The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, was recently labeled as a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization (WHO). Starting in Wuhan, China, the virus has spread to multiple countries across the world, including the United States. People over 60 and people with underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma, are the people who are most at risk.
If you’ve watched the news or been on the internet in the past month or two, you’ve read the headlines. While some of them are informative, others induce panic and fear. Some people don’t really seem to care too much about the virus, while others act as if the world is ending. What should be our response?
Instead of posting a normal Five Minute Friday episode, my team and I thought it best to do a special episode on the coronavirus — not to cause fear and panic but to take a moment to educate ourselves on the virus and the best methods for protection. There is so much unknown, so much fear and panic, that it can get really overwhelming — my girlfriend literally made herself sick the other night watching the news.
Instead of panicking, we should be focusing on what we can do to prevent the virus from spreading and how we can best respond to the chaos around us.
I’ve got my best friend Matthew Cesaratto in the house, and today we have a coffeehouse conversation about the coronavirus, how we should respond, and how we can all be leaders in a time of fear and crisis.
Matt begins the episode by talking about some practical ways to keep the virus from spreading (wash your hands, disinfect surfaces, increase air ventilation, etc.) All this information comes straight from the CDC website, which is a great resource you can use to educate yourself about the virus rather than just media or news outlets.
Then, I give 8 things that we should do in order to stay calm and be leaders in a time of chaos:
1. Avoid defensiveness and denial. Many people get caught in defensiveness and denial. They try to downplay the severity of the situation. This is a serious situation. Just because you are personally not connected to someone who is impacted by it, doesn’t mean it is not there. Businesses are impacted and so are people, especially the elderly and the sick. It is not the time to be selfish.
2. Have compassion for people. Don’t play into the fear, but be aware of your behavior in times of chaos. Do you avoid the situation or take it head on? Check in on family and friends. If you know someone who is extremely frightened by pandemic, don’t try to “fix” the fear — listen to them. Help people calm their nerves. Support your local businesses — they’re getting impacted. Overall, just be kind to people. Be a source of calm and not anxiety.
3. Reduce your exposure. Try to avoid public places as much as possible where the virus can spread. If you have to go out, protect yourself — be aware that you need to wash your hands, sanitize everything, and be considerate to others. You can’t help what other people are going to do, but you can control what you do. Why take an unnecessary chance? Spend more time in nature and away from public gatherings. Leverage technology for communication and staying in touch.
4. Keep life simple and clean. It’s a great time to reflect on your self-care and habits. Clean out your space, throw away the old, and get back to the basics. Clean and organize your physical space, financial space, and emotional space. Look at your bank account: Where are you spending too much? Can you improve your mindset and morning routine? How’s your evening routine? What needs work? Do a little spring cleaning. Lighten the load. Being productive is a great away to create calm while also not being consumed by the media hype.
5. Prepare for the worst. People may think you are crazy for being prepared. It’s simple supply and demand. And none of us really know how bad it can get. So prepare early. Get some extra supplies you will need. Prices may go up. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get ahead on things. Store some food and water that you’d normally use. If it does get bad, you don’t want to have exposure like going shopping if you don’t need it.
6. Hope for the best. Keep your faith. Choose love and not fear. Have a growth mindset. You don’t want to completely avoid the news, so check in from time to time what is going on. Educate family, friends, and elders, but also keep focused on positive and transformational content. Use extra time off work or home from activities to consume good media and spend time with family. The virus is a big scare right now, but it will be over.
7. Business as usual. Stay productive. Keep adding value to the world. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and get caught up in the media and panic. Find ways to keep income coming in and invest in a new skill. Jobs might be cut and work might be lost. Pivot when you need to pivot. Stay humble and be gracious to everyone around you.
8. Keep giving. There are going to be people that really need you to show up as a leader and demonstrate strength and stability. There will be people who need financial support. It doesn’t matter the situation. Stay abundant. Always keep giving. When you feel scarce, find ways to give more to people. Many businesses have ceased operations. There will be people that lose their jobs. Please be mindful of this and find ways to ensure that people are taken care of.
To learn more about what you can do to prevent spreading the coronavirus and how to be a leader in a time of crisis, listen to Episode 927 with myself and my good friend Matthew Cesaratto. We hope that this episode brings you peace and calm.