Doom, gloom, and a global pandemic—these are the themes driving us into the roaring (whimpering?) twenties. It isn’t exactly what we expected, but if there is anything I’ve learned in my many years as an entrepreneur, it’s that moments of uncertainty can breed some of the most interesting and inspiring ideas. At the same time, it is an incredibly scary time for many and sinking into that fear feels a little safer than making like a buffalo and running into the storm. Many of us who saw businesses in various stages struggle through the 2008 recession know just how harsh reality can be. With my own grit and wisdom now well-tested, my lesson for all of us who have been there, done that, is this: now is the time to pay it forward. Here is how you can do that.
Give Your Time
Time looks a little different when the vast majority of your network is at home, and for many, it is a more abundant resource than usual. What many members of my team have done is find ways to give their time doing virtual mentoring, charitable giving events, and reviewing resumes or college entrance essays. While many are now looking for work, we can all take a few minutes out of our days to help the person next to us or half a world away.
In tech, bringing in catered food is almost as critical as providing a working computer and desk. What happens when all of those people are no longer in the office and all that food is no longer being ordered? While your employees probably miss it, I would wager the businesses you ordered from probably miss those orders even more. We took our normal Friday breakfast taco order and sent it over to a local hospital to feed our frontline workers. It’s a small gesture that has a sizeable impact.
While we aren’t all able to be in labs where we can test vaccines, or design a better ventilator, we can all pay it forward by innovating right where we are. In our jobs every day, there is an opportunity to create a big impact on our immediate surroundings. Is there a feature idea that would make your customers’ lives easier, not only in a pandemic, but any emergency? Are there processes that could transform the way your team does work, thus giving them more time and energy to focus on bigger things? Is there a new way to get employees engaged that may spark inspiration? By embracing innovation, we can help others around us who are struggling through this, or any crisis. When we do that, we ensure that all of us will emerge from this situation better, stronger, and more connected.