Let’s talk about the coronavirus. I know you’re sick of it. I know you just want life to get back to normal.

Me too.

I had plans, dammit. And all of “this” changed my life drastically.

But here’s the thing. I’ve been focused on one thing and one thing only these past couple of weeks.

Hope lives in the now. Hope is what you can have right here with you today.

I’m very hopeful for the future. I see this as a turning point, a time when people rediscover who they are in this world. I have hope we’ll slow down, get in touch with our inner core on a deeper level, and make wiser choices when we come out on the other side.

Fear – that’s something easy that slips in on the side of hope. It’s this little tiny infectious “bug” that creeps in and tries to steer you wrong. “What if you’re wrong?” “What if you fail?” “What if you lose your house?” “What if you get it?”

Chances are you know “fear” very well. We all do at some point. There’s no way to expel it from our lives forever.

That’s why it’s important to concentrate on hope. And now more than ever.

Let’s talk about coronavirus for just a moment

If you are the type to leave the television on all day, listening to every single detail happening in the world right now, I have one word for you: STOP.

Just stop it. It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing you can do about any of this. It will all happen whether you listen in or not.

Instead, put your focus on hope rather than listening to fear-based news.

The news wants to keep you afraid. They want the “blood and guts and gore” of the entire process.

Say no, instead.

In reality, there are only two things you should know about the coronavirus that truly impacts your life right now. (This applies to you only if you are safe at home and following the guidelines. If you or a loved one is sick, your only goal is to focus on getting the help you need.)

1. Scientists are ignoring political arguments, coming together, and working as “humankind” to get the job done.

“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”

Politics today is nothing more than reality TV. They’re all looking for the next biggest fight, greater airtime, and more ways to pull in money for their own causes. Don’t play their games.

Focus on what matters instead.

And that revolves around hope. What we as individuals can do to help the world become a better place. One scientist, one business owner, one person at a time.

2. This was a wakeup call, not an end-all

Pandemics have occurred again and again throughout history. It was only a matter of time …

Scientists have been warning about this for years. Yet the majority of society has ignored this, and now is scrambling to play catchup.

What if this was just a practice run at how we handle a pandemic? What if this was designed to help you get your house in order, so you’d make better choices about your life – your world – and be better prepared for the next time?

This is where opportunity lives

As you can imagine, I am a glass-half-full kind of girl. But I think anyone can live there if you take out uncertainty and focus on reality.

Right now, ask yourself a question: If I could go back one year from today and tell myself what to prepare for, what would I say?

I know exactly what I’d tell myself – maybe it can help you too.

Where focus should be right now

Find my happiness

I’m getting really good at this. But it’s taken me almost 55 years to perfect it.

Years ago, I attended a workshop where the speaker asked us who was happy. A few people raised their hands. He polled the rest of the audience to find out what they needed to be happy. They stated they would be happy when:

  • Their business was successful
  • They found a partner they could share life with
  • They paid off the bills
  • They had more money in the bank

After writing all the excuses on a whiteboard, he turned and said none of us would ever be happy, because we would always strive for more. When your bank account was filled, you’d need more. When the bills were paid, there’d be more bills right behind it. And how could you ever be happy with such a vague requirement of “being successful?”

He said the only way to be happy today is to CHOOSE to be happy today. To love life for what you have, right now, in the moment.

I took that to heart. And I’ve been striving for it each and every day since.

I’m happy today because I chose to build my life in such a way that I’m happy.

Do I have bad days? Of course.

Yet when I get up, I spend the first thirty minutes meditating and journaling on everything I have to be grateful for. And when something isn’t right, I change it as quickly as I can.

Surrounding myself with love

Several years ago, I was in a bad place. I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

The people around me liked a “fake” me. It was partially my fault, I’d allowed her to grow and be seen by biting my tongue again and again. When I finally started allowing the real me to be seen, let’s just say it didn’t go very well.

I wasn’t happy with where I lived. I didn’t like a lot of my relationships. Quite frankly, it was making me sick.

But I saw the problem and I worked to fix it. I picked up and moved. I let go of relationships that were toxic in my life.

And I’ve never looked back.

Today, I’m in a place I love. I have fabulous relationships with the friends and family I’m around. I live in a location that helps me thrive rather than holds me down.

And every day, I’m reminded of the choices I made to get to this place of love.

Look, it’s hard. It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. But I kept focusing on what I wanted for myself, my husband, my daughter, and I never let up. This or that? Love or … I was no longer willing to accept anything but love.

Now even in the most trying times, I know I have people around me who have my back. If I ever have to face the worst again, I know I can count on everything I’ve built up around me. And that’s a pretty good place to live.

