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GSBA Rapid Response: Self-Care During a Pandemic

COVID-19 has impacted us all. The mental, physical, and emotional impact has felt much like the stages of grief. But, we’re in a different stage now than we were a year ago. How should your self-care change accordingly now, and over the next 12-18 months? Lindsey takes a deep dive into self-care, both on a personal level and a business level.

TRANSCRIPT:

Joey: Welcome to GSBA, a rapid response giving you the opportunity to ask questions with live answers. Today’s immediate feedback comes directly from Lindsey T­.H. ­Jackson, empowering people, leaders and organizations to pursue and achieve their full potential. My name is Joey Chapman. I use he, him, his pronouns. I am the membership development manager for GSBA, and I will be a rapid response moderator today, along with fellow GSBA staff members tuning in. Joining me today will be Toraya Miller. Toraya uses she, her hers pronouns, and is the GSBA membership and programs manager. GSBA continues to follow Governor Inslee’s stay home stay healthy order. Because of this guideline, GSBA staff continues to practice physical distancing, working remotely while staying socially connected, meeting your needs with our GSPA up ­to ­date, COVID-19 emergency resource page and our GSPA rapid response. So how will rapid response work for you? This week’s rapid response will actually have a slightly different approach. Along with our invited guests, Lindsay T.H. Jackson, during the hour, we have invited three GSBA members to join in on the conversation. Together, we will all explore the mental, physical and emotional impacts COVID-19 has had on their  business. We are broadcasting today on Zoom and Facebook Live, so do feel free to use the Q&A box or the comment section on Facebook Live. We encourage you to do that. That way we can stay connected. Our team will follow along, and at the end of the hour with time permitting, we will take a moment to welcome those questions along with Lindsey. So right now, I would like to take this moment to welcome, it’s my pleasure to welcome Lindsey T. H. Jackson. Hi Lindsey!

Lindsey: Good morning Joey. Good morning Toraya. How are you? 

Joey: We’re doing great. We’re so happy to have you here today with us. 

Lindsey: Thank you for having me. 

Joey: It’s our pleasure. It’s our pleasure. We’ve noted that you have described yourself with several unique attributes: artist, storyteller, a social scientist, entrepreneur, just a name of few. We’d like to just take a moment here and give our viewers a little bit of your story, if you don’t mind. 

Lindsey: Sure, I think I’ve also been called fickle, which might describe all of the things that I’ve  studied in that I dabble in, but essentially it all boils down to, there’s a study that is growing around  the world, and a group that is growing around the world that call themselves or go by the name of human potentialist. And the idea here is to inspire and do the work both within ourselves and to inspire and empower individuals and organizations and community groups to also do the work to move towards the greatest human potential. And so for me, that has shown up as different opportunities to work in different countries, to learn and study all around the world, also to take those learnings and interpret them through writing, performance, film, research and teaching. So I find that when you got a great message and something that you’re passionate about, you try any possible way to get that out, and for me, that shows up in many different ways, companies, as well as my work in schools. Yeah, so I feel very blessed. 

Joey: I’m sure a lot of us are  eager to once again, explore our own potentials. You know, I’m sure we all have the potential that we have currently right now, that we’re taking on new directions from our homes, from our home offices, and I know that most of us are very eager to be able to continue, once we step a foot back out outside. I wanted to talk a little bit about your method. It’s noted on your website that your teaching methodology is rooted within the Enneagram of personality types, could you share more about what an Enneagram type is and how this method actually works with your practice? 

Lindsey: Sure. Only though, Joey, if  you’re willing to share your Enneagram type later. 

Joey: Of course, of course. 

Lindsey: Do you accept this challenge? Well, yes, so. The Enneagram is a very ancient ancient image that we’ve seen show up throughout history, more recently, sort of the past 100 years, we’ve started to apply it to psychological constructs and then later into organizational development and leadership development constructs. But to boil it all down, the enneagram is a nine­ point star, so Ennea meaning nine gram meaning picture, and it’s a nine pointed star that is encased within a circle, and those nine points point to different personalities or nine different egoic drives, and what we can distill down from the Enneagram is one’s lens of how they view the world… And the most powerful thing about that, the first lesson that we can take from the enneagram is how I view the world is not necessarily how you view the world, and so that very much there can be a rather an argument about the color of the grass or the sun that really at our deepest, deepest core, we have very different ideas about how the world works, about how we make meaning, about how we earn love, about success and fear, and so when we work with leaders or within organizations where First, helping them realize that how they view the world is not necessarily how their  team members view the world, and then how they view the world has also shaped some of the most  empowering qualities of their company, but also it shapes the blind spots, the opportunities for  development and growth are born out of their blind spots. And so what I always say why I you know, there are lots of typing modalities out there that we use in the organizational development world, but why like I the Enneagram, is that the practice is about getting out of your type, it’s not about saying, Oh okay, I am this time and now that is my excuse for all of the bad things that I do. Well, no, it says  there on that piece of paper that I got, that I’m allowed to be mean to you because of X,Y,Z… no it doesn’t work that way. The idea is to free yourself from type. Yeah. 

