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Crisis is Both Danger and Opportunity

I hate to say this, but I may have caused the pandemic. As a business owner and entrepreneur who sometimes feels like she works 24/7, I have often said “Stop the world, I want to get off!” Fast forward to March 2020 and it really happened. After the initial anxiety of not working (or making money) wore off, I realized this crisis was only temporary and started concentrating on home and property projects that I (we?) have been putting off for an awfully long time.

Years ago, I taught Freshman College Success Skills at Alvernia University. Being a Freshman is stressful, so I would start class by giving each student a copy of a Chinese character (see left). This Chinese character stands for Crisis and it contains the symbols for Danger (on the left) and Opportunity (on the right). Crisis can represent both a challenge and an opportunity to make changes for the good. What better way to describe our current situation during the Covid19 quarantine?

When I meet with clients, we frequently come across unfinished projects/hobbies, photo/scrapbook organization, and unread books/magazines/etc. These items can hang heavy on the conscience of my clients. As I help them decide what to do about these items, I pose this question: if you had the opportunity to spend one month to do whatever you wanted to do, would you complete/finish/make time for this project? And therein lies the answer to whether the unfinished project is worth keeping or not. Answers range from “yes” to “no” to somewhere in between and that is how we decide whether the unfinished project is worth keeping or not.

During this time of unprecedented amounts of free time, I am reminded of Lady Stella Reading’s quote: “The whole point about getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.” The danger of all this free time is that we might put pressure on ourselves to accomplish something, when for many of us, just surviving daily is accomplishment enough. If you are just trying to remain calm and keep your family safe, that is good enough. If you have made time for those unfinished projects during this quarantine, great! If those unfinished projects are not a priority, even with all this free time, ask yourself why not? Is it time to leave those projects undone and let them go? Or should you finish the project until its “good enough” and say done? Trust your judgment, but above all else, choose safety and stress-free over achievement.

Finally, even though the danger of this crisis is real, I truly hope you take the opportunity to spend some quality time doing whatever you want to do. How often to we get that chance? I also hope that discovering what to leave undone and what is essential will be made clearer to you. Above all else, stay safe.