A Crisis is the Perfect Time to Invest in Yourself

March 27, 2020 ​- 21 Comments

​As I'm typing this, most of the world is in the depths of a healthcare crisis. Like countless others, I've been asking myself: what can I do to help? Apart from participating in social distancing, how can I contribute to the greater good?

Well, here on ActiveGrowth and also at Thrive Themes, it has always been our mission to empower small scale entrepreneurs. I believe that small businesses are a potential force for good in the world. And now, I believe that's more true than ever.

​I've recorded a series of conversations about what I think entreprneurs need to know and take action on, to survive and thrive through the crisis. This is the first of those conversations.

More...

In the following episodes we'll cover how to respond strategically and what new business opportunities are likely to emerge out of the crisis. But before we get to any of that, we need to start with what's right in front of us. In this first episode, we cover everything you can do as an entrepreneur, on a personal level, to weather difficult times.

Setting Priorities

Many reports are coming in, which indicate how people are changing their behavior in quarantine. And they reveal where priorities seem to lie for most of us: YouTube as well as Netflix are lowering streaming quality, because too many people are watching and internet infrastructure can't keep up. The gaming service Steam has seen a record number of concurrent users in recent weeks. Some gaming services like Xbox Live have suffered downtime due to overwhelming demand. And it appears that even PornHub has seen an increase in traffic directly proportional to the increase in people quarantined.

In summary, it seems that most people are doubling down on distraction and entertainment. We're all in quarantine and we're all, apparently, couch-potatoing.

This is perfectly understandable, but if your business is being hit by the crisis, now is the time to do the exact opposite. Buck the trend and give yourself a fighting chance.

And even if you haven't personally been affected, I would suggest that now is a good time to double down on your good habits, invest your time into your business, into reading, into personal growth, into sleep. What you do now, in difficult times, will echo far into the future.

Resources

Here are the links & resources mentioned during the episode:

  • See why Oliver and myself are so adamant about getting prioritizing sleep by watching this TED talk and reading the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
  • ​Discover how physical movement is intrically connected to cognitive performance, focuse and productivity in the book Spark by John Ratey.
  • ​Learn about research-based gratitude practice and how it can impact happiness and productivity from Shawn Achor in this podcast and this TED talk.
  • If you want to develop business and online marketing related skills, you can sign up for Thrive University, the library of free online courses created by myself and the Thrive Themes team.

Pick up a meditation habit by watching any of countless tutorials online or trying out one of these convenient apps:

The Challenge

Good solutions often start by asking the right question. So, here's my question and challenge to you: what are some things you can do to make sure that you'll come out of this crisis leaner, healthier, smarter and overall in a better place than when you went in?

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.


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  • Karen McCamy says:

    Thanks, Shane! <3

    Once again, perfect timing! :-)

    How do you *know* these things?

    I’ve been wondering why I can’t be very productive with all of this newly-found time available to me… :-o

    Now, I understand that I’ve been too focused on resenting what I’ve “lost” in our ‘new normal’ [rolling my eyes that I couldn’t see that before!]

    I’ve also realized that I’m a lot more dependent on social interaction than I ever acknowledged! (I’ve always considered myself a bit of a ‘loner!’) This mandatory distancing has really impacted me psychologically! That too was a surprise!

    On the positive side, I have already planned to: 1) practice my video recording & editing skills (for my Course Craft course), 2) become adept at Thrive Apprentice, and 3) improve my copywriting skills! :-)

    I agree that gratitude practice/writing is so incredibly helpful, especially in times of crisis! For me, it really helps to counteract all the ‘seemingly-inevitable’ negative & fear-based bombardment that’s so hard to avoid! (Like you, I’m not a big social media fan [or participant], but the ‘doom-and-gloom’ is **everywhere!** :-/ )

    I’m eagerly awaiting your next video!

    Thank you for always keeping us grounded & helping us prioritize! This helps more than you could imagine!

    Reply

    • Thank you for your comment, Karen. I’m happy to know that the “new normal” idea was something that clicked for you.

