When the first coronavirus wave hit in March, I called my friend who was in the crisis management wing of the military. I figured he could guide me on how to handle these painfully “uncertain times,” as everyone keeps calling them.
“The most important thing you need to do right now is to learn how to respond, and not react,” he said. “This will be the difference between whether you thrive or wilt during this pandemic. You need to be three things: smart, strategic, and clear-headed. People who can keep their head cool are the ones who eventually become millionaires.”
I’ve never been much of a panicky person, but simultaneously dealing with my first recession and pandemic made me nervous. I had fallen into the trap of reading every coronavirus-related article and allowing negativity and misinformation to flood my brain.
While a part of me kept self-reassuring that everything would be alright, another worried I wasn’t taking the situation seriously enough. Somehow, I held on to my friend’s advice and was able to have one of the most productive (and lucrative) periods in my life. In the end, I realized that instead of imagining worst-case scenarios, it’s time for all of us to envision our unlimited opportunities. I know it’s difficult, but panic only breeds more panic as your mind instinctively finds validation – real or false – for your fears.
Meanwhile, abundant thinking could help you add another zero to your bottom line, even amid a worldwide pandemic. Here are the four actions that helped me shift my thinking (and finances) towards success—and can do the same for you:
1/ Focus on what you can control.
Even if I had no control over what the grocery store had in stock, I could still buy whatever was available. I decided to control my response to the news by actively resisting the temptation to delve into a frenzy after every alarming headline I read and stopping myself from having a knee-jerk reaction to every pushy Facebook post I saw. Despite the fact that I had no control over what the Indonesian government would do about my soon-to-expire visa, I realized I could still check the website for information daily and follow up on any updates. I couldn’t control my clients’ stressful financial situations, but I could email them and make sure they were okay. I couldn’t control people defaulting on payments, but I could offer them an extended payment plan.
Next, I started using my free time to do something I enjoyed: writing. I’d always said I wanted to write a book, so why not begin now? It was certainly more productive than binging Tiger King. This shift in thinking helped me approach the pandemic as a luxury in disguise, as it gave me extra down time I didn’t know I wanted.
I began using this certainty to my advantage and the payoff was tremendous. Not only was I personally in a better state of mind, I was on my way to a better situation professionally as well. While my business took a big hit in March, it was recovering by April. By May, I had one of my highest-earning months ever.
2/ Invest in yourself.
As soon as the crisis emerged, I invested in a coach even though my finances took a hit. I knew I’d need major support to get through this, so I doubled down on my focus instead of sinking into my fears. My thinking was… if I won’t invest in myself during these hectic times, how can I expect others to invest in me?
Investing isn’t just about money, by the way. It’s just as important to invest in your self-care, well-being, and relationships. In times of stress, many people restrain themselves from doing what they find fulfilling. Do the opposite. Fill your cup more than you ever have before. Invest in people and activities that benefit you in some way, not ones which waste your time. What hobbies did you give up because you were too busy working? What things have you deprived yourself of?
This is the time to show up for yourself like never before and go back to doing what you love, evaluating what doesn’t work for you, and deciding what to keep in your life. Ask yourself key questions such as:
- How can I improve my life?
- What should I work on?
- How can I make more time for myself?
3/ Envision the big picture.
Instead of being blinded by what’s going on short-term, think about what you can create for the long-term.
For example, I was just on the brink of scaling my business when the crisis hit. When clients didn’t come those first few weeks, my first thought was that people didn’t have money to hire a coach. After conversations with my friend, mentors, and a coach, I realized there were people who needed my support and could afford it. The only reason I wasn’t attracting them was because of my fear-based attitude.
Although it may feel counterintuitive, view any challenges that pop up as an opportunity to expand and set yourself up for the future. Panicked people often frantically ask, “What do I do?” in search of an answer to their short-term dilemma. Forward-thinking people ask questions like:
- Where do I want to end up?
- Who do I need to become to get there?
- What short-term actions can I take to thrive during this time?
I asked myself these questions and found this answer: I want to have a successful and thriving business able to withstand any recession. I also want to stay strong, grounded, and hold space for myself and my clients so I can continue transforming people’s lives. Because I showed up as a leader and invested in myself, people continued to invest in me.
4/ Seek out new opportunities.
Look at what is and isn’t working in your business (and your life) and consider ways you might pivot. Before the pandemic, I was about to start doing more stages and in-person workshops. Now, my entire business runs online.
Start with some self-introspection. One thing I realized is how much time I spent working on my business. When things finally slowed down, I thought, “What other important things should I do with my time?”
This self-introspection helped me realize the different areas that I wasn’t nurturing: my dating life, personal development, recreational activities, and so forth. My career took up so much of my time that I hardly had a life outside of it.
So, I had some fun with online speed dating, reconnected with old friends I hadn’t talked to in a long time, and created business partnerships with those I previously couldn’t fit into my schedule.
Too many people think they’d get more done if only they had more time or resources. This “if only” mindset keeps people stuck. They can’t achieve what they want without achieving something else first, which delays their dreams and goals.
Abundant thinking is the opposite. It allows you to use time and resources you already have. Often, you have a lot more than you realize.
Abundant thinking isn’t just about money opportunities; it’s also about reconnecting with yourself, what truly matters, and who you choose to become along the way.
Celinne Da Costa is a certified Mindset Coach, brand story strategist, writer, and speaker for high-profile entrepreneurs. She helps her clients step into their power and become confident leaders with captivating stories, influential brands, international media coverage, and thousands of raving fans. Her work has been featured in major international publications, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and TEDx. Follow her story on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @CelinneDaCosta.
All images courtesy of Ksenia Kolby photography.