Filter out the noise.

Mar 30, 2020

Welcome to my new blog series, ‘The Gin Diaries’. An unfiltered journal, curated by me, a CEO responsible for the survival of my company, Fuel Media, and a Creative Director responsible for the continuing support to my amazing clients and their on-going projects. The catch is, I am doing this all from the comfort of my home office, during a Level 4 lockdown, thanks to a global pandemic. Perhaps the name of this series is now self-explanatory – we all have to stay sane and entertained, right?

As often as I can, (generally in the evening while enjoying the aforementioned beverage) I will share these articles, which will be broken into three parts. Firstly, SOME PROFESSIONAL INSIGHT. then, A PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW, and finally A POSITIVE OBSERVATION to remind you it’s not all doom and gloom. I believe touching on these three points, often, will cover the upkeep of my two roles mentioned above, offer you some ideas and insight, and more selfishly allow me to feel connected while on home detention. So here goes…

 

Some Professional Insight:

I am kicking this off, with a glaring opportunity that has resulted directly from this lockdown. Right now, we are all on a somewhat even playing field. What you do in the next four weeks (or more) WILL have a huge impact on where you sit when day-to-day business and life resumes. All (well most) companies here in New Zealand are now shut down or working as best as they can, from home. You may have noticed the explosion of social content and ‘business guru’s’ preaching from their bible of business continuity. Some of this content is great, and some is horribly off-the-mark (in my opinion). Couple the above with media hysteria flooding your news feeds and you have a recipe for an overwhelming sense of anxiety and confusion.

My advice is and will continue to be, filter out the noise. You can choose to limit the content digest. You can choose to take it from sources you trust. Focus on what you’ve got going on, and what resources you have to keep things moving. While many are pushing new businesses and ventures, I think we need to be focusing on what we’ve already spent time building. Alter and adapt. To quote from a conversation I had with my friend Krista yesterday, “be entrepreneurial in your existing business” Krista is the director of Reebok Crossfit 09, and like many other business leaders I have spoken with, she is adapting to the changing world as best she can, looking after her team and clients, and in turn has retained most of her client-base.

We all have a minimum of four weeks now to make moves, and I’m personally asking myself the same questions, to map out the immediate road ahead. How can I support my clients through this time? Do we need to slightly alter course, or change direction completely? (This is a conversation I am applying to all clients with current and upcoming projects) then, what are my client’s competitors, and also MY competitors doing during this enforced downtime? Where will they/we sit in the industry when this is all over? These conversations are driving action, internally here at Fuel Media and externally with clients, and also friends and their businesses.

When all is said and done, I have a simple and overriding wish, for my clients, and for Fuel Media – a pandemic performance indicator of sorts, that is – we must be seen as organizations and brands that stayed connected, motivated and true to our values, during this testing time. So, I suggest you focus on what you have and can control, filter out the noise and welcome the direction and advice from those you trust. Connect with other business owners, share ideas, and work where possible. Support one another and as I will mention below, when the dust settles, watch the new relationships you’ve formed and the work you’ve put in now, pay dividends as you move forward in what I believe will be a very different world.

 

A personal point of view:

If it doesn’t serve you, sideline it! 

While this is a time to stay focused, it is also a time of stress. The unknown and uncertainty of what is to come can be crippling and I know we are all feeling it to some extent. Touching on what I mentioned above, and carrying on the theme of ‘filtering out the noise’, I personally chose to delete my Stuff and NZ Herald apps from my phone, as well as turning off notifications from Facebook based news pages. The relief was almost instantaneous. There is a lot of misinformation and false truths floating around. The situation we are in is serious but we are now (well we damn well better be) all following the lockdown rules, and making the best of a bad situation. Filtering out the noise applies to your personal and professional wellbeing. I now use the covid19.govt.nz website for updates, advice, and guidance, along with watching some updates that come directly from the PM and her support team.

Learn to notice the sources of news and communications that raise your stress and anxiety levels, cull them. Ruminating on what if’s and adding layers of worry to your day will have ZERO bearing on how the next few weeks or months play out – if anything they will be of detriment to anything you are planning to achieve.

I am disappointed at the media’s propensity to publish negative and fear-inducing articles, which lead to actions directly opposing the message the government is giving us. This is nothing new, it’s how bills are paid and these organisations survive, but in a time of great pressure for everyone, I’d love to see more of the positives coming through. This leads me in to the final section for this post.

 

A positive observation:

I’ve been compiling a list of silver-linings that I’m observing during this crisis. The one I wanted to touch on first, is in my opinion, the most important. That is CONNECTION. I am literally watching a new and ever-growing trend of people connecting.

Utilising technology readily available, families are staying in touch, even more so than before. Friends are checking in and catching up with interesting and valuable conversations. Businesses and brands are communicating more honestly and openly (mostly). Business leaders are reaching out to one another and forming ideas and strategies to help each other. Friday drinks are now online and still go well into the evening with a wider circle participating. 

I’ve personally had a number of conversations in the last week, with business owners whom I’ve never met, who are in the same position as I am, and regardless of the size or current success of their companies, we are banding together to support and uplift each other. Social media breaks down the walls hindering conversation. Send a message of support, or an idea, or a thought. Engage with brands and individuals you relate to. Form new relationships with no expectation of gain. Now is the time to connect, communicate and cement future friendships and relationships.

We’re all in this together, for real. Unless you’re a specialist on the cutting edge of science or technology, you will not solve this predicament alone. What you can do is reach out and help yourself, by helping others pass the time in a positive and constructive way.

I will close by saying, I am in isolation alone, my dog Wilson offers little conversation, but I have never felt so connected. I have a consistent stream of friends and family checking in, along with clients, business partners and other directors connecting with a common eagerness to come out of this stronger and healthier, on all fronts.

If you feel like a chat, reach out. If you’re interested in reading more, check back soon for another post as I continue to explore my thoughts surrounding this unique situation, and dive into another glass of “an unspecified brand” of gin.

Tim Kavermann

Founder / Creative Director – Fuel Media

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