      I also miss social interactions, despite being a loner. I like my alone time, but I also like my friends very much. :)

      Reply

  • Spot on, Shane, regarding re-framing the value of at-home exercise. Doing some vigorous exercise for just 2 minutes every hour over several hours can get you fit. I call it: FastFit2. Suggest people think through what combination of exercises they want to do during 2 minute intervals. Target different muscles groups on consecutive days. Do compound movements (squats, pull-ups, burpees, push-ups) rather than single-muscle exercises that don’t ramp up your heart rate (triceps extensions, bicep curls). Of course, single-muscle movements can be done after compound exercises, but remember that the goal is to make yourself breathless in that 2 minutes. Set your phone to alert you every hour, get off the couch or push yourself away from the desk and get that heart racing and muscles burning!

    Reply

  • I really liked your video and the ideas you suggest! I completely agree with you! ( I also love Thrive Themes ❤️)

    Reply

  • carovillah says:

    Hi Shane,

    I appreciate the constructive and positive angle on the situation. I understand the goal of this videos is not easy, but that spirit of being of service and helping is everything right now and is really valuable.
    With your experience and the collective feedback that goal seems so much easier to achieve.

    For the next videos you can re-consider to expand on How really scary now is to do “the scary stuff”?

    For some business ideas maybe the situation requieres a reality check or some adaptations might be needed.

    Maybe others like me, are wondering what really people want or need during or even after this crisis?
    What services / businesses / skills / products will become most valuable?
    How to validate my ideas in this new context?
    Maybe we need to check “our game inventory” and re-design a new game strategy, and like you said, first build personal power, but with strategy.

    If acquiring new skills is in that game design, this one is !important;
    How to know the right balance of acquiring new skills vs procrastinating by “focusing” on study new things?

    Then, How to choose the scary stuff you want to do?.
    I still believe we can choose. Somebody taught me once that we can choose the problems we want to have, and be grateful for that. The situation was “The server has too many concurrent visitors right now” and he answered “that’s the problem I wanted to have!”. In every new project scope, the question was always “what problems do we want to have?” and that made the product better in many ways. Simple, but powerful.

    Then, How can a person know when it’s time to go out (pun intended) and actually do that scary stuff?
    I mean, I am witness of many months and infinite tasks of people making software and calling it M.V.P…sometimes solopreneurs have more advantages vs companies.

    Is this crisis a clean slate to create a new dynamic around what really makes us happy?
    Maybe, deep down is not hippie stuff ;)

    I really appreciate these videos, is the space to really think about those things that matter.
    So, I Sincerely Thank you a lot for that!

    Reply

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      Many of these points will be covered in the next episode of this series. Everything around how to strategically choose what to focus on, what to do and not to do in times of great uncertainty and so on.

      Regarding the “clean slate”: I do hope we can gain something positive out of the crisis. This is far reaching enough to be able to shake loose some old systems and paradigms and I hope that happens and that we can replace them with something new and better.

      Reply

  • Hi Shane, Looks like you’ve started your Boot Camp for your new employees. I’d love to hear what you are currently working on and any courses you hope to release this year. Any chance of a quick ‘Insiders Update’?

    Reply

  • This is amazing stuff Shane as always. Love the clarity amongst all of the panic and distress we’re constantly in the middle of.

    Side note: another meditation app I’ve really liked using is Simple Habit https://www.simplehabit.com

    Reply

  • Mohamadino says:

    My favorite vides these days :)
    Thanks for sharing Shane!

    Reply

  • christin.smith says:

    Thanks Shane. Totally agree. Keep up normal routines, the morning walk, gratitudes, learning and working ON the business. It’s a bit harder with a house full of people and boys doing home learning now but we will get through it!

    Reply

  • Practical words of wisdom. Thanks Shane. – Just wondering what part of the world are you in now? Warmly, Geoff

    Reply

  • On the day just before the lockdown, when I was returning home I had understood that the time which is coming can be a golden opportunity and the same day I had planned to do whatever I was hoping for i.e. my online business.
    I have planned to learn SEO practices more in-depth and today it’s the second week completed of lockdown, and when I look back I assure myself that I have done something really productive.
    Thanks, Shane for challenging

    Reply

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