Joey: I think when we spoke prior to today, it was a bit of a being within a box and  recognizing those personality types that may come along with yourself and owning them, but then, like you said, wanting to need to break free from those constraints. I did take the test personally myself, I took a couple of them, and the type that popped up the most for me was number two: Helper. 

Lindsey: Yes, yes

Joey: I totally agree with it. 

Lindsey: You wanna tell us a little bit? I think Toraya also could tell us a little bit about the helpers.

Joey: I’m sure she could. Yes, definitely working very closely with Toraya, she is truly, always there and ready and eager to assist. What I found with the helper, being warm and generous, but also a Warrior as well and wanting to make sure that others are there to fill your love and fill your help your assistance, but sometimes there’s that neglect, I guess, on your own self, and I’m sure that Toraya could speak on that as well. Making sure that everyone else is taken care of. It’s an interesting eye opening when you take… Take this test. I’m curious to know with the different  levels, the enneagram, is there a typical number that folks fall under, or is it pretty much a rainbow of ideals? 

Lindsey: Definitely, that is a great question. It’s definitely a rainbow. And I think one of the  things that most people are surprised to learn is that although it’s a nine pointed star, it actually is representative of 54 different types. And one of the things that we’re gonna talk about today is the instincts, and I might be a type 2, but my instinctual energy can show up differently for the type two’s. So there are three different. And you’ll have to forgive me, it is allergy season. There are three different instincts for each of the types, just like the type can be influenced by the wings, which are the types that sit on either side, but what is important to know is that… For example, if I can use you as an example of the type 2, the virtue of the type 2 is this innate ability to see opportunities for help, it’s almost like an organic response, they go to a party and they’re the first  one asking the host, what can I put out there, what can I clean up? Their innate super power is to see opportunities to help… It would make sense that we would have a lot of twos working for the GSBA. That said… where, like you said, Joey can get into trouble is they’re always helping everybody but themselves, or they’re always helping and their super power is to see opportunities to help, but they assume that everybody else has that super power, and so then they’re very surprised when they do not receive help on the same level. And this can show up in work. This also shows up a lot in relationships, right? You hear the type to say, Well, but I’m always giving… I give everything to them  and they never give to me on the same level… Well, then the other types, when they learned this, they go, I literally didn’t see that you needed help, you never seem to need help, you always seem to be taking care of everything by yourself. It didn’t even occur to me that you needed help. And when we look at a moment like this, this moment that we are all collectively experiencing, I have my type two’s saying, I’m so surprised that nobody’s calling me and asking me what help I need through this.  What help do I need for my business? What help do I need personally to navigate this? they’re all expecting me to just help them, meanwhile, I’m feeling scared myself. Is that making sense? 

Joey: Yeah. It’s one’s just your own perspective versus others perspectives on how life is going, and I just keep going back to that, recognizing what your person type, personality type is, and being able to break free from those barriers and those walls. You did bring up the situation at hand, that is  happening to all of us right now. The lack of better word is relatively traumatic that we’re all sharing at this time, COVID-19 has impacted all of us, the mental, the physical, the emotional impact, it’s felt very much felt sort of like the stages of grief, and I’m wondering if you agree with that analogy, and if that sort of emotional process that we typically do with grief translates accordingly with the situation we have right now with COVID-19. 

Lindsey: Absolutely, absolutely. And even more so, my experience is in the last week to week and a half. I think that at first, the first three to four weeks, there was sort of rapid response through the stages of grief, which as we move through despair and denial, when we get to an element of acceptance, that it seemed as though, Oh, I can accept this for two or three weeks, but now as we start to enter into this fifth or six week, it seems as though many individuals are going  around it again, as the ramifications really start to settle in… And as we start to think of the  aftermath that’s going to play out in the 6, 12, 18 months, once we return. Now, I feel that we’re really starting to deal with the grief, and I think today some of our panelists are going to be sharing what that is really feeling like, having to accept the long term changes that they are going to have to apply in their companies. And I think that if there are viewers, listeners out there now, raise your virtual hand, if you can relate to this idea of you sort of started to work yourself through the grief process and get to an acceptance of what you thought two to three weeks of being away from work might result in, and now as that’s really being extended, what that really feels like, what that processing really feels like as we attempt to navigate this, not only for ourselves, but for our team members, for the sales goals and everything that we had set for 2020, I don’t know, even for myself,  my experience was there was something about the shape of 2020, just even writing it, that I thought, This is gonna be the year. It’s such a whoa. And my birthday has twos in it, I really had convinced myself that  this was going to be this year of this big growth in my company, and as the grief for myself even settled in around having to transition through what I thought would be the plan. You know, we all have the plan. And now accepting what is, I think it’s very, very important to honor that if you’re feeling that, it is right, it is correct. 

