Take as much control of uncertainty and take away as much of the power of uncertainty as you can by counterbalancing it with the things that you know for sure.
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– Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week, once again, I am coming to you from my home. And this week, I am coming to you from the area of my downstairs where I pay a little bit of homage to my love of baseball. And you know, I’ve been thinking about baseball a lot because right now, middle of April, the season should have started, we should be talking about which teams came out of the gates strong, and because of C-19, we’re not doing that. And what’s uncomfortable for me is I don’t know when baseball is coming back. That uncertainty is uncomfortable, and that’s what I want to talk to you about today in the video. So one of the things I’ve noticed is that every agency owner and leader that I’ve talked to has the same discomfort, the same sense of, has the same discomfort, the same sense of, it’s sort of a burning panic that we’re keeping in check. And what’s interesting is that sort of underlying panic or distress that we’re experiencing, we are all experiencing it regardless of our own truth. And for some of you, the truth is you’re busier than ever and you are hiring and you are landing new pieces of business. And for others, your truth, your reality is 50% of your clients hit the pause button or walked out the door, and you’ve had to do layoffs and make big corrections to keep your business in the black. So regardless of our truth, we are all feeling this same, what I would call bubbling panic inside that we can’t quite get our arms around. And the reason for that, I’ve learned, is the uncertainty. So, as I’ve observed this pattern, so I have started digging into different kinds of stress and I read this fascinating study about uncertainty, which said, actually I’ve read many fascinating studies about uncertainty, and they all say the same thing. That there is nothing that causes a deeper stress for us as humans than uncertainty. That we are hard-wired to survive, and we are hard-wired to protect ourselves. And the thing that is most difficult to survive or protect ourselves from is the unknown. When we don’t know what’s coming next, we don’t know how to prepare to protect ourselves or to survive it. And so, there was this one study that was fascinating. And basically, they took a group of people, and they told half of the group of people a very specific bad thing that was going to happen to them, and then had it happen. And then they told another group of people that something bad was going to happen, but they didn’t tell them what it was or when it was going to be. And then they tested them physiologically, emotionally about their stress levels and without exception, the people who were told what bad thing was going to happen were much less stressed than the people who were just told something bad is going to happen. And I think that’s what’s happening with us too. But I also think we have more control over uncertainty than we think. Because the truth is while there are a lot of things that are uncertain like, when are we going back to work? Or which client is going to come back? Or which client is going to go out of business? Or how is my staff going to react to working from home versus me asking them to come back to the office? All of those things are murky right now. But there are things that we know for a fact, and I think one of the ways to reduce that sort of bubbling panic, that stress for ourselves is to keep reminding ourselves and our team about what we know. And here are some things that I know that you know, and I want you to make a list of the things that you know with certainty because when you start to feel that panic, I want you to pull out that list and sort of, even out loud, say those things to yourself to remind yourself that while there is certainly uncertainty, and by the way, we’ve always had uncertainty. It’s just that we’re all experiencing it at a level that we’re not used to. But 3 months ago, you had uncertainty of not knowing if your client was going to resign a contract or if an employee was going to get a better job offer. Agency life is filled with uncertainty. But this is at a whole different level and I acknowledge that, but you do know some things for certain. For example, I know that I will be in business a year from now. It might look different, it might be different, we might be serving different people, but I know that I am going to run this business through this crisis in a way that we are standing and strong at the end of this. I know the financial metrics that I need to be watching so that I can make good decisions. I know with certainty that I am going to make the difficult decisions I need to make all through this so that the agency stays solvent, stays in the black, and we can step up and step out when all of this passes to fight another fight and win another day. I know for certainty that I will have team members I know for certainty that I will have team members who share my values, who share my commitment to clients. I don’t know if they’re the same people or all the same people as I have today, but I know because I’ve done this for a long time that if someone leaves me, I can recruit new people who will add value to the team, and I will be surrounded by excellence and the same core values that are important to me. I know with certainty that we can help our clients and our prospects survive the crisis and build market share going into late 2020 and 2021. I know that for a fact. I know that this will not last forever and that we will get back to whatever new normal is just like we did after 9/11, just like we did after the recession. We will make adjustments and we will be fine. I think the more often you can remind yourself of what you do know for certain, and remind your team what you know for certain will help you, will help your team, will help your clients manage through the stress of this uncertainty. So take as much control of uncertainty and take away as much of the power of uncertainty as you can by counterbalancing it with the things that you know for sure. ‘Cause I promise you, there’s a lot of certainty in this circumstance as well, you just have to look for it, identify it, and keep celebrating it. You are going to get through this. You are going to be solvent. You are going to be in business in 2021. Keep reminding yourself of that, keep reminding your team, and keep that uncertainty at bay, all right? I’ll be back next week. Talk to you soon.