Now’s the time to find your gumption

Read this blog by Kaia Vincent, Director of Brevity Marketing, or listen to it via our podcast

Do you find that when you take a holiday your mind floods with ideas about how to develop your business? Are you filled with inspiration to find new ways of working? On about day three of any break from work, this is what happens to me. It’s probably because you’re less distracted by your everyday life, which usually takes up most of your headspace.

The trouble is that, after your break, you typically return to work, get bogged down in the ‘everyday’ again and your wonderful ideas never reach past first base.

An ideal breeding ground for ideas, not just viruses

I’m not saying the current ‘lockdown’ situation is anything like a holiday but many of us are now enjoying a new ‘silence’ in our lives.

At present, there is still ‘noise’ from media, but as the days roll by we’ll get more used to our new surroundings – home. If I ever have a long period off work, typically we’ll go away. Like many of us, I don’t actually get to spend that much time at home. With the opportunity to do so thrust upon me, more quiet time has allowed my creativity to thrive…

The gravity of the situation

Reading through LinkedIn today, I saw a post from Wote Street People talking about Sir Issac Newton. It caught my eye because Sir Isaac Newton is a distant relative of Lord Portsmouth who owns the country estate where the Brevity office is situated. Within their prestigious art collection, they have the oldest known portrait of their famous ancestor and the funds generated from the printing of the painting ensures their family church remains in tip top condition.

Between the summer of 1665 and the spring of 1667, Sir Isaac Newton, who was a scholar at Cambridge University, made two long visits to Woolsthorpe in order to escape the plague affecting Cambridge. The bubonic plague of 1665–1666 rapidly spread throughout our country. Many town-dwellers, like Newton, retreated to the relative safety of the countryside.

In later life, Newton stressed that these enforced absences were the most intellectually fruitful of his whole life:

“For in those days I was in the prime of my age for invention and minded mathematics & philosophy more than at any time since.” – Isaac Newton

“Working at home”, away from the distractions of his everyday life in Cambridge, allowed Sir Isaac Newton to discover calculus, optics and the laws of motion and gravity.

How can you use this situation to help encourage your creativity?

Current government rules say that you’re allowed one trip outside daily to exercise. So, go on a walk today, tomorrow and the next day and look around you for inspiration. The days are longer and the weather is more likely to be pleasant, so if you’re lucky to live near to green areas and countryside, take a stroll and let your mind empty.

Don’t force the ideas, once your mind is quiet, they’ll come to you. Just treat it more like a little ‘re-start’ for your brain. You might be surprised at the things that come up. Write them down when you get home.

Brevity clients find beauty in the stillness

We’ve been amazed at the positive ways some of our clients have been adapting to the changes brought about by the pandemic.

Emma Silcox is the owner of The Beauty Spot in Basingstoke and she’s been a Brevity client since she first started the salon 8 years ago. Her business started with a small room and has now expanded, currently with 3 team members and a fourth starting soon.

Initially, Emma was extremely overwhelmed and upset by the effect of the coronavirus pandemic – she was being forced to close the business that she’d worked so hard to build into a success. The COVID-19 situation was completely out of her control. But, during our telephone catch up on the other day, she was raring with ideas about how she was going to utilise this time away from her usually very busy routine to make her business even greater.

Good deeds (and a good night’s sleep) for the NHS

And then there’s Dawn Clarke – wow, this woman is a legend! Dawn’s business has been in full swing, recently preparing to showcase her latest luxury childrenswear designs on the catwalk of Winchester Fashion Week. Far from letting the coronavirus situation slow her down, she has embraced the challenges it brings head on.

Dawn is one of the 400,000 volunteers who will be supporting the government to fight this nasty virus by using her sewing talents to make face masks and sleep masks for doctors and nurses fighting the cause.

The CEO of a number of hospital trusts approached Dawn and said that NHS staff had asked for the sleep masks so they could get a few winks at work between shifts. And knowing Dawn, these masks will be stunning as well as practical; really lifting the spirits of our NHS workers.

And the list goes on – well done to all business owners who have risen to the challenge, adapted to changing circumstances, and not let this virus get the better of their company.

So, my message is – get some gumption!

‘Gumption’ is one of my favourite words. It means you show shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness. I think it’s an underused word and has much more energy than ‘courage’, ‘initiative’ or ‘guts’.

It’s vital to hold onto the fact that the environment we now find ourselves in DOES still offer you opportunities – whether this is to build or evaluate your business. You just have to dig deeper and find your gumption!

A few people have said to me that businesses shouldn’t try and profit over the next few months. For those that try, could it be viewed as callous or is it just part of the SWOT analysis (understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)? You’ll have your own opinion. But identifying how you turn a threat into an opportunity or strength is always key to success.

It’s only temporary

It’s natural to panic, be angry, and feel afraid and/or stressed in times like these. When I logged into a recent Zoom call with my business coach Nikki Wild, upset because I couldn’t get food at the shops, she reminded me about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory by Abraham Maslow, which puts forward that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization.

But there’s other psychology at play here, too. These unexpected storms test our problem-solving skills and creative powers to the limit, and that allows personal and professional growth to happen.

These changes won’t last forever, and that growth will allow your business to move on to bigger, brighter and bolder places when the path ahead clears.

Let’s see where your gumption takes you over the coming weeks or months…