We’re living through some scary times right now. There is a lot of uncertainty. I personally know many people who were furloughed last week, or even laid off. You probably do as well. In times like these, it is easy to panic, and let emotion take over. It’s easy to start spending time worrying and lose sleep.

It is also in times like these that we need to remind ourselves of life rule #1. Life rule #1 is not the golden rule. It’s the first success oriented rule on the list after the golden rule, which is more like a title. For those of you who are lost, here’s a quick refresher.

The Golden Rule = Treat others as you would like to be treated
Life Rule #1 = Focus on what you can control

If you let worry take over right now, you’re going to likely freeze up and start making decisions based on fear. I understand you may be afraid right now. You should be afraid. This virus and the economic situation it is causing are valid reasons to be afraid. I’m afraid.

I’m reassured however, by the awareness of my limitations. I can’t control who gets the virus. My parents are in a high risk group, and live in a country quite severely affected. A good friend of mine suffers from a chronic respiratory ailment. They are at risk. Again though, I can not control who gets this. I also can’t control which one of my clients are going to end their contracts because of this. I can’t control the economy, or which industries are going to be badly affected.

I don’t control what happens, but I do control how I choose to react to it. Even if some of my emotions, like fear, happen before I can control them, I certainly control my actions. Those are 100% under my power. That’s the core belief in life rule #1 that makes it so potent.

I alone have the power to control my actions. In sales, as in life.

Here’s a list of sales actions you can choose right now, instead of being paralyzed with fear.

– Lead source – Yeah, you know, that activity that you are usually “too busy” to do. Online research. Identify as many “future clients” as you can and input them into your CRM.- Exercise – Don’t think that’s sales related? You’re wrong. Your energy and vitality come across on every sales call. Take care of yourself. There’s a reason the airlines always tell you put your mask on first before you help others. You can only help others if you’re on stable ground.

– Think of ways you can proactively help your existing clients. Reach out and offer what you can. Yes, they might get laid off next week, but when they find work again, they’ll remember who had their back. People don’t buy from companies, they buy from other people.

– Start planning for after. The “all clear” will sound. I just re read the book of revelations and I don’t think this is it. Only a few will plan this out right now, and those that do will have a jump start on the opportunities that will exist in “the new normal”. Because let me assure you, the world we lived in a few months ago is NEVER coming back. We’ll find a new normal. Just as we did after 9/11, or the 2008 real estate crash. There will be opportunities created by the new normal. Companies like Facebook and Groupon and Twitter were born in the ashes of the last big recession. The Renaissance came after the black plague. There are several people who lost their job this week that will be self made millionaires in 5 years, and not because they won the Powerball.

-Go back to school – Virtually, or course. There are a ton of online courses, master classes, and educational sites with a world of knowledge, all accessible from the screen you are reading this on. Learn a new language, take cooking lessons, sign up from some sales training. You’ll be back on the treadmill of life before you know it, and you’ll look back with nostalgia at all the downtime you didn’t take advantage of.

– Reconnect with people – Linkedin, phone calls, emails. I’ve spent hours on the phone in the last few weeks, laughing and crying with friends and colleagues and clients. Investing in personal relationships always pays dividends.

You control what you DO, even to some extent what you feel. Any time you spend worrying about things you do not control is time you wasted instead of focusing it on things you do control. I think we will survive this. If I’m wrong, and this is the end of times, worrying about it still isn’t going to help.

Be safe. Be sane. Live with passion.