A Gift of Time

I returned home from San Diego at the end of January 2020 full of vigor and excitement about having completed a critical stage of my professional development. I had my plans. I started on my to-do list upon take-off, only to land to a whole ‘new’ situation.

I am an optimist by nature.  When our home’s roof terrace caved in years ago during a torrential downpour – causing it to literally rain in the rooms – I had maintained my composure. There was nothing we could do until the torrential rain stopped. So I grabbed a bottle of wine for my husband and I. We sat in the one dry spot, clinked our glasses, sipped our wine and waited till the rain stopped, knowing that all will be well.  Even with that wildly rare occurrence in Singapore, we knew there was a plan of action. We had control.

This time round however, I must admit that my emotions sway daily between concern, fear and despair…buoyed in very small parts with hope.  At least with the roof terrace, we knew what needed to be done. With this virus proliferating our lives in recent months, it isn’t so straightforward. Nothing is clear. (Mis)Information in the form of videos, news, WhatsApp messages, etc., inundate our lives constantly. Like many others, I feel threatened and very vulnerable.

Why am I writing this? Two of my colleagues had shared their thoughts in separate posts highlighting ‘the gift of time’. With David’s and Carlos’ extensive travel prior to COVID-19, they found themselves being grateful for this ‘forced break’ offering them enrichment in other areas. Thank you, Carlos Nouche and David Byck. I couldn’t stop thinking about that line, “Gift of Time”. The more I thought about it, the more I found myself using that line to uplift someone’s day.  Heck! It was helping me!  So here I am, sharing my voice to provide similar motivation to help us all progress in these unprecedented times.

What are we doing with this gift of time? The virus has given our planet a chance to take a breather, a moment to recuperate. How are we using this time wisely? I try to find one constructive thing to do each day – inside and outside of work. It could be as basic as clearing my Inbox or a drawer. This gift of time has allowed us to revisit playing conventional board games with our kids, connect deeper with our families, reignite relationships, rekindle friendships and respect nature.

Each day now I ask myself, “What did I learn today?” or “What did I do today?” Perhaps it’s getting better at using a video-conferencing app or collaboration tool or polishing up my messaging to prospects. Or maybe it’s that extra 3,000 steps I needed to make it to 15,000! Regardless, it’s my way of avoiding mental and physical inertia.

One of the fundamental principles of ValueSelling is that ‘People Need a Reason to Change’. This IS IT. This IS change now. Things will return to ‘normal’ again and you may find yourself reflecting on this extra time you had where you could have done many things but didn’t. There are ways to strengthen your business even under restricted conditions: Upgrade the website, freshen up your corporate image, invest in your staff’s customer-engagement skills or incorporate new methods for communicating with your clients. Much can still be done to position yourselves for growth as we emerge from this pandemic. If productivity has been a key challenge pre- COVID-19, find ways to elevate it now so that you can leverage it effectively post- COVID-19.

“Learn from the experience” is a cliché, but it is true. Business owners continually beat themselves up for things that go wrong but there really isn’t much to gain from bemoaning the mistakes. Far better to take a step back and learn from the experience. What would you do differently next time? What were the clues that you should have picked up on? What are you going to do to ensure this never happens again? This luxury of ‘added time’ NOW gives us the opportunity to explicitly and properly answer each question as opposed to skimming over it the way we would have during our ‘regular’ days. Now, more than ever, process and rigor are crucial to success. Greater discipline is needed what with all the ‘new stimuli’ bombarding us as we work from our homes. During this time, if we can hone these qualities, I dare say we’ll be better for it – regardless of COVID-19.

I love Emile Coue’s affirmation, “Every day in all respects, I am getting better and better.” Since my boys began stringing sentences together, I taught them to repeat this affirmation 20 times before falling asleep. The application of Coue’s mantra-like, conscious autosuggestion is a self-development method used to create new positive beliefs about yourself. It’s also an effective method for ending bad habits. Autosuggestion works by playing ideas into your subconscious and making believe they are true. I feel it’s a great start for my kids – regardless of whether they understand the context now.

This affirmation holds greater meaning now. I have no doubt with this ‘Gift of Time’, every day in all respects, we will get better and better.