Are we really all in this together?

Many of us, myself included, have used the phrase “we’re in it together” numerous times in the past six weeks.  But for someone experiencing a job loss or closure of their business, it can be hard to feel like other people are “in it together” with you.

The pace of permanent business closures has accelerated in recent weeks.  At first, those announcements were with businesses where I didn’t know people.  Now I know business owners who have been forced to close.  They’ve spent decades building a company, wrapping up their entire net worth in a business that ultimately closes due to a global pandemic, not due to their own effort or a personal inability.  Shutting down your own company can feel like no one is in it with you. 

When someone loses his/her job and isn’t sure how to make next month’s bills, that can feel like no one is in it with you.  It can feel lonely and full of uncertainty.  It doesn’t feel like people in your former company or former industry or former business community are “in it together” with you.

I’ve had startups fail that I’ve founded.  And I’ve sat quietly and uneasy after experiencing that wondering how I’d pick myself back up and what the heck I was going to do next.  But then I regrouped.  I spent time assessing what I went through, understanding what I learned, doing an inventory of what I was passionate about.  And I started talking with people about it.  I opened up.  I set new intentions.  I focused on a refined vision.  I rediscovered my passions. 

But it wasn’t an easy path to do that.  It was emotional, it was challenging, and it was uncertain throughout.

If you’re experiencing a challenging time and feel like you’re alone or feel like no one is “in it together” with you, I want to offer you an idea that has helped me at various points:

The feeling you’re having when you’re not sure what to do next and you feel alone is not a unique or original feeling or thought.  It’s a thought that many other people around the world are experiencing at this exact moment or have experienced at some point in the past.  It’s a shared thought with millions of others. 

You don’t own that thought.  You’ve allowed your mind to borrow it and you’re now sharing it with many people, including many wildly successful people.  Lots of people are in “it” (i.e. that mindspace or a similar challenging situation) with you right now.  That doesn’t mean you should stay there, but people are in the same spot with you.

This idea alone may not make the situation any better at this moment though.  However, even people who aren’t personally experiencing a business closure or job loss want to help others.  That’s how we’re in it together.  Compassion is universal right now.  No one likes to see other people suffer. 

So if you’re not sure where to go from here, talk to people.  Don’t be ashamed of what just happened.  Don’t be embarrassed.  Don’t put a mask on.  It’s okay to be vulnerable.  People want to help you if you want help.  You just have to ask.

My heart goes out to anyone experiencing a challenging time right now.  You will rise up.  And as you do, I look forward to learning about what exciting changes comes out of this period in time for you.