Joey: I think this is a wonderful opportunity to transition, to continue this discussion around self­care within the pandemic with our small business owners. So what I would love to do is toss it over to Toraya to take a second to go ahead and introduce our three GSBA member panelists joining us today. 

Toraya: Absolutely. Thank you, Joey. And today joining us on our panel is Donna Moody, she’s an owner of Marjorie restaurant and an executive director of the Capitol Hill Ecodistrict. We also have Christy Lillian Oval, she’s an owner of laughing Buddha Tattoo and Body Piercing and Bright Tattoo aftercare. And closing up our panel is Zach Cooper, founder and owner of Cooper’s Optic in Uptown. 

Joey: Thank you to Toraya. I’m gonna go ahead and turn this portion of the hour over to you and our three panelists to engage on this journey together. 

Lindsey: Thank you. Good morning, Donna, Zach and Kristie. 

Donna: Good morning

Zach: Good morning

Lindsey: Good to see you again. Happy Tuesday. 

Donna: Thank you, you too. 

Lindsey: Let’s take a breath together. Yeah, so for everyone listening, I’ve had an opportunity  to connect with Donna, Zach and Kristie beforehand. And normally, when we do panel work, and if we were all in the space together live, I would ask that you really send your attention and your  energy towards our panelists and make a space for them, and I know that we’re meeting virtually, but I would ask for your same attention and your same willingness to be present here. These are members of our community, and especially members of our GSBA community who are stepping up to be brave enough to share what they are going through during this journey. And I think at all times that that bravery should be recognized and supported. So I would encourage you to put down the cell phones, if like me, you have little kiddos around you that you’re homeschooling, tuck them up inside your arms, so they can also see the face of bravery within our community. Donna. 

Donna: Yes.

Lindsey: Hi

Donna: Hi.

Lindsey: Tell us a little bit about what yesterday looked like for you.

Donna: Yesterday, good question. Start of a new week. A little bit of thought about working with Capitol Hill housing and some initiatives and campaigns to get food to people in  need. All the while having a restaurant that is temporarily closed and kind of considering what the future of that looks like. Taking a moment to be grateful and also acknowledging a little bit of  sadness. 

Lindsey: Can you tell us a little bit more about the sadness?

Donna: Yeah, I have a very familial type  business, and I have a lot of employees that I haven’t seen physically, we have gotten together on Zoom, so there’s a missing of them, a missing of our regular customers, we really have quite a  close relationship with so many people really consider us a community restaurant, and just kind of having a sense of that loss and being very unsure of what the future of it looks like, like the idea of restarting, but not being able to have physical closeness or something that we’ve created around the physical closeness.

Lindsey: Yes, I myself, I’m missing your drip chicken, so I can relate. 

Donna: Oh, thank you. 

Lindsey: What was the experience of having to make the decision to close the restaurant, although you might say that it was kind of made for you, but then… Of having to share it with your team members. 

Donna: I think in many ways, there’s been a little bit of a buffer by how rapidly things have happened and how out of control of the decision­ making process I felt. So I feel like we have just been kind of pushed to act and feel later, and that’s how a lot of it has been happening for me, it’s just very methodical, like we are closing today, we’re gonna make some meals for families in need with our food that we have, and we will talk next week, and then next week, you realize we’ll talk via Zoom, and the week after, you realize that you need to organize everyone getting together just to kind of give people a little sense of connection and processing kind of after actions have been taken. 

Lindsey: I haven’t had your exact experience, but can you relate to the feeling of not liking to feel out of control? 

Donna: It’s in some ways huge. And it’s also, in some ways a very important lesson, and I feel in many ways very open and willing to accept that lesson right now, in fact, I feel that so many people are in the same boat that I have less fear about what the future holds and I have more of a sense of camaraderie and a sense of: I’m okay. waiting to hear what’s next, because I don’t know, the information isn’t out there. So it’s not a lack of my effort that causes me not to know, and it’s not a lack of a willingness to make efforts to change everything. It is so completely out of my hands that I just need to kind of relax and let this pass and really only act when my action has a purpose or can do something. 

Lindsey: And so tell me what has relaxing felt like, what does that look like for you?

Donna: I’m really curious to learn as much as I possibly can right now, so I’ve been just eating up information, reading, taking online classes, and just taking a little time, like I think the restaurant in general puts you out of balance. So it’s been really nice for me actually to put that in the background, and I’ve always been community engaged, but being able to focus on that and actually eating three meals a day, cooking, exercising, and learning has been fulfilling to me and saying surprisingly connected with friends through Zoom and phone calls. 

Lindsey: This is interesting because what I’m hearing is that you’re relaxing is actually quite active, and that’s interesting because I wonder, can anybody else, Zack or Kristi, can you relate to not being so active or feeling like not getting out of bed and then guilt­ing yourself for not being so active? 

