Ellingson: We must let go of fear to see the opportunities to thrive post COVID-19
Our society has been turned upside down and twisted all around by the coronavirus pandemic that has caused untold suffering and created unprecedented uncertainty about the future.
People are dying in isolation in hospital wards while their families tragically are kept away. Businesses have been shut down, millions of workers have been laid off and family finances have been devastated. Fear and anxiety are understandably at fever pitch.
I don’t think there’s any question that life is going to be very different from now on. We will have to adjust to a new normal and look at our lives and our businesses in a whole new way.
One of the most talented individuals I have encountered in terms of creatively addressing challenges and re-envisioning what is possible is Fletcher Ellingson of Chelan. For the four years or so, the outgoing and engaging Ellingson has built a growing reputation as someone who inspires and encourages individuals, businesses and nonprofits to confront challenges by embracing embrace change and envisioning new possibilities.
Ellingson is teaching what he has learned from struggles and challenges in his own life.
We chatted via Zoom teleconference recently about what business owners and nonprofits can do to take on these challenges and re-envision the future, although the same principles apply to our personal lives and relationships.
Whenever there is a crisis and major changes, such as the 2008 financial meltdown, huge opportunities are created for businesses, Ellingson told me. What he is working on with his clients now is “helping people take the emotional tenor down and get more clear,” he said.
Ellingson describes his work as helping people create freedom in their lives. People thrive when they put aside fear and anxiety and look for new possibilities, he told me. Right now, he’s putting on free online classes on Wednesday nights called “Get Your Superhero Mindset On.” The focus is on “feeling good on demand” rather than waiting for external circumstances to play out your way. He calls that mindset the secret to life, and I quite agree.
Because of Covid-19, he has had to adjust his work from in-person workshops and trainings to online videoconferencing.
Ellingson told me the key for businesses right now is pivoting into a new model that will be successful. There are four questions that business owners should ask themselves:
- Has your ideal client or audience changed? Do some of your clients need your products and services now more than ever? Who can you provide the most value to at the present moment?
- Do you need to pivot your messaging so that it addresses what is going on in the current marketplace? What is essential to their success and how are you filling those needs?
- Do you need to pivot your pricing or products to meet the current situation?
- Do you understand and are you addressing the fears, frustrations and challenges of your clients?
There is tremendous suffering and fear in our communities and our society. Many people are trapped in fight or flight mode and one cannot find creative solutions when that happens, Ellingson told me. This tracks with what we’re learning about neuroscience. Calming the nervous system and re-engaging the prefrontal cortex of our brains and getting out of the amygdala is essential to finding the flow state where we can create a new future.
If you believe that everything is going to hell in a handbasket and all is lost, you’ll stay trapped in fear. Instead, he told me, “what you should be believing is something that’s going to empower you that moves you forward and opens you up to many possibilities.”
You can see these adjustments happening. Yoga instructors and gyms have moved classes online. Some restaurants are selling groceries rather than meals. The list goes on.
Let’s not waste this crisis by hoping that things will revert to the past when we can create a new and vibrant future for ourselves. You can check out Ellingson’s podcasts and writings at www.fletcherellingson.com