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Thoughts on keeping healthy, helpful, engaged and focused

 27 April 2020     Donald Cooper 

Many of us are cooped up at home and dealing with work, or lack of work, partners, kids, or loneliness, plus anxiety and claustrophobia. At some point in the past few weeks, we’ve all lost track of what day it is.

So, here’s the thing. When our lives lack structure, focus and urgency, we become lethargic, unproductive and, often depressed. In my years in business and in coaching business, I’ve observed once we lose our focus and sense of urgency, it’s very difficult to get it back. Many never do.

So how do we snap out of it?  Here are a few thoughts:

Get up at the same time you used to before this mess started. You are still in business. The business of living and working and learning and teaching and making a difference. You’re just doing it under slightly different circumstances. So, get up!

Dress decently and comb your damn hair. Not because of who you might meet today but because of who you are. Research shows how we dress influences how we behave.

Exercise and keep active. It will energize your body and reduce stress. Go for a walk, get some fresh air and see something in your neighbourhood differently. It’s spring in the northern hemisphere. Be touched by the wonder of renewal! But, do this with the appropriate distancing.

Go to the bank or liquor store at least once. When did you ever think you could walk into those places with a mask on and be welcomed? Live a little! Remember, joy is contagious!

Create some structure to your day. Designate specific times for work, make time for your partner or to call a friend or valued customer. Make time for teaching and then playing with your kids if you have them. I have just set up an hour a day of remote on-line learning with our grandson Gus. We are going to explore a ‘Word of the Day’ and a ‘Country of the Day’. I’ve created templates to guide us and it’s going to be amazing!

Make time for teaching your kids some essential life skills (age relevant) like basic cooking, how to sew on a button, clean the house and balance a budget. Then, let them teach you about something. They know stuff.

Make time to connect with, listen to and encourage somebody. As a business and as a human, to whom can you be helpful? I’m coaching a few clients who are committed to get better and a few of my professional speaker friends who I believe have something important to say. These are my ‘legacy moments’.

How can your business be helpful? The media (including this one) is full of incredible examples of businesses large and small doing extraordinary things to make a difference. Be inspired by these.

  • Sunwing, the vacation travel airline – now completely shut down – has donated thousands of meals to food banks.
  • Endy, the direct-to-consumer mattress retailer has donated mattresses and pillows so frontline hospital workers can get a few hours rest after long shifts with no breaks and unable to leave.
  • Vancity Credit Union in Vancouver has temporarily cut credit card interest rates to 0% and deferred minimum payments for those facing financial difficulty from COVID-19.
  • Toronto apartment landlord Greenrock Property Management, with tens of thousands of tenants, has cancelled all rent increases, announced flexibility in rent payments, given each tenant a $100 grocery gift card and donated $300,000 to local support groups like food banks and community shelters.
  • Hockey equipment manufacturers Bauer and CCM and down coat manufacturer Canada Goose have transitioned their factories to produce face shields and protective clothing for hospitals.
  • Finally, there’s the friend I mentioned in a recent column who’s a passionate home sewer. She has committed to produce 1,000 face masks a week as long as they’re needed. One person making a difference! What will you commit to do?

So, how will you put some structure and focus into your day to keep you healthy, helpful, engaged and productive? 

Here’s a little something to think about:

I’ve watched dozens of media conferences with presidents, prime ministers, premiers and governors announcing trillions or billions of dollars in emergency grants and assistance. But, so far, not one of the hundreds of genius media reporters have asked the obvious question. “Where is all this money coming from?” In America, the Federal Pandemic Support Package is currently US$2.2 trillion. Here in Canada, it’s currently $107 billion, on top of a previously planned deficit of $28 billion. And these doesn’t include the cost of state or provincial support packages.

I am not against the help being given. It is absolutely essential we support our citizens and our economy. I get it! But it does seem strange nobody has asked the ‘from where will it come’ question. And no government has offered us any insight on this important question.

So, let’s look at the possibilities – there are only three.

First, various levels of government could dip into their huge financial surpluses to come up with all this money. But every level of government is drowning in debt, so we can rule this one out. For example, the Canadian government was about $800 billion in debt at the end of 2019. A year from now that will be close to a trillion dollars.

Second, governments could borrow all this money, but from whom and at what future expense for interest and principle repayment? And by how much would future taxes have to increase to support those payments?

Third, federal governments could just print a few more trillions or billions of dollars and pretend this is real money. The fact is by just printing more money, we reduce the value of the money already in circulation.

So, can someone please tell me where all this money coming from? 

Stay calm. Keep safe Giggle frequently!


Phoenix AMD
Sealy Canada
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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