Building a safety net

The statistics are already coming in on the impact of the coronavirus. Just 69 percent of renters had paid their rent by April 5th, compared to 82 percent who had paid by March 5th.

While statistics aren’t out yet on how bad the average household has taken a financial hit, bet the numbers will be staggering. Last year at this time, a study showed the median amount Gen Xers had saved for retirement was $66,000. Yet only 14 percent of Gen Xers were “very confident” they could retire with a comfortable lifestyle.

Think that’s changed?

Let’s say another pandemic would hit in March of 2025. What would you tell yourself today to prepare for it?

I know my answer. And I have all that in place right now.

What are some things you might consider?

  • Have two months expenses set aside
  • Have passports ready to go
  • Have low interest rate credit cards without a balance
  • Have an open line of credit

What you choose depends on your lifestyle.

Still, even with my preparation in place, I’d do things a bit differently. I’ve been taking notes diligently every day, journaling about the things that would be helpful. This process is and always will be a work in progress. But I’m working on it. And I’m by far a lot closer than I was five or ten years ago.

If you don’t have a savings account you’re contributing to regularly, do it now. You can read about my experience here – it matters, especially as a woman in midlife. Don’t wait until the next hiccup in the economy – it will come. Start planning today.

Find my peace

They say it takes about 30 days to create a new habit.

Guess what? Sheltering in place for 30, 60, 90 days or more is the perfect chance to work on those new habits.

What’s important to living a good life will never change. You can predict it yourself. What we need as humans are:

  • Sleep – sleeping soundly for around eight hours is mandatory. Don’t let someone fool you into thinking you can do it regularly on three or four.
  • Nutrition – did you stock up on potato chips or fruits and vegetables? Have you always wanted to start a plant based diet – why not today? Right now, my family is spending a lot of time creating good, nutritious plant based dinners together. We use the time to talk, joke with each other, and share our dreams for the future. It’s leading to amazing discoveries about what we each want in our futures. All of that, and eating well too!
  • Exercise – depending on where you are, you can still get out and walk, run, even bike. Do it. If you can’t, or to supplement your routine as I do, go online and find a workout routine. My gym has given us access to dozens of videos we can do at home. I’ve kept up my workout routine, and even pushed myself into new workout skills.
  • Relationships – we’ve always talked a lot as a family, but we’re going deeper than ever before. I’ve called and Facetime’d with friends I haven’t spoken with in a long time. I know who’s important to me, and ensure they know how much they mean to me.

Find a new me

It always stuns me how people settle in and do the “same old routine” without expanding who they are.

If I’m not learning something new all the time, I’d feel like I was wasting a chance to find a new part of me.

I read books all the time – I’m reading a fabulous historical fiction book about John F Kennedy and Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy. While we all know some about these two powerful people in American history, I’m betting you’ve never looked at their relationship together in quite this way. I highly recommend this book – and I have many other recommendations too. Take a look at my 2020 reading list. I have a link to my 2019 reading list too – that gives you dozens of choices you can pull up yourself and start reading and learning today.

And right now, there’s no excuse for not stretching yourself. Have you been on a Zoom call? Why not? People are using it like never before. My Nia instructor is using it to keep us all together and share Nia one night a week.

Have you never listened to a podcast before? Good news – I’m starting one up! (See how learning something new works? If you listen to podcasts all the time, why not try setting one up? I guarantee you’ll stretch yourself in many new ways putting your ideas out to the world in this fun way.) I’m not quite ready to release it, but it’s coming soon. Watch for it and listen. I’d love to get your opinion.

Mindset Is Everything!

Look, I get it. These are crazy times. And yes, I can wallow in it on occasion, when something big happens in my life and knocks me to the side a bit.

But mindset is everything.

Hope versus fear.

Approach.

The human brain is designed to keep us from experiencing danger. It’s designed to keep you safe. It tells you to say no, to hide, not to take risks.

It takes your mindset to look at things from both angles, decide what indeed is dangerous, and what will make you stretch.

I know for sure, we’ll face times like this over and over again. If you need another boost of great advice, check this story out about a 102 year old woman about planning ahead. Her advice: this, like everything else, will pass.

Yep.

Now ask yourself this. What will your life look like 30, 60, 90 days from now? How will you approach the next hiccup in the system?

Are you ready to change your life RIGHT NOW?

I have something just for you!

Starting April 13th, I’m hosting a 5 day challenge A Week of New Beginnings. We’re going to go deep on 5 steps you can take right now to find yourself in a better future.

Are you in?

If so, go here now and sign up. Then I’ll see you on April 13th.