Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

Guillaume Apollinaire

In my book, Chasing Marigolds I quoted Guillaume Apollinaire as he describes what it is like when people are first too scared to take a leap of faith or step outside their comfort zone. At the beginning of this lockdown we were like the ones who were too scared to come to the edge in case we fell. Some more tentative than others. Yet after a few weeks we have gone from strength to strength and when we were finally pushed, “we flew.”

However, these are still uncertain times which can leave many people with a sense of fear. For some it is the threat of losing their jobs, homes and income.  While others view uncertainty as an opportunity for change. They see it as a time to diversify the way they do business in order to accommodate the changing needs of their customers.

TIME FOR INVENTIVENESS

You are probably familiar with the expression necessity is the mother of invention. You only need to look back through times of war and depression to see examples of how changing times forced people to come up with new ways of doing things in order to survive. Former pandemics such as the plague brought about changes to the entire social structure as the old ways no longer worked for them. The primary driving force for most new inventions is need and it is what we are seeing now during these uncertain times:

  • Virologists and research teams are working desperately to try to find a vaccine for COVID-19
  • Engineering companies are designing makeshift respirators
  • Local factories are manufacturing Perspex sneeze shields for cashiers in supermarkets
  • A car manufacturer is creating Perspex masks for medical staff at the rate of 1 per minute.
  • There has also been a demand on 3D printers as people try their hand at making their own face shield frames which are desperately needed for nurses.

TIME FOR CHANGE

How often do we say, “If I only had time”? There has never been a better time than this to think about ways to adapt and diversify your business or life style. This period of lockdown has given us all the time we need and for some more than they want. However, it has been interesting to see how many businesses have quickly learned to adapt.

Pubs and restaurants have come up with alternative ideas for providing food. While some former sit-down restaurants have offered take away pizzas or fish and chips, pubs have adapted to drive through beef and Guinness pies or bangers and mash. Boutique breweries are offering take away draft beer, while other businesses are providing a “click and collect” service where you order online and drive through to pick up your goods.

Some beauty parlours have diversified into delivery services and are offering beauty products that would have once been applied by the beautician, while rural dairies are offering to deliver a whole round of cheese to your doorstep. With many people ordering on line, couriers and postal services are working flat out as people rely on products and services being brought to them in their homes.

I bet many of you are wishing you had shares in Zoom and Foxtel right now! There is no end of courses and activities available online. You can relax with yoga or communicate with colleagues in corporate meetings. Some groups are using Zoom for their monthly book club discussions. Others are using it for virtual catchups where they share a glass of wine with their family and friends.

Despite this recent fight for survival some small businesses see it as an opportunity for reaching out to others in the community. They are providing free coffee and pizzas to those who cannot afford to pay or are busily occupied providing essential services. A local businessman decided to provide ready-to-cook meals for those in the medical field too tired to cook when they arrived home. He also gave the public an opportunity to donate $10 towards a meal to show their appreciation for the health care workers.

TIME FOR CREATIVITY

Creativity is the pursuit of those who have a love for life and a desire to share it with others that drives them. In cities where health workers were overburdened, there was a shortage of medical scrubs and hats. Calls went out for help and the public responded. Those who could sew created colourful scrubs and hats for nurses and doctors in bright cheerful fabrics. It was a wonderful gesture to help those in need but it also provided a creative outlet for those who needed to express themselves during isolation.

HOW HAVE YOU TAKEN UP THE CREATIVE CHALLENGE?

  • Have you cut up your bra to make a face mask? Or tried crocheting one?
  • Did you decorate your garden with rainbows and teddy bears?
  • Learnt to play a musical instrument or a second language?
  • Read any good books lately?
  • Started writing inspirational words to loved ones?

Maybe you are thoroughly enjoying the solitude and luxury of not “having to” do anything? Taking time to get to know yourself is the beginning of any creative pursuit. Ask yourself “what do I feel and what do I need” right now? It is a great way of finding solutions to most problems in life.

CHANGE IS INEVITABLE

I wonder what these changes will mean for our future expectations. Will we rely more on this type of on-line home-delivery service?  Is working from home going to become the norm for many people and will we become more dependent on social media as our means of communication? While we all accept that change is inevitable, growth is optional. Hopefully, this time of isolation will give us the time to think about our life values, the benefits of physical communication, the importance of caring about others and the opportunity for us all to grow.

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