The coronavirus. A love letter.


Many years ago, I was an executive in a Fortune 100 company and my team received some devastating news. I mean it was the WORST POSSIBLE SCENARIO.

My employees were scattered around the globe. I gathered them together for a conference call, delivered the news, and told them they had 24 hours to be angry and then we were getting back down to work. We would overcome.

This has been my approach to business throughout my career. You have to embrace the chaos. There is always going to be chaos. How you handle it … this is your defining moment.

(In fact, I wrote a whole book about that called LESSONS: Essays to Help You Embrace the Chaos. You have that one, right?)

This coronavirus crap is pissing me off. Almost all of my business is canceling, including the college classes I teach. So. Shit.

But my 24 hours of being angry are over. It’s time to embrace this chaos. It’s time for YOU to embrace the chaos, too. It’s clobberin’ time.

I am forecasting that for the next few months, I’m going to have lot of time on my hands. Here are 25 ways I’m fighting back and using this chaos as an opportunity:

  1. Re-frame my website, especially my speaking pages.
  2. Have more personal conversations (actual phone calls) with close business connections.
  3. Get healthy and get back in shape. This winter was brutal.
  4. Create a new speech. My best speech. It will knock your socks off.
  5. Get more involved in my local community businesses and church.
  6. Spend more time mentoring young professionals and encourage them through this rough time.
  7. Improve the content in my college classes.
  8. Use social media every day to give people hope.
  9. Write some amazing new blog posts with this free time.
  10. Improve the entertainment value of my Marketing Companion podcast.
  11. Do more watercolor paintings. Yes. I am painting now.
  12. Start a vegetable garden that actually grows something this year.
  13. Read a book every week.
  14. Be more proactive in promoting the work of others.
  15. Brainstorm ways to further monetize my content.
  16. Take a few day trips to the mountains. That calms me down.
  17. Dive into my website analytics. I never have time for that.
  18. Hold a free webinar that teaches and inspires people.
  19. Spend a lot more time with the young inner-city kids I mentor. They need me right now.
  20. Create a video series on my personal branding book KNOWN. This has been on the backburner for years and people have been begging me for it.
  21. Promote my capability to do personal coaching and counseling with people. In busy times I downplay this but I’m very good at it.
  22. If the consulting business dries up, visit companies and do consulting for free. It will pay off in the long run.
  23. Find ways to help people who are suffering through the business downturn.
  24. Learn something new. Not 100 percent sure what that will be yet. Probably AI-related.
  25. Write my new book. Oh my. Wait until you see this one. I mean seriously.

So that’s the plan. Or the start of one.

Now I want to acknowledge that this is a terrible time. People are being quarantined, floating aimlessly on cruise ships, and dying. So we all need to take this seriously and be safe.

But maybe it will help your outlook if you make a list, too. If things are heading south for you too, find some things to look forward to, create new opportunities that are in your control.

Let’s embrace the chaos together.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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