An Unexpected Outcome Of The Corona Virus Nightmare

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

I’m not going to talk about the silver lining we should be seeking in the wake of the Corona Virus.

If you haven’t heard, New York City’s hospital staff is getting crushed.

It’s hard to talk about the good things that can come from bad things when the bad things are really bad.

So, instead, I would like to find another way to reframe what’s happening.

We have to admit that what’s happening is a nightmare for many people.

I’m very grateful that I don’t live paycheck to paycheck and that my life hasn’t been entirely altered by this, so I feel that too–but I want to focus on the pain.

I don’t know about you, but chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you have something inside you that is driven by helping people.

You might be making software, writing a book, or helping an amazing company reach more people, but at the heart of it, chances are, you’re in it for impact.

This is your chance.

People are in pain.

It’s a nightmare for a lot of folks.

But it’s not just a nightmare. Nightmares don’t stay nightmares forever.

It’s an opportunity to help people.

It’s your chance to rise.

It’s a nightmare, but it’s a calling too.

2 Minute Action:

Take 2 minutes to help someone today.

If you don’t know how, here are some ideas:

  • Call your mom and ask if she needs help ordering groceries online.
  • Text your friends and ask if they want to set up a “skype date” to stay social and raise spirits.
  • Send a pizza to your local ER and let them know they matter.

None of these things are hard, but they mean so much.

It’s definitely a nightmare.

But it’s also your calling.

P.S. Here’s what some other folks are doing, too:


Wethos is partnering up with the Freelancers Union to launch a half a million dollar relief fund that will distribute grants of up to $1,000 for freelancers experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. Donate to the cause, here.


Betterific/Ideascale launched a public health challenge. People are collaborating to find relevant and actionable ideas to the crisis. Get involved, here.


Copper 3D has developed and open-sourced a design for reusable 3D-printed face masks as part of their #HackThePandemic initiative.


OLIO is matching your home-cooked meals with low-income families who previously relied on free school meals to feed their children.


Classcraft is helping students and educators all over the world navigate the shift to remote learning in the wake of school closures.


Cell-Ed created this free mobile text-to-audio COVID-19 guide to bridge the information gap for hard-to-reach populations, no data or internet required to download.

Read This If You’re Getting Tons Of Useless Emails From Companies About Corona Virus

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“The health of our employees is important to us . . .”

“Please, remember to wash your hands . . .”

“We’re washing down all our keyboards and sending people home . . .”

Unless you are contributing some new information or notifying of some important procedural change that impacts customers in a big way, these emails are basically just spam.

That’s the definition of spam, isn’t it?

It’s pretending to be ham.

But it’s not.

So, it’s spam.

Here’s what I think is happening:

Someone at the office is saying “Jeeze, a lot of people are talking about this and I just got this email from Bob’s Crab Shack telling me they’re only serving pick-up orders. What do you think, Bill? I guess we’d better send something out to our list to let them know we are taking this seriously.”

Doesn’t that just inspire you?

The best email I’ve gotten so far has been from a financial advisor saying “don’t make any moves!”

From a user perspective, getting a zillion emails is not a good thing. It means I have less time to distinguish the spam from the ham. I have less time to do useful things.

If the people who wrote the email thought of what the customer actually needs, I don’t think 90% of these emails would be sent at all.

If anything, all this nonsense is an indication that the bar is low!

The bar is low for interesting, useful, and important messaging!

It’s your time!

2 Minute Action:

Take one small, single thing you do today and just before you execute it, consider what your customer or end-user will actually think.

I guess another way to say all this is to “treat others the way you wish to be treated.”

And the crazy part?

I bet it only takes 2 minutes or less to consider.

Read This If You Want To Go Faster

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

One of the things that makes us efficient with our time is repetition.

If we do something for the first time, it’s usually clunky and awkward.

After a few practice runs, we get the hang of it, and we become faster at the same motion.

This is true if you’re practicing piano, learning to ski, or playing chess.

It’s true for both physical and mental types of work.

So, naturally, one of the ways to get improve your efficiency is repetition.

Repetition makes us faster.

And one of the benefits of going faster is that we can do the same thing we used to do but with more brain capacity.

So, now, instead of thinking really hard about which chord to play on a guitar, we can just rock out and kick some amps over like rockstars because we just have to think “play an A chord” and our hands just do it by themselves.

The same goes for work and business.

Once you have your process in place, you get your time back so you can focus on new improvements or new innovations.

The important thing to realize is that the only way to do this is by iterating and reiterating.

We start on one, small, valuable thing first–and then move on to the next layer, feature, service, profit center, or business unit.

One. At. A. Time.

Looking back, you’ll see all the amazing progress.

You’ll say, “oh my gosh, I can’t believe we used to do things like that.”

But today, it’s just going to look like today.

2 Minute Action:

What is the smallest but still valuable step you could take, today?

It doesn’t even matter if you have a vision or not–sometimes just taking the first steps to help you see what’s possible or what you want.

Here are some examples of first steps:

  • If you were just laid off, a first step might be posting to your social network and letting people know you’re looking for work.
  • If you are developing a new program for a school, a first step might be creating a list of reasons programs have failed at that school before.
  • If you are building a website, a first step might be building a Powerpoint that “fakes” the site’s features and can still be used as a walkthrough on a sales call.
  • If you are learning to play the piano, a first step might be watching a YouTube video on how to hit a C chord.
  • If you are opening a food truck, a first step might be a cookout with family and friends.

Take 2 minutes and do something small and valuable to move forward.

It has to be both.