How to Overcome a Dark Cloud of Gloom

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As the threat of the coronavirus looms large over our collective heads, it’s essential to recognize that this is a difficult time for many people and businesses. We are simultaneously grappling with unprecedented levels of uncertainty and rapid change. It’s difficult to stay hopeful when you’re in the thick of things with no end in sight. As we’ve worked with ourselves and our teams over the last few weeks, and we’ve come across a few strategies for overcoming that dark cloud of gloom that seems to hover these days.

Entrepreneurs tend to be an optimistic bunch, so the tendency is often wanting to hype up your team with a motivational talk and working to keep everyone’s spirits high. Fighting that uphill battle can get exhausting pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the other extreme is just to fold or crumble, which isn’t a good option either. Now that people are looking for real leadership is not the time to mask pain or fear with a false sense of hope.

Honesty and authenticity can be invaluable as you struggle to stay hopeful and peaceful in the midst of everything that’s going on in the world. Now more than ever, it’s essential to lead with the basics. Although it seems counterintuitive, there’s no need to be overly optimistic and constantly hype up your team. In fact, backing off from that type of motivation can be beneficial right now.

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your team is to take a moment to be present and focus on being fully alive right now. A gratitude practice can be grounding for the individual and for the organization as a whole. Recognizing the potential in the current situation and making an effort to focus on the positive can translate into dramatic mood shifts that are sustainable. That calm, clear-headed approach then allows you to lead from a place of authority. Some even liken this steady, reassuring presence to a breath of joy or light, allowing you to calmly navigate these uncharted waters.

Though we can’t control much of the uncertainty swirling around us, but we are responsible for controlling how we deal with it and how we respond to it. Therapists recommend combatting anxiety by turning the tables on what you think, also called reframing. What if the opposite of what you’re thinking is true?

Mental health experts also recommend that if you’re suffering with anxiety as you quarantine, you need to be particularly mindful of the information that you take in. Limit your media and social media consumption to a few reliable sources and be selective about what you choose to consume. At the same time, make sure to reach out to coworkers, family and friends and strengthen those connections as most of us are in isolation.

Humans are fundamentally emotional beings. That’s what makes us utterly complex and exciting. It’s important not to deny that emotional capacity under these circumstances, but rather work to tap into it and harness that energy for good.

As far as eCommerce goes, we’ve been in situations where nothing was wrong on paper, but the mood was unsettling. Our advice, however, has consistently been to see the opportunity in this experience. We encourage our users to scale using platforms like Shopify and CommentSold and focus on growth potential while everyone is in a panic. This advice has reliably been received favorably and continues to work well as online retailing booms during this pandemic.

Coming from that place of mindfulness and calm has allowed us to continue to lead from a position of strength in spite of the chaos. It has also fostered a creative and dynamic environment that speaks to the type of culture that we’ve worked to create. That is what will allow any marketing agency to survive and potentially thrive in this crisis.

To round out those suggestions, experts recommend that you make a point to get some exercise. Strength training either using some weights or simple bodyweight exercises can help to keep anxious thoughts away. If it’s an option, spending time out in the sun each day as part of your routine is particularly beneficial as we all wait to see what happens.

Whatever strategies you employ, go back to the basics and keep things simple and authentic. Continue to ground yourself in gratitude and practice mindfulness in your interactions and the thoughts and information that you consume on a regular basis.

Focusing on these areas will help you to continue to offer a fresh perspective and keep your head above water so that you and your team can continue to brave this new territory with a clear and calm mindset. This type of authentic leadership will allow you to overcome this cloud of doom and focus on and excel at the task at hand.

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