By Mike Lipkin

Yes, I know you’re still in shock. I know your life has been blown up. I know that no-one knows specifically what will happen next, or exactly when it will happen.

But that’s precisely my point. Getting ready for what happens next doesn’t mean you need to know exactly what and when things will occur, but there are some things about the future that we know for sure. And that’s what we need to prepare for. We cannot do more and we dare not do less.

Now is the time to anticipate the immediate future and take action on The Ten Things that We Need To Get Ready For:

FAD: Fear, Anxiety and Doubt

Fear, anxiety and doubt will be the dominant emotions for the foreseeable future.

Our foundations have been rocked to the core. We’re all unsteady on our feet. We need to manage our own FAD while we help others manage theirs. People will be drawn to those that boost their confidence, certainty and clarity.

Contact Avoidance

We will protect our space like our lives depend on it.

No hugging, kissing or shaking hands – except with the people closest to you. So keep your social distance. But learn to hug, kiss and embrace others with your words, your voice and your body language. Express your excitement. Declare your joy. Sound like you mean it. Look at others and smile from your soul.

Virtual Communication

Physical meetings will resume gradually. But even when we get back together, we will stay virtual. So master your virtual presence. Light yourself up. Build your online charisma. Become a Zoom wizard or a Webex warrior or a real Teams player. Make it a real pleasure to be with you or disappear into digital oblivion.

Global Contraction

Flat will be the new up. The world will shrink before it grows again. The recovery will be more like a swoosh than a V. Margins will be compressed. Consumers will be cautious. Non- essential spending will be curbed. Cost containment will be the order of the day. So become an essential service. Offer so much value that you cannot be refused. Differentiate yourself by going above and beyond anything you’ve done before.

Trust in Tribes

With so much uncertainty, we will endeavour to get into our comfort zones. We will seek the safety of the tried and tested. We will turn to the people that have come through for us in the crunch moments. We will rely even more on the guidance of our inner circles. We will shop local wherever we can. Geography matters again. So activate your power base. Connect with the people that you’ve served very well. Show them that you’re at your best when things are at their worst. Communicate frequently and meaningfully.

Breakneck Breakthroughs

Welcome to the epic reboot. The Next Normal has made so many things instantly obsolete. The problems confronting us will require a higher order of daring and inventiveness. Speed responds to need. Urgency is rocket fuel for creativity. Nothing galvanizes the mind like the lack of an alternative. Innovation and ingenuity will be the currency of survival. What can you do to help your team and customers become new and improved? And who do you need to help you?

The Great Give-back

To those that have earned much, much is expected.

Philanthropy is mandatory. Social Purpose will be a game- changer. Clients and customers will choose their partners on the basis of the contributions they’ve made especially during this period. Collective generosity is what will bind the village together. In ways both big and small, we all need to give, give, give. Altruism will pay big dividends.

Healthy Gratitude

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the one desire shared by everyone is to get their life back. All our research shows that resuming our daily routines is what we crave most. The simple act of going into a store, eating in a restaurant or even just having a real, live meeting seems miraculous. In the short term, no one is going to take anything for granted, especially their health. In fact, just testing negative is cause for celebration. So express your appreciation for the special moments and the people that help create them. If you see it, say it.

Authentic Humanity

Nothing will change our longing for human contact. We’re social animals. We need to be close to others. We need to share, laugh, lament, gossip, stumble and fumble together. In the absence of physical touch, we need to be reminded of what it feels like to be human. Slick and perfect doesn’t work in a pandemic. As Leonard Cohen sings, the crack is how the light gets in. So unconstrain yourself. Let people see the person behind the mask.

Have the courage to be vulnerable.

Personal Precedent

No matter who you are, you’ve never been through this experience before. You’re deciding what to think and do every day like its day one. You’re amazed by what you see and how it impacts your world. You watch the news. You follow the media. You see how people are surprised and humbled by daily events. Like the rest of us, you have to go where you’ve never gone before. But every step makes you bolder and better. Very soon, you’ll discover that someone else is following in your footsteps. We’re all a role model to somebody. That’s how progress is done.

Remember: not all times in life are created equal.

What you do in the next six weeks can transform your life forever.

Stay in touch.

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