Zach: Yeah, I have been working on my store for over a year, and I’ve been in the middle of the build­out, and we were leading away from getting ready to open, so I was constantly with  designers and builders and everything else, and this happened and at first, I was still going home every day pushing forward, and I think last week, it hit me in one day, I was like, I’m Netflixing today, I wont get out of bed. And at the end of the day, I was like crap, I got nothing done, and I struggled with it the next day. I think I over­compensated and then I was actively doing as much as I could because I felt bad about the next day, and then I still like to the same struggle, but I wake up and I’m just like, Give yourself grace to not do it. Everybody’s in the same boat right now. Not everybody is gonna be nine to five, eight hours of production. And I don’t think anybody should be expected to be. Yeah, I’ve come to accept that I’m just gonna have a couple of days here and there where I just don’t do anything. 

Lindsey: And so where does the guilt come from? 

Zach: I’ve always been a doer, and I feed off the energy of interacting with people and face to face with people. I have a four year old daughter too, so it’s this constant, I’m just used to always doing it, and that is how I thrive is accomplishing goals and my morning to­do list and checking everyone off in and the day, and I get my goal started for myself, so I thrive off that. But this is my biggest goal in this and this is to look at the positives of what I’ve gotten out of all this year, not open yet, I’m not where I want it to be, but I’ve gotten so much more time with my daughter and my husband, but we were always… Constantly going always, and it just made us realize like take a step back because I’m still doing everything I need to do, but I have given myself more grace to realize that my house doesn’t need to be perfectly clean, I should be playing more games with my daughter, and I never had that mentality, I always had my priorities I thought were correct, and I’m just seeing what’s really more important. So to me, it’s a blessing. That’s the one thing I’ve gotten out of this. It’s just helped me kind of ground myself and say like: not important can be done later, so I appreciate it out of that. 

Lindsey: Because Zach, you had had quite a journey leading up to finally being about to open your…  I’m gonna say branch your first branch, ’cause I know it’ll be multiple branches one day, and I wore  my smart people glasses for you today Zach. Can you tell us about that journey that was so long in the making to being about to launch? 

Zach: Yeah, I’m gonna get emotional. So I actually have been in the optical industry for almost 10 years. Five years ago, I really want… I was like, It’s time to do this on my own. I wanna hop on the store, I’ve gotta be following, people have really connected, and I’ve had people that have just followed me wherever I’ve gone, and I’ve gotten for it, so we started working on a business plan and really building my dream. My husband and I, prior to doing this, decided we wanted to adopt, so we started the process, we got approved on a Monday, and we were kind of just dabbling into talking to agencies, we said we’re just gonna wait, let it go organically for a few months and see what happens. The next day we got a call. So this is the second day of being able to adopt… And we got a little girl that day, so I quit my job, drove down to Oregon and we picked up our daughter, and so I’d been stay at home for a few years, but right after we got my daughter, I was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure, so I was immediately put on dialysis, so we moved back to Nebraska to be closer to my family to help out with our daughter  hen my husband was working full time. I got really sick there, my body was not responding to dialysis, so my husband ended up donating a kidney to me. It was really our second chance, so we moved back to Seattle right away and feeling better a year later and decided I was gonna go apply for jobs. And my husband told me I wasn’t allowed to. So he pushed me to do this again, and that was a year ago. And here we are, so yeah, it’s been a journey. So I was like at that finish line, we were supposed to open on May second. So we were there, that was the biggest kind of struggle, and now it’s just, again, had we opened, I would have just been on to the next, and I’ve had this month to reconnect with my life before I jumped into my next big project, so it’s still a struggle because even constructions allowed now, so I’m like, okay, what they’re doing, I’m ready to, let’s get my store, but I’m also nope… All my builders and my contractors and everybody was telling me they need time to go back into this too… It’s hard not to get into a self absorbed mindset where it’s like, Now it’s about me, let’s get my stuff done, ’cause I gotta realize if there’s other people going through this process and they’ve had time off and now they’re getting back into this, so it’s this full give and pull kind of relationship right now.

Lindsey: Yes, yes. Thank you for that. Christy, my darling. Did one of your shops close just yesterday?

