These were the first few words that went through my mind when restrictions started to be put in place. From businesses being forced to work from home, all the way through to schools closing their doors. Our revenue for the foreseeable future had all but been lost.
However, my words were not directed towards my business, my first initial thoughts were for all of humanity - we’re all in big trouble here. The proposed restrictions brought with them exponential levels of social distancing and self-isolation. A cocktail of all the wrong ingredients and one that is going to leave us all with a terrible hangover.
It was with this realisation that I stumbled across the notion that perhaps my focus had shifted from where I started. You see, I entered the mental health and human connection space many years ago with an insatiable passion and drive to develop stronger connections between community members. I envisioned doing this by providing proactive support and platforms for society to make sure no one feels isolated and alone.
However, over the years my energy had shifted from the charitable organisation into the commercial facing business and all the many overheads and KPIs that needed to be met. Instead of counting impact, I was counting invoices due and money in. The equation was never quite balancing which led me to chase the next shiny object in an effort to save our business and our mission. While in the meantime the charity sat there idle, an impact-lead, highly engaged and purposefully driven vehicle sitting in the garage.
It wasn’t until the revenue dried up due to COVID-19 and the lack of SME’s and schools who either needed or could afford our workshops and programs that I thought back to my first feeling of ‘oh, we are in big trouble here’ and this time it was in direct relation to my business. Decisions needed to be made and they needed to be made then and there.
Like the flick of a switch, the choice to shut down the commercial business was made. This allowed us to put all of our energy and resources back into the charity, where they belong. Capital and time invested would now be redeployed into the foundation. An exciting opportunity to forge deep ties with our initial mission of bringing communities together to develop psychological resilience and emotional wellbeing.
Like all things in life, what you look for you will find. If you look for stories of devastation and hurt right now across the globe you will have no trouble finding them, on a mass scale. On the other hand, not to discredit or shy from those that are hurting, if you look for stories of hope and positivity you will still find your fair share of these stories as well.
You see, for most of us our vision hasn’t changed, especially those in the social enterprise space, we are still driven by purpose and outcomes not associated with profit. If we look at the word ‘pivot’ from an anatomical position it essentially means to rotate, to change direction. I would hope for most of us, we have not changed our overarching mission and the destination we are headed. Rather than a change in direction, we have simply changed the vehicle in which we are travelling. For the Human Connection Project, we have made some large structural changes, gone through days where we had lost hope and experienced many moments where we were overcome with anxiety and fear for what might happen. However, we made hard decisions, realigned with our purpose and are now more energised and driven than ever before. Not driven to meet due dates on invoices, albeit they are still there, but driven to impact and save more lives and it's a very, very good feeling.
If you are experiencing tough times right now, be it personally or in your business, know this - We will get through this and the world we go back to will never be the same, nor should we want it to. The old world was never normal, we now have the opportunity to reshape what normal looks like. A world of giving, impact and the realisation … #howgoodsliving. This is at the heart of positive psychology. Fixing what is wrong does not automatically lead to wellbeing. We must not remove stress, rather understand how to manage it. This is our key to overall wellbeing and the key to our happiness.
“Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning that aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive” - Martin Seligman