From Disrupter to Disrupted. To set the scene, my profession is fundamentally helping and empowering Solopreneurs, Start-ups and SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises), that are struggling with sales growth and find themselves invisible in their respective marketplace. Through my Sales Growth Hacks, Interactive Storytelling, 3Cs Ingredients for success and ‘The Boardroom’, I empower, enable and help them leverage on their assets to accelerate their business to obtain their desired results. So, in a nutshell, thinking outside of the box so they can disrupt their industry to make a huge difference, is what I do.
Often easier said than done, as I want to ensure I:
- assess their business situation
- make the necessary Adjustments
- enable business Acceleration.
Always bearing in mind creating Visibility, Credibility, Authenticity and Trust.
Although, one day it all changed.
The alarm went off, it was seven o’clock in the morning and I knew it was going to be one of those days. Do I roll over and stay in bed, or do I get up and start the day as normal?
It was actually an easy decision, because the children typically come to our bed in the morning and wake us up whether we like it or not; to drag us out for their breakfast.
It wasn’t until I was listening to the news later that day, that we learned about the corona (COVID-19) virus and how it was spreading from China across the rest of the world. Basically, with all the news updates and daily statistics of each country being infected, it was only a matter of time before it would be in Switzerland where we live. The closer it got; I began to picture the news headlines saying: ‘Coming to a town near You!’
As the virus started to gather momentum, we knew it wouldn’t be long before there’s some tighter restrictions within Switzerland. Sure enough when it did hit, the schools started to close, the shops, the workplace, all events over 1,000 people, boarder controls closing and people stock piling food and for some strange reason, loads of toilet paper.
From Disrupter to Disrupted
I was used to working from home, so it didn’t really affect me as far as technology and ability to work. I have my own home office, therefore it wasn’t going to be a problem … or was it?
3 small children at home 24 hours a day and the impact that would bring, wasn’t something I had considered. Would daily life be the same and what new set of challenges would we encounter?
As we never saw this coming, like most people, we never had a plan. We really didn’t know what to expect with home schooling and being teachers, care workers and opening up the house to becoming a huge Play Town. We knew it was going to cause a disruption. At first, we kind of made it up as we went along, without any plan, trying to get through the day. This caused more stress, frustration and problems and really didn’t work.
We, my wife and I, then formulated a plan, something that would work for all of us and try to bring back some normality back in the home.
The first home lockdown caught us off guard and we really were not prepared. Although, after 1 week of sheer chaos, a ton of stress and disbelief in the whole global situation, we knew we had to do something about it as we were, parents going fast insane.
So much so, that the frustration of trying to work and look after kids, the regular home chorus and keeping a safe social distance away from the neighbours and friends, started to take its toll on all of us, especially the children.
Daddy couldn’t be their playmate all day, we were stuck in the house and I had work to do. Yet for them, they didn’t really understand being so young. Tom is 7, Sam and Abi, our twins, are 4. Our home became an ‘all in one’ big school, play area, nursery school, workplace, home and junk shop!
From Disrupter to Disrupted
I say junk shop, as my main tasks were chief house cleaner, and even with the help (sometimes), from the kids, it was always a constant mess. To top it all, our eldest son Tom, had been given so much homework from his school, my wife became a full time teacher (although she also has a job and needed to work).
This added more stress and annoyance, as it appeared the absolute number one priority of our lives was to ensure Tom had his homework done on time!
People were dying all over the world, but Tom had to have his homework in on time. There was a WhatsApp school class group, he had to check into every day, then videos we had to make of his activities, then zoom calls with his class, his piano lessons online and so on.
The stress levels at home became unimaginable.
Although, it didn’t finish there, we had Sam and Abi to look after as well as my constant virtual business (conference) calls I tried to sneak off and attend. These were rudely interrupted by the kids bursting through the door or banging on it for Daddy to come and play.
One week of this was driving me crazy. With kids sitting on my lap when I was on calls, the need for me to play with them in-between calls and then trying to get back to a work mindset afterwards, really wasn’t easy.
The fear is, there is a tipping point and when it happens, it is like a cork exploding out of a shaken champagne bottle and you don’t want to be around when it does.
This was my experience!
I couldn’t work, was constantly interrupted and I found it extremely hard to concentrate. I was easily distracted and leaving my home office to a bomb site in every room, added fuel to the fire inside. I was once a calm and placid person, who had become a disillusioned mad man.
That left me feeling like a bad father and an intolerant husband and I’m hearing myself saying in my head ‘children of a lesser parent’ as I really couldn’t cope with this any longer.
So, that was the turning point on formulating a plan.
The plan was pretty straight forward, with a bit of try and error, and if it didn’t work, make some adjustments. Actually, as part of my Business mentoring, I always say to my clients, you need a plan, so this is what we did.
From Disrupter to Disrupted …
As we couldn’t change the situation, we could ‘adjust our reality’, to it and change the way we do things. After all, it wasn’t working the way we thought it would and we needed to get our sanity back. A plan that would also benefit the kids and hopefully there would be harmony back in the household.
The days were now split up into manageable time chunks and I would take the morning shift with the twins, whilst my wife was on homework duties with Tom. Depending on the day, we would share the preparations for lunch, and I rescheduled all calls (between 2-4pm), where possible, so I didn’t disrupt the new plan. Having set up the technology hurdles for my wife, she was also ready to join her conference calls and we would basically share, as best as possible, the afternoon slot, between work and play.
Then from 5-8pm it was dinner, some more time with the kids and then bedtime, where I could relax a bit with our Interactive Bedtime Storytelling. Having mastered this over 4 years, this was the one time I enjoyed and could rekindle the bond with the kids. Starting with Sam & Abi’s ‘Marvellous Adventures’ then when they were asleep, Tom’s. This was magical, very interactive, leveraging on their imagination and creativity and we all loved recording yet another story for our long collection.
Around 8.30-9pm it was time to become Chief Cleaner and sort the house out before I could relax and have some free time!
Free as in, time to start the evening shift of uninterrupted work, without kids bursting in the room, so I could switch back into work mode and catch up on all the things I couldn’t do during the day. Like writing this article.
A valuable lesson I learnt during the first week, was that you can cope with pretty much anything if you work together as a team and have a plan in place. Something simple like a daily wall plan, with a list of activities, including the work plan. This is so everyone is on the same page and in agreement with what it is, how it works and each individual’s part in this.
From Disrupter to Disrupted
You can always fine tune the plan, but only if you have one. Also, look at the things that work, like the Interactive Bedtime Storytelling. This was a perfect way to create that calm and much needed bonding, that was greatly eroded during the challenging day. It was a great way to end the day for the kids.
Life in not perfect, we are not perfect, we all have a tipping point, but you can overcome this if you work together as a team.
In conclusion, I’m a disrupter and Game Changer by nature. I encourage others to think and act outside of the box. Yet on some occasions, we can be overwhelmed with unpredictable circumstances and in this case, the Disrupter became the Disrupted.
It’s now past midnight, I better finish now and go to bed. Goodnight!