Christy: Yeah, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been slowly watching the savings at that studio slowly dwindle. I thought I had most expenses saved, but then unexpected expenses hit, I also didn’t do those calculations correctly, and I realized I had one month of rent left and I’m really, really grateful because my store just moved into a new location that’s 4,000 square feet and has huge rooms for the tattooers and the piecers, so I had to strategize about what we would be able to do, and I realized that I could move all of my tattooers from tattoo store and all of my receptionists over to Laughing Buddha and close that store. So, I opened Demast tattoo in 2009, that was my first business, and it was just me working there in a little 600 square foot space, and we were able to expand twice, and we just had our 10 year anniversary party, and now I have to close it. So it’s been excruciating and it’s been a really, really, really difficult decision to make in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, so I was already extremely afraid of the future, and then in the middle of that had to realize that I had to close my first store. So, the big silver lining is that all of my people have been really, really accepting of that, there was the initial shock that I saw on their face through Zoom, I wanted to be in the same room with them, so badly, so I saw that shock. And then really quickly after that, within minutes, I started to see excitement and they started to express excitement from both stores from Damask and from Laughing Buddha, where everybody was like, Oh my gosh, and then they all just kinda switched to, Oh, this is gonna be so cool. And I was just overwhelmed with gratitude and their acceptance of that, and I got off the call and I was immediately getting texts from a bunch of people that I work with saying, Are you okay? What can we do for you? And they’re literally Amazoning me food. I’m getting surprise packages of potato chips and chocolate, I’m really, really grateful for the people that I work with, but it has certainly been, I think a lot of other business owners and identity crisis, because I kinda define myself by what I do, and I’ve been in the tattoo industry for 21 years, I think it is now, and we literally wear our jobs on, our bodies were covered in tattoos and piercings like this is who we are, and I think a lot of business owners can relate to that. And the identity crisis that you go through, especially when it’s ripped away in one day, we were fine, and then one day it was dictated to us that we had to close, and I agree with that decision, don’t get me wrong. Yeah, I think that it’s a huge identity crisis for a lot of people.

Lindsey: Tell me more about that. I believe right now you identify as a three on the Enneagram, and the belief of the three is that love or attention or value is earned through their success and their achievements, and so what is that identity crisis when here, visibly, it looks as though other people can see a failure, which I put in quotes… What’s that like? 

Christy: I’ve gotten so much support from everyone that if anybody does see it as a failure, they haven’t told me that, thankfully. I think that all along in the last 10 years of being a business owner and adding new studios, I have three studios and an after care product, and all along, I have been telling myself that I wasn’t identifying through my achievements, but once all of that was gone, it was certainly a breathtaking eye­ opening realization that, oh yeah, I definitely saw my value in my businesses, and now that that’s gone, and my main mission is to create amazing jobs in the tattoo and body piercing industry because there aren’t a lot of good jobs. They’re often categorized as independent contractors, and they’re told that they’re on their own, and so I wanted all my people to be employees to have those protections, and I added health insurance to all three studios this year is one of my proudest moments, and then I had to cancel health insurance when this happened, and strip that away from my employees at the time when they might need it the most, so, I feel like I’ve had to re­connect with myself. I also have not been around another living person for,  I haven’t been in the same room with another human in  weeks, and so I’ve also had to learn about touch starvation, which I didn’t even know was a thing, and so I had somebody, a therapist on Facebook reach out and tell me about doing self­ massage and yoga and all of this stuff. So it’s just, it’s extremely whelming, but I feel like I’m doing okay with it and I still have big projects to work on, so my achiever status can be fed in that way. I am still setting up the Laughing Buddha space, because we just moved a couple of days before the closure, and now I also have to pack up and move Damask tattoo. So I still have a lot to do, but I’m allowing myself to feel deeply. And when I’m at  one of the locations working by myself and I get overwhelmed, I’m able to say, You know what, it’s time to go home, it’s okay that you were only here for a couple hours today and you planned on being here all day long and finishing everything like, Go home. And so I do, I allow myself to do that and singing at the top of my lungs on my car ride home to get some of that energy out. But yeah, it’s really,  really difficult. I don’t wanna downplay how hard it is, but I have a lot of support, a lot of friends,  and then the people that I work with here are really, really helping me through it. 

Lindsey: Answer this question for me, who are you without your successes, your achievements, and your shops. 

Christy: Well it’s difficult, because I’m literally in the process of learning that, but I also survived about… I think it was 12 years ago, I had the flesh eating virus, and I almost died from that. I was in the ICU for… well, I would think I was in the hospital for seven weeks and had nine surgeries and was very near death, and remember the doctors coming in and telling me tomorrow, we’re taking your leg from the hip. I still have both my legs, so I’ve survived incredible odds in the past, and confidence certainly comes from going through things and getting to the realization that you’re able to survive things and you’re strong enough, so it’s just kind of consistent process of reminding myself. I’ve survived pain before, for before this moment of pain that I can do this, I’m strong enough, I’ve proven that in the past, and I have achieved a lot, and this is something that I told myself regularly when I’m going through difficult things or when my friends are going through difficult things is like, This is gonna be a great chapter in your book, you know… You can’t have an interesting story if it’s all sunshine, you have to have hard times, and the only way that we can become really, really strong and really, really centered in our identities, I think, is to go through a lot of really, really difficult things. And this is one of those, and it’s going to be in the past some day, and we’ll be able to write it into our stories, and we all have this shared experience too, that we can tell stories about to each other. 

Lindsey: Yes. Oh, I love that. One of the things that we learn about how different humans respond to crises is about the different ways that we innately respond through our instinctual response patterns, and there are three common ones, one we call a self preservation, and so this might be the person who in hearing about what was coming, was the first to the store to get toilet paper and beans, and they are just stocking up, there are already existing underground fortress that they have. The second one is more of a one to one response, and they immediately go to this connection with their most intimate, so normally it might start with a partner or a parent, and then if they’re also children, it might revolve around them, but for them, as long as their most intimate or are safe than they can create safety for themselves. The other is through a social response, they immediately turn outward and create safety for themselves by being involved in helping to create solutions for the community. But each of these are all ways of creating safety for the individual, a  self preservation response in creating safety for myself, one­ to ­one, I’m creating safety for myself by being connected to my intimate or I’m creating safety for myself by being connected to the  group, in creating a very clear space for myself in the group. Can any of you relate to one of those responses and to being a little bit judgmental of other people’s response? 

