Put on your oxygen mask (Read time <3 min)

In our last email, I talked about some actions you needed to take as a leader to be available for your team, your customers, and your community while we’re all “social distancing.” But you can’t give from what you don’t have — so today, let’s talk about keeping your bucket full so that you can continue to serve others with generosity. 

Taming the anxiety

When we’re scared, our body reduces blood flow to our pre-frontal cortex, making it harder to think, and reason. This is not ideal!

If you’re feeling anxious, the first step is to breathe. 

Your body’s reaction to fear, and your body’s reaction to excitement, are identical except when we’re afraid we hold our breath. So breathing can turn fear into excitement. 

Spending time in gratitude is also very helpful to calm fear and anxiety. Write it down every day, “What am I grateful for?” then list at least three things. 


Set times of the day when you can look at the news, and make it no more than 1 hour total! Yes, social media counts as the news. The rest of the day, tune it out.

Your focus needs to be on the facts you can control. 

  • Take a good look at your numbers. What happens if vendor payments get delayed (some will), or projects push or get canceled (some will), or employees get sick (some will). What happens? Be specific, look at the numbers and the facts.
  • Plan some scenarios. If we see X% of projects cancel, then we need to cut costs by Y% (which likely means payroll). If our forecasted new business drops by Z%, we need to ____. Make a plan, it will be wrong, but it’s a plan!
  • Make decisions. Set a deadline, you are going to execute your plan by April 1st (or whatever date is right for you).

What is within your control? Focus on that.


Don’t forget that proper sleep and rest underly all of this. If you get less than 6 hours of sleep, you are working as effectively as you would with a couple of beers in you. If you go a week like that, you are in a severe cognitive deficit. 

Do you think you’ll need creativity right now? Scientists studying brain scans discovered that creativity happens when your brain is at rest (like in the shower, or when you are driving). 

For you to be the leader, you need to be in this time you need sleep, and you need downtime. 

If you don’t have what you need, you are a danger to your company. 

If you need some community, a place to ask questions, or some safe space with only other business owners, join us on Slack. I’m going to be spending time there over the next week or two to answer questions or be available to listen.  

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