for hours on the ill effects of ignoring grief and stress. The mental, emotional, and physical effects are devastating, and the damage can be long-lasting or even permanent.
Take the time you need to get your head and heart right. Only then can you really get back in the game – and play to win.
What does all this have to do with Digital Marketing? I’m so glad you asked. The Get Smart Group doesn’t work with “businesses”. We work with people. Through the challenges of the pandemic, the uncertainty and confusion of lockdowns, the prickly problems of running out of merchandise, to nailing it with social posts that resonate with a population trudging through hell, we’ve advised, consoled, strategized, and in some cases, just taken the reigns for clients who couldn’t manage it all. When the going gets tough for our clients, the Get Smart Team gets going on finding a way through the hard times. Wouldn’t you like a Digital Marketing partner like that? Contact us today for a free consultation to help your pool and spa business.