Zach: Yeah, I think I’d like to say I don’t fall into one of those categories. When this first happened, I think I was kind of like business as always, and that was my way to cope with it, was  just… keep moving forward until I have no option. It wasn’t until about a week after a shut down, first off, we went to Nebraska early on to visit my parents and stuff, and when we heard about the shut down, my husband that are like, We need to be in Seattle, like we own businesses and we are part of this community and to pop out and just go somewhere where it’s safer, wasn’t what we felt was true to ourselves, so we came back and we are going to endure it with all our friends and our family that’s here, and we’re just gonna be a part of this process ’cause that’s what we wanted to be. It took me a  while and my husband had to keep saying Zach, you need to worry about yourself, you have no immune system, you have diabetes, you have asthma, like you are super tripled to high risk, you’ve got to worry about yourself. So then I just instantly went into one on one, so then it was just, Okay, it’s my husband, it’s my daughter, I’m gonna focus on what I can do, and that’s the safety in my house, and then I think once I got to that comfort zone, that’s when I started going to the group and saying, Where can I connect with people without physically being out and volunteering at food banks or whatever, so that’s where I started wrapping my company in and doing fundraisers, and I’m trying to raise money and do donations for a shelter, a local shelter, that’s housing homeless people here, so I feel like now I’m getting all my buckets, all three of those. I’m finding my ways to take care of myself, I’m building relationships one on one with my husband and my daughter, but then I’m also still reaching out. So I think I’m finding a good balance. So I’d like to say I’m just a little bit of  everything. A little space of all…

Lindsey: Yes, Donna, Christy…Can you relate at all? 

Donna: I would say, and I found this when I was taking the test, that it was so hard to go with one or the other, because I feel that I’m so often a mix,  and I feel like that there’s a balance in my personality that creates that mix. So yeah, I have a lot of  food at home. Because I always have a lot of food at home. Not because I went and walked up and yes, I’m the first one calling my friends like, I’ve got extra flower or I’ve got extra beans if anyone needs some, because I buy in bulk just because I cook, and I have some one on one relationships, but I live by myself, so I’ve been trying to preserve those in the ways that are available to me while doing some self preservation because I always feel like you wanna take care of yourself to be a  stronger support system to others… So there’s no way that you can endlessly help people if you don’t first take care of yourself and bring your best game to support others. So it’s a constant state of balance. And I’m not particularly like a hoarder looking out, only for myself, I don’t think I would feel comfortable going through life like that, but at the same time, I do have some of the basic needs, but I often think about others that don’t have them and think: How can I help them? 

Lindsey: Yes, and I ask because I’m also wondering a bit about, have you noticed with some of your team members a very different response to yours, and this is where we sometimes see conflict between leaders and their teams, is that again, we’re in our box and we think, for example, I hear a lot of you saying that in your personal development, you’ve created tools to make sure that you don’t rely on one dominant instinct, but have you had any experiences with one of your team members who is really having a very different response than you are?

Zach: Christy go ahead. 

Christy: Yeah, okay. I work with 29 other people between the three studios, so I’m seeing a little bit of how they’re dealing with it, but of course they’re… It’s a lot of private people is a lot of introverts that I work with, and I did have a couple of people reach out to me privately and express that they have underlying health conditions that they don’t talk about, just to let me know that. On the Zoom calls, I’ve actually seen people drop off in the middle of the zoom call, and I don’t know what… I don’t know what happened, and so I’m really trying to go out… did they lose connection or did I say something wrong? I don’t really know if anybody is having an extremely different reaction than I am, because I think they’re all seeing how hard this is for me, so they don’t wanna trouble me with more, which kind of makes me sad ’cause I wanna be there for them.

Lindsey: Yes. 

Zach: One of my struggles at the beginning, once I came to turn to how things were, I found myself being this stay at home advocate, all of a sudden where I’d be on a Facebook group and I see somebody advertising to do something. I’m like, That’s not essential. Like, why are you doing it? But I was doing it because of my situation with my health and everything, and I’m like, I’ve got to reel it in. Everybody is trying to make it, everybody has their own baggage they’re carrying with us and they’re trying to survive in their own way, and it’s not for me to judge or police or anything else, and so I just had to say like, I’m gonna control my environment and my reaction to this and do my best, and just as something as simple as just walking the Waterfront, and I’m walking my dog and I’m like: there’s seven people walking together, they’re not supposed to be, and I’m just like that, this isn’t about me. Everybody is doing their way to get through this, so I’ve really had to just pause and not react and just kind of appreciate, understand everybody’s way to adapt to this. 

