Here’s how you can succeed in these changing times when the pandemic moves your cheese:
Have you read the mini book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson? I read it a few years ago (downloaded the audio book from the Toronto Public Library actually) and this short read (listen) really changed the way I look at life and business changes. Published in 1998, this 96-page primer sold 28 million copies and is truly relevant in our lives today, in 2020.
Who Moved My Cheese? is a short, light-hearted parable about change and how different people process change. It follows the physical and emotional journeys of four characters – Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw – as they search, find, loose and must rediscover their favourite food, cheese, in a large, twisting maze. The mice are meant to represent people and the moving cheese in the maze represents our world, the changes we are living through. This pandemic has really moved our cheese!!
The 2020 pandemic is a significant change for all our worlds. It has left people unsure of how to proceed. Some people have just stopped their lives and businesses. They are waiting for this change to blow over; like so many changes have before. However, I do not think that the recent changes we have seen in buyer behaviour will blow over at all and in the coming months, life will surely evolve to a “new normal”. We must get up and look around if we expect to find our cheese or for our businesses to thrive in 2020.
Who Moved My Cheese taught me that when people are confronted with massive change, that is beyond our control, we are being given a huge opportunity. Why? Because we can choose how we react to these changes.
We could react with fear, as it is all too easy to focus on our fears, rather than how we might proactively react to new problems. Focusing on our fear leads to stagnation at work, distracted days waiting for the world to return to normal. Instead you can choose to focus on ways to move past the problem and turn it into an opportunity.
Here’s how you can succeed in these changing times:
First, start by recognizing the thoughts you are having as “Fake News”. They are made up, worst case scenarios, rather than as the facts the way they really are. Now focus on the present to determine what is real, not made up, using real facts, not opinions. For example, this week many government organizations announced getting back to work plans in a staggered and safe way which means we are starting to work toward getting back to business.
Just the Facts:
With just the facts in mind, try to open your mind to explore positive possibilities so you can determine what you can do, in the short term, to explore these new opportunities.
Take action where you can so you will gradually and safely restart your business with everyone else. Get feedback from clients, prospects, staff – anyone you can so you can be constantly evaluating and improving your opportunities. Get ahead by revisiting your lead generation plans and if they are not actionable, update your plan and perhaps contact me to talk about digital marketing for your business.
Then, every day just Rinse and Repeat – meaning keep trying this process until you reach your goals. Take it one day at a time.
At some future date, when this pandemic is behind us and you look back on this period, which type of person will you have been? The “crawl under a rock and wait it out” type or the “I dusted myself off and looked for opportunities to help others and myself” type. Your reaction is the one thing you do have control of in these upside-down times. I want to remember myself as the type that looked for and found new opportunities.
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Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 25 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.