mindset shiftDuring the Great Recession, Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, published an article titled, “The Scary Times Success Manual.”

At the time, he proposed 10 mindset shifts, which are as relevant in this moment as they were a decade ago.

They are:

  1. Forget about yourself. Focus on others.
  2. Forget about your commodity. Focus on your relationships.
  3. Forget about the sale. Focus on creating value.
  4. Forget about your losses. Focus on your opportunities.
  5. Forget about your difficulties. Focus on your progress.
  6. Forget about the future. Focus on your today.
  7. Forget about who you were. Focus on who you can be.
  8. Forget about events. Focus on your responses.
  9. Forget about what’s missing. Focus on what’s available.
  10. Forget about your complaints. Focus on your gratitude.

On Tuesday, we covered the first five mindset shifts. Today, we’ll look at that last five, as they relate to communicators.

Forget About the Future. Focus on Your Today.

The hardest part of all of this is we haven’t hit the bottom yet—and we don’t know where that is.

I keep talking to people I know who live in Italy to get a sense for where this might net out and they don’t know, either. They’re about three weeks ahead of where we are in Chicago and they’re still homebound.

Last night, a girlfriend texted me to say that her six-year-old is dying to see mine and wants to make sure they can go swimming together for her birthday in July.

I said, “If we’re not out of this by JULY, I don’t know what kind of shape any of us will be in.”

Can you imagine another four months (or longer) of this?

But you can’t focus on that. It will paralyze you.

You CAN focus on your today. Some days are good. Some days are bad.

We had four great days at home followed by a complete meltdown yesterday.

Now all I can focus on is today and try to approach it with a positive and optimistic attitude.

The same goes for you. One day at a time. One day at a tie.

Forget About Who You Were. Focus on Who You Can Be.

Long ago, when I was still a Vistage member, we had a speaker who talked about retirement and what that means for business owners.

He explained that, when a person retires from their work—especially if they own a business—to one day go from everyone needing you to not even receiving an email is a lot.

The first two weeks are great, just like they were a vacation. And then…depression sets in.

This is because most of us define ourselves by external circumstances. I’d like to say I’m immune to that, but I’m the worst about it.

Right now is the time to take stock in who you are and what you stand for.

If you can take cues from your internal circumstances—your dreams, ideals, values, and principles—you’ll be able to weather any storm.

They say crisis necessitates action, which is more true than it is right now.

In my business, we’ve lost $280,000 in revenue in the past 11 days. I can’t control that.

Sure, I feel sick to my stomach and I spent most of yesterday crying. But I have to forget about what I can’t control and focus on what I can.

I keep joking that maybe I’ll finally have time to write that novel I’ve always wanted to write. ?

(And, if you need communications help, don’t assume we’re too busy. We have the pretty girl syndrome where everyone assumes we’re too busy or too expensive and we don’t get invited to the prom—aka business opportunities. Now is this time to take advantage!)

Forget About Events. Focus on Your Responses.

Just like you can’t predict the future or where this is all going to end, you can’t focus on the things you can’t control.

Some of the most successful people in the world rise from the ashes because they focused on their response to the events—and not on what was actually happened.

A girlfriend sent me an article about Steve Jobs earlier this week.

I was reminded when I read the article that he was fired from Apple—and that crisis necessitated his creation of Pixar.

Can you imagine a life without Pixar? Nor can I. And it happened all because he was fired from the company he created.

The only thing we can control is how we respond to what’s going on.

This is really challenging. When you’re laid off or your business is down by 25% or 50% or 75% or even 100%, it’s hard to focus on how you’ll come out of it.

Trust me, I know that. I’m experiencing it.

But I also know we will come out of this. We will be OK.

What is your version of Pixar going to be?

Forget About What’s Missing. Focus on What’s Available.

Because I’m human, I’ve started to panic about the “what ifs?”

What if we have to pull Bean out of school and away from her friends?

What if we have to sell our house in the worst economic time this country has seen in nearly a century?

The list goes on and on and I lie in bed in the middle of the night, stressing about this stuff.

Stuff that hasn’t happened yet and likely won’t happen, but I still stress about it all.

his is probably the hardest one for me, so I’ll focus here on what Dan Sullivan said in his guide a decade ago:

When things change for the worse, many desirable resources are inevitably missing, including information, knowledge, tools, systems, personnel, and capabilities. These deficiencies can paralyze many people, who believe they can’t make decisions and take action. A strategic response is to take advantage of every resource that is immediately available in order to achieve as many small results and make as much daily progress as possible. Work with every resource and opportunity at hand, and your confidence will continually grow.

“In order to achieve as many small results and make as much daily progress as possible.”

Take it one day at a time.

And if you have a bad day, allow yourself the time to grieve and then move on to a better day the next day.

Forget About Your Complaints. Focus on Your Gratitude.

Gratitude is something I’ve been working on pretty consistently since last September.

It’s challenging when we’re in a world constantly bombarding us with bad news and it’s gotten significantly worse in the past 30 days.

This makes it tough to make the decision to be grateful versus complain.

But you and I both know that complaining only attracts negative thoughts and people.

Gratitude, on the other hand, creates the opportunity for the best thinking, actions, and results to emerge.

Focus on everything you’re grateful for—write it down if you have to—but spend time every day thinking about it.

I’m Going to Be OK. You’re Going to Be OK.

I don’t want to pretend this isn’t hard.

Many of you have lost your jobs. Many of you have lots clients. And others are waiting with bated breath for the shoes to drop at the same time.

You really, truly have to take it one day at a time.

You will have bad days—and you will have good days.

How you react to each day is the only thing you can control.

I will say this: the Spin Sucks community has been a lifesaver, particularly in the past two weeks.

It’s free. We don’t sell you anything. It’s truly a community of people who have one thing in common—communications—who have come together to share the best and the worst of their days.

If you’re not there and you need any kind of support—good, bad, or anything in between—come join us.

We’ll get through this. Together.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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