Last year, my home and business were hit by a terrible snowstorm (Irene) which knocked out power for over eight days. Even though I had access to cell phones and internet, it played a mental and physical toll on me. As the main provider to my household, it affected me mentally — WHY? — our situation was totally out of my control. Even though we had a generator with power, heat and food, life was way from normal. The mental toll played out personally and professionally. I constantly worried about any further impacts to our situation, sustained boredom, and how it was playing on my clients.
Guess what? Everything was fine — I just had to refocus my energy on positive actions which would move me forward. So here are 10 tips to help you cope with a natural disaster which might affect your career or business:
1. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
When life knocks us for a loop, we tend to roll with the punch and stay down. If you know boxing, you only have 10 seconds to get back up before the fight is over. That means you need to get back up ASAP and realize there will be light at the end of the tunnel and wallowing in our own misfortune will not get us there.
2. Keep busy.
Fill up every day with things to do. Why? It doesn't allow you to worry about what didn't happen or occur during the emergency and it gets you back on the horse ASAP. Think about tactical, strategic and communication activities — what actions will bring the most impact. In addition, if your boss or clients see you humming along like a rocket, they will be impressed!
3. Stay in contact with your clients, boss, and team.
Communication is key. Reconnect with everyone, ask questions, and see how you can help. Give them tips on how to recover. Or just LISTEN. Most people just want to talk, vent, and look for answers — it is great that you are there for them.
4. If you can't do tactical duties, work on strategic stuff.
If you're held back by others or processes beyond your control, do something else. Remember that project or initiative you never have time to work on? Now you have time - do it!
5. Reach out and engage people you usually don't connect with.
Broaden your contact sphere and reach out to people you normally don't talk to. I promise they are looking for a shoulder to cry on and you are there to listen. Also — they are a week behind too — see how your abilities and business might help them solve their problems.
6. Try to help, inform, and impact everyone you meet.
Everyone. People on the street might need a jump for their car, your neighbors, other people in your office building, etc. Right after the emergency, most people need help getting themselves, their career and their business back up and running. This is the time to reach out.
7. Did I say keep busy?
Don't stop for anything, keep busy and your mind thinking of new ideas how to move forward!
8. Get your name out there to see if you can help.
This is the best time to market yourself. If you're a business — increase your marketing by 100%. Get onto social media — blog, tweet, facebook, etc. Get your name out there. If you work for an organization — market yourself — who can you reach out to and help them with their project? Reach out to your boss and show them what you've done so far.
9. Get your head straight.
It's over. Move on and stop venting how bad it was. Whine for one minute and then move on with your life. It's behind you. Don't let it continually affect you over the coming months.
10. Rocket out of your current position and fly forward.
Set up the launch pad, fuel your rocket, and hit the ignition switch. Use this calamity as a reason to rocket your business or career into the stratosphere. Start thinking BIG!