Covid-19 & Finding Me

2020…Fucking hell. Right? An incredible year in so many different ways, a global ‘war like’ pandemic, I’m not going to write about the virus because well its fucking boring now isn’t it, but my heart does go out to all those families who have lost loved ones, I would have loved to have heard my Grandad Des’ opinion of it all and the government… ‘the pricks’ 

Its been another whole year since I have wrote another blog but this time its not because I’ve been feeling low or having a bad time I’ve simply been too busy, 2020 believe it or not (and I’m not sure whoever is reading this have heard anyone say this) but 2020 has been one of the best years of my life personally and in business also. That might be difficult to read for some because I know for most its been the worse year of their lives for many reasons because of covid but its also not selfish for me to say either.

Firstly the business. Ive been very fortunate that because of the current situation businesses needing a web presence or needing to improve their web presence or to become a e-commerce business has risen massively therefore I have been super busy which of course is great news for me and the business and I currently have a record amount of projects currently in production but it wasn’t all plain sailing.

At the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 I lost a potential list of clients which would of seen website productions to the end of the year, a huge blow, I just recorded a massive 2019 and was on target to eclipse that year with double the amount of clients for 2020 and just like that BOOM no new clients the pipeline burst open and we had zero leads. I didn’t panic.

I had literally nothing to do apart from service my existing clients, so the sun was out it was hotting up and it was LOCKDOWN a whole new life of not being able to go anywhere apart from one hour of exercise a day and wait for Borris to announce what the hell was happening next at 3pm everyday. I literally drank beer in the sun everyday for a month in my back garden, happy days.

The sunshine was continuing into the month of May and something extraordinary was happening, a new sense of community and people pulling together that we’ve never seen before, lockdown is changing people, making people appreciate each-other, making people help each-other, random acts of kindness and a general sense of we’re all in this together and I definitely wanted to get involved and help where I could.

My business mind was overwhelming with ideas of how I could help because well I had fuck all else to do! I was in a fortunate position financially with government support and backup therefore I decided the best way I could help was to give support to other businesses who were struggling and have been affected due to covid.

I set up a web form on my website asking local businesses who didn’t have a website and who would benefit from having one built totally free of charge to help them and their business recover and survive, obviously businesses had to qualify to receive a free website because there is only one of me and the last thing I needed was 100 websites to build in a short space of time. Between 8-10 sites was a maximum and over the next two weeks all the available spaces were taken, I took the Ray Bans off put the beer down and got to work.

Over the next 4 weeks and 19 banana breads later all the websites were launched and the sense of achievement was overwhelming I had successfully played a part in helping save 10 businesses mostly local to me. This then subsequently led to the business being placed in the final for “Business Of The Year” in the Greater Manchester Business Awards. Happy days. Shades back on, beer in hand.

Lockdown has been a massive struggle physically and mentally for me as it has for everyone. Physically I’ve struggled because I’m carrying a knee injury which is preventing me from running which plays a huge part in keeping me as I like to call it “Zen” and not being able to do this has been really hard for me. But I’ve taken up a new hobby of walking/hiking and because we can’t travel aboard I’ve been hiking up some mountains in the snow and have witnessed some incredible breath taking countryside that I’m so grateful to have on our doorstep, there is something about being on the top of a hill with your thoughts that’s so healing.

Shortly after lockdown began I had a catch up call with my good friend Andy Hall we were talking about all things running, lockdown of course and he was giving me advice on which bicycle’s would be best for a beginner (because running is out of the question) then the conversation switched to my business.

My business had a slow start to the year in January and February which Andy and I had previously discussed but March was looking bright and we were on target for a huge month with many new clients at the latter stages of securing contracts. Then lockdown came and I lost all the prospects. 

Andy asked me if I ever considered a business mentor through the business growth hub and to be honest the answer was not really no, I thought I was doing very well the business is growing and I didn’t really think I needed a mentor but I slept on it and I thought why not let someone in and if nothing else use someone as a sounding board and maybe bounce some ideas together. I remained apprehensive.

Within a couple of weeks Andy found me a mentor and introduced me to a lovely woman by the name of Liz. Firstly we began with 6 virtual meetings every week via Zoom with with the 7th meeting in person (2 metres apart of course).

The few days leading up to the first session I remained apprehensive unsure if I needed these sessions, but these feelings were soon a distance memory. The sessions have simply been a complete game changer for me personally and in my business, Liz has a fascinating back story and her career to date has led her on many different paths therefore her knowledge and expertise and ultimately advice and guidance for me has literally transformed my mindset and attitude during lockdown. The biggest thing I’ve taken away from being mentored is that Liz really makes me stop and think, she throws things my way with ideas and suggestions and together we have had “light bulb moments” With these “light bulb moments” we made some adjustments to the business and I experienced the best 3 months of the business (from June) to date.

With this new mindset and attitude shift I began to engage more with the people closest to me, friends and family. We get so consumed with business life and have huge ups and downs that we forget that simply being with a friend or family member for even 10 minutes for a quick coffee and share a laugh and a smile can completely transform your day.

I’ve always had a problem with being present in the moment, I have such huge goals and ambitions that we wish our lives away dreaming of where we’re going to be “this time next year” that we miss the everyday. As John Lennon famously said “Life is what happens when we’re busy making plans” I wanted to concur this and after many lockdown walks a close friend recommended ‘journalling’ to me.

GAMECHANGER! Everyday the journal asks me ‘how I’m feeling?’ It asks me ‘3 intentions of the day’ intentions can be very simple, call Mum and have a chat, call Dad ask him how his day is, make sure I go for a walk for at least half an hour, kiss Becky every time we greet whether coming or going. These small intentions, these small quick journal check-ins are making me feel very much more present everyday. The journal has exercises like ‘create a bucket list’ questions like “What does home mean to you?’ Fun Times, when do you remember having the most fun? Describe where you were and who you were with. Why does it stick in your memory and how could you relive it?

20 minutes of writing in this journal everyday has literally changed my life, sounds exaggerated but its so true, it has created a more present person, a more grateful person and a more minimal simple person, I still have my dreams and targets but I’m more patient. I want to thank the close friend for the recommendation, not sure they would want me to mention their name on this blog but they know who they are.

Covid-19 and lockdown has created closer relationships the extraordinary sense of community and people pulling together that we’ve never seen before has forced me to discover more about myself than ever before and I’ve realised that my ‘Why’ has changed dramatically again. I have changed and become a better person which is why 2020 has been one of the best year of my life. Kindness will continue to be the strategy.

We all have scars, we're going to have more. Rather than struggle against time and waste it, let’s dance with time and redeem it. Because we don’t live longer when we try not to die. We live longer when we are too busy living. (McConaughey)