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Have You Found Unexpected Opportunities During the Pandemic?
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jacquette M. Timmons.
Whew! 2020 has been quite the year, eh?
I live in New York City, and we’ve been in quarantine since March. These five-plus months have not only felt like an entire year on their own, but they have most certainly lived up to the meaning of 2020: acuity of vision.
A catastrophic health pandemic has exposed the fragility of the U.S. healthcare system and the economy. And, along with that, it has exposed to others what some — myself included — have known all along: the pandemic of racism is real.
People have died. People have lost their jobs. Businesses are closed, some of which will never reopen. These losses deserve our grief and respect. And if you’ve lost a loved one, or lost your job, or had to make the hard decision to close your business, please accept my condolences.
Living in the Duality
On one hand, things are dire. And the recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases is, indeed, disheartening.
However, in the midst of this reality, another one is unfolding. One that I believe needs our attention, too: some people and businesses are thriving even as we all learn to navigate the terrain and uncertainty of this crisis.
My business is one of them.
On March 15th, I was scheduled to travel for a speaking engagement that had been on the books since the fall of 2019. For me and many of my fellow speakers, everything changed on or about March 12th.
This is not my first guest post for Productive Flourishing. But in case you’re not familiar with me, I work as a financial behaviorist. I have three pillars to my business, and coaching and speaking take turns in terms of which contributes the most to my bottom line from year to year. So needless to say, I was nervous about the quarantine shutdown. Very nervous.
But through a combination of resourcefulness, creativity, openness, and unexpected opportunities, my revenue is up 47% year-to-date for 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. I went from feeling scared on March 12th, to wonderfully surprised, to extremely proud and excited! #ohsograteful
For me, this revenue increase is meaningful beyond the dollar and percentage amount for two reasons. First, it’s shown me that I can hit my revenue targets — even without the usual large checks from corporate speaking engagements.
Here’s the second reason: I often remind the entrepreneurs and small-business owners with whom I work that every product and service they offer has two jobs. One job pertains to what their offer helps their clients, customers, and prospects do/have/be; the other is the role of that offer in their business model. What I’ve discovered about my business during these recent months has truly reshaped the “job” I will now give to corporate speaking engagements in my business model moving forward.
The Power of Good News
My story of thriving (even if in unexpected ways) is one of many.
Another friend’s business is doing the best it's ever done.
I surveyed my email list, curious about how the 2020 crisis was affecting them. Many of them, whether they work as entrepreneurs or employees, also reported doing well.
Oh, and Rachel Rodgers, whom I don’t know personally but follow on Instagram, reported having her first-ever million-dollar month… in June!
What about for you? How is it going? Has the pandemic brought about unexpected opportunities and successes?
If so, do you freely share this good news?
Or, do you feel self-conscious about feeling and doing well when so many others are not?
Like I said: living in the duality.
But here’s the uncomfortable truth: we are always living in a state where some people and businesses are experiencing financial challenges and hardships, while others are not.
These two truths co-exist when things feel familiar and “normal,” as well as when they don’t — when what we are accustomed to has been completely upended.
Therefore, choosing to low-key your wins and successes does no one any good. Especially right now!
This is why I take every chance I get (e.g., this guest post) to ask people to share their good news — their wins, their successes. Even as we all navigate the uncertainty of a crisis that, as of this writing, doesn’t have a clear and concrete ending. (I hope you’ll share your wins/successes in the comments.) Why?
Well, for starters, your wins are never just about and for you.
So, when you embrace and share your wins and successes, you are reminding people of what is still possible. Also (and I’ve stated this on my own blog and on my social media channels) sharing your wins doesn’t make you a less compassionate and empathetic person. In other words, it doesn’t mean you are tone deaf.
That’s one reason; here’s another: When you embrace and share your wins, you remind others and yourself to shift your focus from what is dire and out of your control, to being open and saying “yes” to opportunities you may not have noticed or considered before.
I know this is certainly true for me. Presenting my pricing workshop inside other people’s masterminds was not something on my radar at the beginning of March. Yet, to date I’ve already booked six such speaking engagements. In other words, I have a new vertical. Much thanks to Tara Newman, of the Bold Leadership Revolution, for getting me started down this path.
What about you? What opportunity has only recently revealed itself to you — even though it’s really been in front of you all along?
There’s one more reason I want to share. But allow me, please, to give you a quick backstory:
While this is my first time living through a health pandemic, my career in financial services started in 1986. So, I’ve seen up close the major crashes of 1987, 2008 and 2020 — along with a few “smaller” ones in between. And what I know for sure is that on the heels of each one, what came after the disruption was major innovation.
For example, fintech is driving much of the innovation today in the personal finance industry, with hundreds of applications available on a variety of platforms. Twelve years ago, this was a nascent area with about two financial software applications, both of which were only available via your desktop.
The Seeds of Opportunity
None of us knows what’s on the horizon. But if you make a commitment to embracing and sharing your own wins, to embracing and celebrating the wins of others, and to remaining steadfastly open to possibilities, challenging times today very well may also hold the seeds of opportunities for the best of times tomorrow. (Tweet this.)
This is my third reason.
And if you and I are honest with ourselves, the opportunities that most excite and surprise us, that give us the greatest sense of accomplishment, rarely come from what we expected. They are always born steeped in uncertainty and the unexpected.
My deepest hope for you is that as we collectively continue to navigate this uncharted territory, this pandemic will — if it hasn’t already — bring about unexpected opportunities, surprises, and successes for you and yours!