Lindsey: Donna, did you have a thought on that?

Donna: I think my observations might be kind of almost social, because I have been seeing  large group behavior just in the way I’ve been staying connected. And I would say for the most part, and nothing has been surprising, the people that are deeply rooted in community and are active and responsive to the needs of members of their community have risen to the occasion and have gone above and beyond, and I’ve watched just business minded people, sometimes masked in a way of  saying that they’re offering to help as a restaurant, I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received  with a new service to help make your pick up and carry out and deliver… to go more smoothly.  And I find that a little surprising just in that it came up so quickly and I appreciate innovation, but I  just think right now, restaurants are struggling so much to think about getting one more dime from them seems criminal, and most restaurants that I know instead of worrying about their income have been basically creating community kitchens and feeding people, so it just feels hurtful to me to see someone consumed with trying to make an extra dollar from them, and where I work at Capitol Hill Housing, we’ve just been consumed with trying to preserve the integrity and the home for people that are residents, as well as jumping into a community sense of trying to keep people connected and trying to offer ways to connect and promote small businesses so that they feel like they can come back when this is all over and just trying to think of ways to let the community know that we support them and we wanna help when this is over, so I feel like I’ve been able to see the full gamut and mostly feel that when you’re doing something good, you just feel better about yourself and your community, and it makes it so much easier to get up and deal with this whole situation and this whole like kind of big mess, if you can at least have a sense of integrity when you look at yourself in the mirror, when you put your feet on the floor, when you get out of bed, and I feel like that’s our biggest strength, and I think I’m definitely just listening to the other people on the panel and kind of following your work, newly as I entered this panel, I just feel like that’s who I surround myself around. And that’s what makes me feel better. 

Lindsey: You’re making me think, I know we’re gonna be continuing these  sessions and we’ll have to do a session Donna on the guilt around still selling in this moment and how do you do business ethically throughout this. I think that is a great topic that we should delve into. Donna, Zack, Christine, I’m virtually mind melding and hugging you right now. Thank you so much for opening your hearts and your minds and your mouths to share this story with our community. I’d like to open it up now to hear from those who are listening because they might have specific questions for each of you, or for me. Toraya, Joey, can you help us in order to hear from our attendees today, any questions they might have.

Joey: Of Course. Let me get back here online. Here we are, that was just an amazing 30 minutes to be able to be a part of. Thank you so much, you all. We do have a question in the life around COVID, our life that hasn’t stopped, particularly with the health and home, and our strive for happiness that we have typically been going through to meet those needs. What are some of your general thoughts as we juggle our emotional priorities between what we knew two months ago and what we know today. 

Lindsey: This is, again, we need a lot of time for this in terms of our emotional health, without going too big picture, I think one of the first lessons that I often work with leaders to understand, and I think all three of our panelists shared this in their own words, is that control is a myth. The idea that we have control. I love this scene. I always joke about it in the movie, Evan Almighty. I’m sorry, I know it’s like a movie. But Morgan Freeman is playing God, and I think Steve Carell is Noah. And Steve Carell says to Morgan Freeman, character, but it’s not in my  plan. And Morgan Freeman just burst out laughing as God. And he’s like, I love you humans when you  talk about your plan. Having owned multiple companies myself across multiple continents, one thing I know for sure is that our plan is a great thing to put on paper and to have as a target out there, and yet it’s going to be winding and moving like this. And so, I tell you that to say that the first emotional, spiritual, mental practice that you can do is to begin the deeper work of releasing the idea that you have control, that you have control of this time in history, that you have control of your company, that you have control of your team members. Once you release that, then as a leader, you begin to develop this wonderful innate skill for pivoting. When we talk about pivoting in the world of agile thinking and of start-ups, what we’re really talking about is a skill to be almost like an artist, and as a leader, I want to encourage you, invite you to always think of your work, your company, as your art… And as the canvas changes, the field upon which you are painting changes, so the medium, the tools that you draw, the materials that you use, change. But that’s only when you embrace the idea that you never had control in the first place. And so with one month out, what I would invite you to do is to create a plan based on what you know now. Based on what I know now, this is my plan for the next month, but on the side of that, you put: and if it goes this way, this is what I might do. If it goes that way, this is  what I might do, okay, and then in a month’s time will have more information, and so you’ll say: now it’s a month later, this is what worked, this is what we did in terms of our customer development exercise, we researched, we asked our customers what they wanted, what a good pivot might look like, and so here’s our new plan, and here’s all the contingencies around that plan, so in, again, trying to find a little bit of lemonade in this, or I think we should all be having cocktails by now, right? But that this is a great opportunity to start developing your own skills around setting plans, mapping out contingencies, because for myself as a business owner, I would admit to you, there are many businesses that I got up and going, was a very rough business plan sketched out on a napkin. And I was like, I was gonna make it work. It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine. That was good. Why should you give me this money? Because I’m smart. But there were no contingencies in that plan, there was no idea of pivots, there were no added infrastructure in that, take this time now to just develop yourself as a leader and start being able to expand your idea of what is possible, because if there’s one thing I know about you, question asking person is that you have within you a capacity for artistic thinking that is beyond your greatest dreams. 

