I read a tweet from Zen Fi that made me chuckle, “Our ancestors went through wars, famines, and disasters, and all we are asked to do is wash our hands, sit our asses down and watch Netflix.”

It puts things into perspective.

Not to minimize present circumstances, but instead of wringing your hands and worrying, look for opportunities during this period.

The Stoics emphasized taking a long view; don’t get wrapped up in things. For most, this “crisis” will be forgotten in years, if not months. Take things as they come and do your best with the circumstances as they actually exist.

Another core Stoic principle is to determine what you can and cannot control. What you can’t control are international events that have severely curtailed your ability to make a living. What you can control is how you are going to respond:

  • Use the time to review your systems. What systems do you have in place, and are they functioning? Develop checklists and protocols that will help you when the dams burst open with new client calls after the turmoil subsides.
  • Is your practice model viable? Use the quiet time to think about how and why you do things and whether there may be a better way.
  • How is your technology? Knowing what you know now, what do you wish you had in place to help run your practice? What will you have in place the next time you need to rely on remote access as part of your day to day existence. Figure out what you need and how to get it.
  • Are you checking in with staff and clients to reassure that everybody and everything going to be okay? Are you building the morale of the team, despite a lack of physical contact? Use Zoom or other platforms to maintain some face time with everyone or pick up the phone.
  • Use the time to get fit. Walk, run, or bike. Get outside and get fresh air. Meditate and read philosophy and history to keep perspective.
  • We often neglect our brand marketing as we are busy putting out client fires. Now is your opportunity. Write an article, develop a blog, create a webinar, or some other way to enhance your visibility. Get a jump on the marketplace to distinguish yourself when things normalize.
  • Clean up your home or office. Throw out what you no longer need or any outdated books and materials. Purge your network of unneeded documents or emails.

As the great Stoic philosopher (and Roman Emperor) Marcus Aurelius observed almost 2,000 years ago, “It’s all in how you perceive it. You’re in control. You can dispense with misperception at will, like rounding the point. Serenity, total calm, safe anchorage.” His reasoned voice came out of a time of perpetual crises, and he knew that it is not the crises that are our undoing but how we react to them.

Here we are 2,000 years later worrying about things that will likely be inconsequential two years from now. Instead, take the long view. Use your time wisely. Stand strong against the elements and be courageous. This, too, shall pass.