I’m OK, you’re OK … right?

Running a company during the Corona Pandemic is tough. Running a small business is like trying to bend water to your will. I am trying to keep a positive outlook, be strong for those working with me, and keep my personal life in order.

This post will be long but … where the hell are you going anyway? We’re all on lock down. So, buckle up. It’s a bumpy ride.

One of the challenges I face as a “leader” is the fine line between what’s too personal and what detaches me from those who lean on me for guidance.

One thing is for sure: if the people you’re leading feel you can’t relate to what they’re going through, everything you say will be ignored.

This past two days for me have been stressful. I just rearranged the structure of my company and I’m trying to pull it all back in order so we can have a successful year. On the back burners are my family. They understand and are supportive but the guilt remains.

The perfect example of this is what I do behind the scenes. I’m not only the owner of a small press, I’m a caregiver, a mentor, a cover designer, and very part time crisis counselor.

What got me into being a crisis counselor is my son. For those of you who have just joined me, I have four sons. One of them suffers with schizophrenia. The Corona pandemic has turned the world upside down financially, but what some people don’t see is how it’s needling it’s way into our emotional and mental well-being.

Yesterday, I spent the day with my son admitting him (by his choice) into the hospital. I didn’t realize with everything on my plate how much it was affecting him … until I noticed he’d been spending more time at my side. We talked often, but I failed to ask him a couple vital questions. Luckily, it wasn’t too late and I came around. It still hit me like a truck. This is what I do and I messed up. I realized, with sudden clarity, how the chaos around me was affecting me, too.

My advice to you is to take a moment every day and breathe. Meditate. Focus. Decompress. If you don’t, you might miss crucial details-and those details can be detrimental.

Right now, parents are getting to spend time at home. Think about this for a moment. For years, our outcry at how many hours two parents have to spend working outside of the home fell on deaf ears. Now, we are forced to stay inside and parents have no idea how to be in the moment with their own children.

I implore you to spend these valuable moments getting to know them. Put your phone down. Turn off the television and laptops. Look them in the eyes and listen. Your babies are growing up before your very eyes. The world has raised them. Mend fences. Build bridges. See them. Hear them. Whatever they have to say.

All around us, the world is changing. We will never go back to “normal.” We have a new outlook on life because everything we thought was safe turned out to be temporary. If you still have your health, cherish it. While some of you are scouting the shelves for toilet paper, someone’s mother has passed, a sibling is sick, a father is stuck in another country on a business trip, a neighbor has lost their job, a friend has lost their home, and a child thinks there’s no hope for their future.

Right now someone is complaining because they don’t know if they have a job to go back to and another is working to ensure you have food on the table, or shelves full of hand sanitizer.

Have you reached out? Checked in with someone? Volunteered? Called to make sure everyone is OK? These actions are free.

While trying to focus on spreadsheets of royalties I had to stop more than a few times. The world grew heavy on my shoulders and I couldn’t breathe.

I thought of my son in the hospital getting much needed respite from a world he doesn’t understand, and the dark voices trying to convince him it wasn’t worth it. He’s one of the bravest, strongest people I know. What we are facing during this crisis he has faced every day for the last 20 years.

I look back at the war we’ve fought together and I have to smile. Yes, smile. Because we stood shoulder to shoulder, war-torn and loyal through all of it.

Love, compassion, and respect. It’s a fail safe formula. With those three things, kindness comes with little effort.

One more day. When things seem like it can’t get better, I tell myself, “give it one more day.”

The sun will rise. A decision can be made. The storm can pass. A breath of fresh air will pass over you.

As I wrap up this long winded menagerie of thoughts, I can only hope you can find something meaningful in them. I don’t know where I was going with them. I only know it was weighing on me to write them. If you were putting out a call to the universe to see them, I hope they have reached you.

When you’re done reading this, find something to make you smile. You deserve it.

We all do.

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