After three quarters of beating, pounding, pummeling competition, football teams hold up four fingers to symbolize the start of the fourth quarter. They’re not doing it to state the obvious. They’re doing it to signify strength, unity, and a strong finish.
Having weathered a gruesome year but with the silver lining that there is an end to the pandemic in sight, business owners can relate to that fourth-quarter feeling in football. You’ve made it this far. You will not—cannot—quit now. The win is in sight, and so is the reprieve from fight-or-flight. Q1 of 2021 is no longer the first quarter; it’s the fourth quarter for carrying your business through the pandemic.
Since we’re dealing with business strategy and people’s lives, gearing up for the challenge goes beyond physical effort and intensity. Elevate your performance and that of others by focusing on the mental and emotional aspects of overcoming adversity.
Take Time to Appreciate
The initial onset of the coronavirus was shocking. The second, winter surge, for many, is simply deflating. Those who have seen their businesses grow and/or been minimally impacted during the pandemic may also be feeling survivor’s guilt.
The end of the year, especially this year, is a natural time to unwind and reflect. Usually, during the holidays, we celebrate. This year, we will simply appreciate—family, friends, employees, colleagues, essential workers, health care professionals, the ride of life, the pride in owning a business, the technology to keep in touch from afar, and the speed of science to instill optimism.
Entrepreneurs are self-motivated. Even in times when you may feel unmotivated, your internal motor keeps going until you eventually kick back into high gear. Your motivation is on autopilot. But realize that most people don’t have that, especially in winter and especially during a pandemic.
People are afraid for their health, afraid for their family members, afraid for their jobs, and fatigued from the constant fear. Business owners right now need to lead with emotional intelligence, intellectual agility, compassion, and understanding. It’s time to rally the troops, yes. But in order to do that, you will need to tailor your approach to each person’s emotions. Some want pep talks. Others want space. They all want to see and feel that you are a leader who listens and a human who cares.
Fill Your Battery
Q1 of 2021 is going to be a gnarly fight, no doubt. Taking time to appreciate will give you a little bit of a recharge going into it. Now is also the time to do the safe, simple things that you can enjoy in order to continually rejuvenate your mind. Maybe it’s (safely) spending time with family. Maybe it’s not spending time with family. A walk on the beach, a beer on the porch…whatever it is, use this historic moment of reflection to fill your battery for the first quarter of the year and the fourth quarter of the fight ahead. As the vaccines go into arms, hope goes into hearts and stability returns for business. We just have to get through this last haul.