Brake (Break) Now, But Accelerate Out of the Turn

We are now in one of the biggest global disruptions the world has seen since WW2. Supply, distribution, workplace, and demand are all disrupted. It’s scary, weird, and destabilizing (yet unlike WW2, it’s also globally unifying).

With thousands infected by the virus and virtually no one NOT affected by its stress and economic impact, it’s a time to pull together for others: loved ones, neighbors, acquaintances, friends, and anyone else who needs help. There will be many ways to get involved to support others; they are coming!

But on a personal level, it’s hard not to pause for thought. I found myself, for the first time during the chaos, really fully digesting the scope of human hurt the pandemic and its economic byproduct will cause.

So it’s hard not to stop in your tracks and, well, freeze. And that’s okay, in the beginning. But after we thaw, what should we do? The following applies to you whether you are 16, 86, or any age in between.

Manage Downside Risk. 

Whatever you’re up to in your life or career, think of the downsides and manage the risks. If you don’t face these risks they occupy your mind and block progress.

  1. An obvious need today is to really obey the rules of social distancing.
  2. Be sure your kids and those you love know how to reach you and vice versa.
  3. Remind yourself that you are remarkably resilient.
  4. Call that neighbor you know is alone and reassure them you’re there if they need help.
  5. Adjust your worries about your bank account or retirement plan. They’ll come back. Think shorter term.

Defense, defense, defense. Try not to forget anything major. But you won’t be able to manage every risk. Just do your best. It’ll clear out your mind a little for offense and help you avoid bad outcomes.

Play Offense. 

Think about how you can transform your company, career, life behind this moment. It’s the biggest opportunity to drive change and transform in our lifetimes. It’s your moment. Think hard, zero base what you want from your life. Take a clean sheet of paper and ‘get back to zero.’ Write down your dreams. Create a vision for yourself (five, ten, twenty years out).

Document Your Values. Here are Some of Mine. 

  1. I believe all human beings deserve equal opportunities. And I will dedicate my career to that. Leveling the playing field requires exceptional steps because it is so hard to break through the embedded and calcified bias in our organizations, systems, and own thoughts.
  2. I believe hard work results in greater impact and is rewarding in itself, so I’ll always work hard. I love to create and build and I love to help others do that, too.
  3. I believe curiosity stimulates creativity and makes life more interesting so I will foster it in myself. I’ll be deliberate about learning new things to foster and role model that.
  4. I believe each of us owns staying in touch with those they care about. It’s my responsibility to reach out to them, not theirs to me. So I don’t wait for it.

Create Goals and Strategies.

Not just for your career. For your finances. For your health. For your everything. Goals are magical… when you decide you want them enough. They are also free. Might as well have some.

Start Moving.

Begin to take steps on some of these even during these hard times of today. One of my many partners in Logitech, Philippe Depallens, gave me a great analogy this week. Race car drivers brake as they enter a turn; then they accelerate into the turn and are flying coming out. That’s you right now.

Break now to think defense and help others who need you; then move to offense. Get your focus on a vision, goals and strategies for yourself, your career, whatever. Make choices. Then accelerate out of the turn.

This is the worst of times. This is the best of times. This is about mindset.

Help first. Defense at the same time. Think offense earlier than you think you should. And then “accelerate into the future.”

– Written by Bracken Darrell, CEO, Logitech

As posted on Linkedin 3/23/20:

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