How to grow - and run - a business when the world is suffering
We’re in the middle of something that (thankfully) many of us haven’t experienced before.
A war in Europe. We watch the news, share Ukrainien flags, wire money, share posts, watch the news and feel utterly powerless.
At least that's what I do. I'm worried, my heart hurts, my mind all over the place and I know I'm not the only one. You probably feel something like this too.
So what can you do when you're an entrepreneur? Do you continue working like nothing is happening? Well, you can. But It’s hardly business as usual.
You can stay silent, but in a situation like this I always follow Elie Wiesel's words: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
We’re going through something that is - thank God - not usual. So it will never be business as usual. Yet, as entrepreneurs we can't just stop.
Maybe you fear launching right now.
Maybe you feel that you can’t sell anything right now. But you are also an entrepreneur and that means that you can change things! Your action will impact others. Your energy can create change, Your money can change so much! Your energy can change the outside world, as well as your inside world. I know it sounds like a cliche, but peace really starts with you.
So, here are some things that you can do:
1. Do practical stuff first:
We're entrepreneurs. We can do practical things. Wire money, share RELIABLE sources of information, donate, see what you can do to help etc. Just donating 5 Euros already makes a difference.
* Help the people who help.
People who take action feel better. This will benefit your mental health. You don't have to get in your car and drive to the Ukrainian border.
Show your support, protest, send money, every dollar helps, share addresses of people who collect things. Buy a couple of packages or fresh underwear. People pay for Airbnb housing in Ukraine, just so that the money goes into the account of people who might not be able to live in their own house.
2. Watch the news in moderation.
Watch reliable sources. DO NOT engage in discussion with people who trigger you. Turn it off when it affects you too much. When you're overcome by fear talk to friends and family. Nobody benefit from you going to pieces. Stay out of the drama
3. Don't hit that share button before double checking the information.
There's a shitload of fake news going on. Check if the news comes from a reliable source. Be thoughtful of your actions. Very thoughtful.
4. Are you triggered, angry, sad? Take a pause.
There is a natural moment where your emotions subdue. Wait till that moment comes instead of immediately sharing an angry message. Refrain from causing more harm just because you are angry.
When you feel drained and lost, retrace what you watched.
Is there anything you can do now? Yes. Do it now.
Is it out of your control? Accept that it's out of your control. Scream, cry, move, hug someone, or yourself. Breathe. This is the pain of being human.
5. Keep your heart open and grow your compassion.
When we feel we can't help, it's easy to close off, look away because those feelings of "I can't help" often lead to shame and uneasiness.
Be brave, keep that magnificent heart open, hold people in your light. Pray, sing, meditate, have a bath: do what works for you. But don't close off.
Like Thich Nhat Hanh would have told you: If there is darkness, there is also light. Be the peace you want to see. Speak the voice that needs to be heard. Help the helpless.
Breathing in: Peace in oneself, breathing out: peace in the World.
6. Don’t stop doing what you do, show up. Launch, sell, market, keep going.
Be you! We all need your light. We all need your love, your knowledge. We all need you. We all need your solutions. This is the time to show up. The world needs you. When you make money, invest, support and pay it forward, everyone benefits.
7. Use your platform, there's a reason you're an entrepreneur
Take care of your clients and customers, listen to them. Support them. I had deep conversations with the women in my Brave Leap program. It's important to be vulnerable. It's okay to not know what to do. You can help change how people feel and that will affect how they feel at home. Do the right thing and be mindful that your ripple effect can have negative or positive results. Choose wisely.
8. Go for hope
Don't listen to the doom preachers who tell you that nothing you do will make a difference
There will always be hope. Or as Emily Dickinson wrote:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)
Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
- Emily Dickinson
Grow your business even when the world is suffering
9. Connect to nature
Trees, the wind, the rain, and the sun are more than willing to ease your fear and give you fresh energy in return. Nature is like a vessel of continuation. It always grows. A tree might appear to be dead but is growing inside. It does what it does. It grows. So go outside, stand outside without your shoes, feel the earth and surrender your sorrow. Look at the clouds, hug a tree, listen to the birds, breathe and feel gratitude for all that majestic beauty.
10. Visualize peace
Hold the people of Ukraine in your heart, send light, pray.
You decide what works for you. Follow the calling of your soul.
If you are from Ukraine, or have family of friends over there, my heart goes out to you. I can't even start to imagine what you go through. I hug you afar. May you be well and free of suffering.
Sometimes it's as easy as starting your daily Wordle with the word peace
Remember that we are all loved even when it doesn't feel like it.
Nourish yourself, you can't pour from an empty cup.
Be kind to yourself. Kindness and empathy will soften your heart and widen your gaze. Kindness will change everything. Maybe - just maybe - also dictators.
May you be happy, may you be well, may you be free of suffering
All my love,
Esther de Charon de Saint Germain
Self-love advocate and business and branding strategist
Image Maksym Diachenko - Kyiv skyline