What Do You Do When the World Stops?

I’ve never not been busy. It’s not in my nature. I’m restless. I’m always been dreaming up new schemes, exploring new areas of interest, creating new projects. And then along came Covid-19.

Like many small business owners, C-19 has resulted in a sudden and prolonged loss of income. Some projects have been postponed, others cancelled, and a few reformatted to be delivered by other means. Many of the people we deal with have been furloughed and some have gone out of business. All of them are reeling from the financial impact of C-19, which will certainly inform their buying decisions when this immediate crisis is over. It’s a story told many times all over the world. My business is not alone.

In moments of despair it can feel like this is a permanent state. The world has stopped and been placed into a state of suspended animation for who knows how long. And whilst we struggle to survive throughout this period, bringing our work into our homes, juggling many competing demands on our time and energy, and wondering where our next pay check is coming from, it’s a miracle that we can hold some semblance of normality together, let alone hope.

There have been times in my life when I’ve screamed for the world to stop. To give me time to catch my breath and process what’s happening. We all need moments of respite. But as this crisis trundles on, it becomes more and more apparent that the world hasn’t actually stopped, it has evolved. It’s too early to say what it has and will evolve into, but it is already palpably different. And we are different too, because we have responded and adjusted to these new circumstances in our own ways. For some it has been a simple matter of survival and keeping it together; for others it has been an opportunity for reflection and planning; for some it has stimulated swathes of creativity. Whether you are surviving or thriving, your experience will have changed you.

This is not a time to load up on despair. We can be angry and rail against the horror of what we are having to endure; and we can question in no uncertain terms the decisions our governments are taking. But we should never lose hope. We have all been tested (some more than most), and the new world we are creating has the potential to transform our work, our politics, our families, our climate and our future.

I am not the sort of person is who believes that things happen for a reason, as if ordained by an invisible puppet master; or that tragedy can be justified because of the change it stimulates. But I do believe in humanity, and its potential to transcend the horrors of war, natural disasters, political upheaval, and personal tragedies. That is what we are doing right now, slowly, certainly and, hopefully, positively for the benefit of all citizens.

The world I knew may have slowed, but it hasn’t stopped entirely. Some things may not come back, or if they do, they will come back differently. Some things I don't want to come back. And there will be new stuff coming along that wasn’t there before, which will become part of our new world. And I haven’t stopped. I haven’t stopped dreaming, making, designing, communicating, coaching, learning, surviving and, dare I say it, moving forward. I don’t believe I’m alone in that.

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