Joey: Curious, it’s been noted that anxiety is thinking about the future and depression is of the past, with anxiety, do you feel like creating a plan will help manage anxiety? 

Lindsey: First, I’m going to admit to you that when we’re talking about anxiety and depression, we have some very… I  tread lightly with my language, so I’m going to slow down first. So, yes. Okay, we tend to think about anxiety as forward thinking. I’m going to use the word melancholy instead, in terms of thinking about past thinking. As we first embraced the idea that our thoughts are always valid, one and transient two, the opportunity for growth around  melancholy and anxiety is when we attach to those feelings or those thoughts as though they are now my identity, for lack of a better word, in our culture, we have such a fear in itself around  anxiety, around melancholy, and so Zach shared this very eloquently that… He was feeling run down. We know that there’s a lot of science out right now that is just really so wonderful that we’re now getting words for it around emotional fatigue, and so he was feeling emotionally fatigued and so he went to his bed, but then because of that, he woke up the next day feeling guilty about that. We often have that same experience with anxiety and with melancholy that we feel that we’re not suppose to feel anxiety, that we’re not supposed to experience melancholic stages, and so then the anxiety and the melancholy get drawn out, and so we go through these two extremes of the feeling of anxiety and then the melancholy for feeling the anxiety, and that begins a cycle that we beat ourselves up again, in the middle of that is the place where plan making can happen. In the middle of that is where I embrace that neither should I be addicted to happiness, we live in a happiness culture in America, I’m neither addicted to the idea that I should be always feeling happy and the absence of anxiety and melancholy. Or that if I’m not feeling happy, that I must be feeling anxiety and melancholy, those two extremes are not actually where the center is or where being present is in the center is the acceptance that those emotions will flow freely, and so when making your plan, I say all that to say that, when making your plan, you are going to sit down and start writing or if you’re like me, I’m a vision board person, and then you’re going to allow, oh wow, here come all my feelings of anxiety… Thank you, anxiety feelings. You remind me that I’m alive. If you remind me that I have the capacity to think about things that I’ve  learned in the past and apply that now here in the present, and I’m gonna take these anxiety feelings for a walk, I’m gonna take these anxiety feelings into the kitchen and cook, I’m gonna take these anxiety feelings and go have a nap, and then you’ll return to your plan, and then while you’re making your plan, you go, there’s the depression and melancholy. Because what I noticed in making my plan is I may not be able to bring on team members back in month one, I may not be able to bring them back in month two. Thank you melancholy and depression. I feel you, I experience you, I invite you in. Because you know what, I have a loving heart, and I love my team, and I’m sad for my team, and so you take your main calling, a new depression for a walk, you take them to the kitchen and you cook, you take them for a nap, and then you come back to your plan. Does that make sense? 

Joey: It does does thank you. The presence and recognizing and adjusting to follow your  heart in your head, it’s what I read into it for sure. Lindsay, we are at the top of the hour. This has been an amazing session, I do wanna give you one final moment to share any additional words you  might like with all the folks joining us on this Facebook Live. 

Lindsey: I just wanna say that Donna and Zach and Christy are representative of our community, and as we watch how they are pivoting, embracing, feeling, slowing down, speeding  up, we each have that human potential within all of us, and so if you are struggling right now to tap in to that human potential within yourselves, if you are feeling as though you do not have the support structures in place that Donna, Zack and Christy shared that they have. You actually do, the GSBA is here to support you. We are going to be meeting once a week starting May 7th, so that we can come together. Joey, Toraya and myself are gonna continue to support you, champion you, hold space for you, cry with you. I would say take up with you, but first time, maybe on the May 17 call. We are here for you, you are not alone, and you will understand your potential as a leader and within your company on the outside of this.


Joey: Thank you so much on behalf of GSBA. We want to thank everybody for joining  today, special thanks to you, Lindsey, sharing your strategies during COVID-19 and our three GSBA member panelists as well. Donna, Christy, Zack, thank you all so much. Lindsey stated, we are really excited to announce that Lindsey will be returning on our new web series, Keeping It Real with GSBA and Lindsey­ T­.H.­ Jackson. This series will launch Thursday, May 7th, at 10:00 AM for GSBA members, and then alternating on a weekly basis with a focus on our Capital Hill Business Alliance members, GSBA members. If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to the GSBA team. We are here to help you. We wanna make sure that we have those answers that everybody’s searching for today, you can also use our GSBA online guide and directory to find a full list of members ready to connect with you as well. Our next GSBA rapid response will happen Tuesday, May 25th at 10:00 AM. Our special guest will be Nicole de Namor of Sustainable Strategies supporting health and wellness while working from home. So until then, stay home and stay healthy.