On Saturday, March 14, 2020, I finally surrendered to the reality that there was no avoiding the Coronavirus and that my daily life was about to change.
Instantly my business went from 95% in-person face-to-face meetings (which I absolutely love) to seeing 100% of clients through a digital window on my desk.
I am grateful that technology makes it possible for me to serve my clients, but selfishly those feelings of gratitude got challenged when the simple pleasures associated with connecting in-person suddenly went missing.
Life during a global pandemic brings unique challenges to each individual. Throughout the last 12-months, I’ve kept my ears and eyes open to the lessons that come from an event like a global pandemic.
Here are the three lessons that I found most valuable and I’m sharing them in hopes that you might get value out of them too.
- Equity Markets are Unpredictable and Random in the Short Term - This isn’t new, but we all got to witness this in full speed during the past year. After the mid-March 2020 market drop, I spoke with one of my clients about the market volatility. He didn’t need his invested money for another 15-years, but he was convinced the market was going to drop further. What he was saying sounded plausible, but there was no way of predicting the future and for this particular client, the better play was to stay invested and wait it out.
As it happened, the markets recovered very quickly. The Dow Jones Industrial Average index, grew from 19,173 on March 20, 2020 to 31,429 on February 18, 2021! That’s a growth rate of over 60% in just under 1-year. That reinforced in my mind the importance of being committed to the long-term (10+ years) and not reacting to short-term events and/or the 24-hour news cycle.
- Being Virtual Requires a High Level of Intentional Contact – This continues to be a growth opportunity for me, especially on video calls. For the lack of a better term, it is the meeting on the way to or on the way from the actual meeting. The informal, personal connection chats. At the start of the pandemic, my video calls always dove right into the topic of the day. It took me a little while to figure that out and change my approach. Some of you may have noticed that I now I start my video calls with the video ON and the screen share OFF. I’m trying to remember to ‘talk before I speak'.
Remember those informal chats before/after you talked business? Are you still doing that?
- Mindset is EVERYTHING – Work hard to keep your brain focused and working towards a bigger future, even though the timeline is unclear.
By the end of August 2020, I felt like Phil Connors from the movie Groundhog Day and it was taking a toll on me. Providentially, a keynote delivered by the late Dr. Sean Stephenson came up in my YouTube feed. Dr. Stephenson was born with a debilitating disease and if anyone had reason to complain about being dealt a bad hand, it was him.
But, he didn’t. His keynote was about his mindset and belief that anything ‘bad’ wasn’t being done TO HIM, but rather was being done FOR HIM.
This powerful message and perspective helped me flip the script in my brain and look for opportunities the pandemic created instead of what I felt the pandemic took away.
Things like, I don’t have to be at a specific office right now. The pandemic made reliable Internet access more important than being at any specific physical address. Over the past 12-months, my family was fortunate to take a number of mini-vacations that were only possible because we didn’t need to be one specific place every day.
When dealt a challenging event, how can you flip the script and interpret it as being done for you instead of to you? How can you use the event to your advantage?
In closing, I’d like to start with this disclaimer that I’m not a doctor and you should NEVER take medical advice from your Financial Advisor. :)
That said, I believe that the global pandemic will end and I think we should start getting ready.
One of my business coaches posed an awesome question to me and I’ll share it with you here:
How do you want to BE when this pandemic ends?
Maybe it will end in 16-months, or maybe it will be over 16-weeks, nobody knows.
But, it will end and we have the time between right now and the end of the pandemic to prepare.
This time window is kind of like a training camp in professional sports.
• I want to use my training camp to lose those 10 pounds that snuck-up on me.
• I want to sharpen my financial advising skills and continue to get better at what I do.
• I want to get my team ready to help even more people as the world moves past the global pandemic.
How do you want to BE when this pandemic ends? Create your vision, work backwards to today, create your to-do list and then execute.
What items are on your list that I can help you accomplish?
Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. This material contains the current opinions of John W. Crane but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice