By: Daniel C. Finley

Going the Distance

With social distancing our new normal (at least for the short term but possibly for longer), most people would agree they are ready to get back to living their lives as close as we safely can like we were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, until that day happens we must ask ourselves this, “What is the best course of action when what we want is not an option?”

Mike McCarthy, the head NFL football coach for the Green Bay Packers said it best, “Big plays are such a huge factor in the outcome of games. It is so difficult to go the distance on a defense.” Whether you are playing the game of football or the game of life, having an offensive strategy is the best way to be successful.

Advisors/agents know that mapping out a plan for keeping spirits up while social distancing mandates remain in place for many is an offensive position that can help. Let’s take a look at a few strategies that can go a long way in sustaining a positive mindset during this unprecedented time.

Strategy #1: Schedule Exercise

We have all heard about the numerous benefits that daily exercise has on an individual: reduce or control weight, counter the effects of stress, not to mention it stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin- all naturally occurring bodily chemicals which regulate a person’s mood.

Mark D. is a client of mine-a thirty five year veteran financial advisor who uses exercise as a stress reliever. He sets an appointment each day for 5:00 pm to go for a five mile walk. In addition, he uses this exercise time to listen to various professional development podcasts. This is keeping him not only physically fit but mentally sharp. After weeks of integrating this as regular workout routine, it is now become a habit which he hopes to continue even once he gets back to working in an office!

Strategy #2: Schedule Expertise

It’s been said that if you do something for 10,000 hours you will become an expert at it. How many times have you wanted to learn a new language, how to play an instrument, write a book or anything else on your personal list but just didn’t have (or make) the time? Well, now with a little planning especially if you have children at home you are balancing, you have been gifted that time.

Bill K., a fifteen year veteran in financial services decided in mid-March to use this time to finally achieve his lifetime goal of learning Spanish. He has immersed himself in an online course and after several weeks of working on it every day he is finding himself more and more fluent. He said that if it weren’t for being quarantined he probably would not have ever begun.

Strategy #3: Schedule Connections

For many, social distancing is bringing people closer together to those that they care most about.

Samantha P. another coaching client is scheduling time every day after her work is done to connect with somebody that she cares about. She emails or texts them to set up a phone call or a Zoom meeting each week. After a month of doing this she has rekindled old friendships, gotten closer to loved ones and looks forward to what she calls her “daily connection”. 

Why an Offensive Strategy will keep You Going the Distance

These are just three strategies to help you stay positive and motivated during this challenging time. I’ve heard about so many others as everyone is being creative. The main component they all have in common is taking the time to schedule whatever activity (exercise, new skill, connections) you choose to do. This is an offensive approach and it works because it redirects your focus from things that are out of your control (such as being in quarantine) to things that are in your control (such you are able to accomplish).

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