Stay Home Stories, Grande Finale.
Well, it’s been a while since our last blog post (33 days to be precise). Big sorry for that. But let’s face it: we all knew that this was going to happen. In the beginning of the lockdown there was this huge euphoria about all the things that we’d be doing – baking banana bread, doing the long overdue bookkeeping, learning a new language, talking to your besties more often or writing regular blog posts. (We can literally see all the nodding out there while you’re reading this and you’re feeling like: damn, they got me)
To be honest: We would have loved to become these more efficient & productive, smarter and ultimately best versions of ourselves. BUT – and this is going to be a huge but – we’re all just human beings. And even in quarantine our days just have 24 hours and our weeks only 7 days (although some days definitely feel like they’d go on forever. And ever. And ever. Just like some Zoom Calls. But hopefully not this blog post).
Reality kicking in
For us, this kind of “turning point” – when we adapted to the new reality and established new routines – probably happened somewhat between lockdown week #3 and #4: You’re kind of accepting the situation, make the best out of it and go back to a get-shit-done-attitude (interrupted by: give me all the chocolate/no, I don’t wanna stop binge watching Valhalla Murders/yes, I’ve always needed all these things from online shop xyz). And we can see some nodding again.
The good news is: it doesn’t matter if you haven’t reached superhuman-status by the end of this quarantine. Because if this whole Corona situation is teaching us one thing, then it’s the fact that life is unpredictable. Things that seemed impossible before Corona, became reality. So why not use this learning and finally start to think bigger than ever before. Whether you’re more the “carpe diem” or “do what you love” type of person, the key message is clear: do something.
We did something
For us, the past weeks have been ultra productive (not necessarily in the aspects mentioned above though). We reworked Grow F and went fully digital with this accelerator program for female-led ventures. Our strategy got a pretty nice update, including many new products and services to come (we hope that you will like them as much as we do). We gathered more feedback than ever before, turbo boosted our internal operations, created new event formats and made first steps towards new partnerships. And: we expanded our team.
Plus: We – both as individuals and as a team – made some nice learnings which we’re sharing with you below. We’re pretty sure that you can relate to some of the things and would like to hear your thoughts. We’d love to know what you think, so please feel free to share your thoughts via firstname.lastname@example.org
My biggest learning: I thought I knew how to appreciate the little things in life. But now I know even better. With the Coronavirus lockdown, I have learnt to appreciate simple pleasures like a long walk to discover my neighborhood on a sunny day or warm conversations with my loved ones (via video tools). When my normal life was taken away from me, I had a feeling of frustration and denial at the beginning. But then I was able to replace this negativity by finding happiness in simple things very soon.
Other observation: I don’t like uncertainty. I like to have a sense of control over my life and plan things well in advance, e.g. my next projects at work, my next weekends, and holidays. Now it is not possible and it somehow drains me emotionally. So I needed to treat the current crisis as an opportunity to build a tolerance to uncertainty. Instead of worrying about the uncontrollables, which are mental traps, I tried to refocus on taking action over the aspects that are within my control. I feel like I have already made a progress.
My biggest learning: How important balance is. In times where basically all you have is yourself, your 4 walls and if you are lucky enough, your family or partner, there is not much to focus on except yourself (which can be good but also really stressful at times). If that is the case, in order to stay sane, it is essential to find variety within your daily life. A healthy balance between work, sport, food, books and netflix 😉 is what kept me stable during social distancing.
Other observations: I spent almost two months on the countryside with my family, away from all of my friends, and it may be a little bit 08/15, but I can’t express my gratefulness enough. I am grateful for my family, that got me trough this and supported me (Trust me – that that isn’t closely as easy as it sounds) trough this whole time. And I am grateful for all of my amazing friends, that made coming back home so easy for me, just by giving me the feeling of comfort and security. – Oh one more thing: Big thanks to www.houseparty.com – quarantine wouldn’t have been the same without you.
This situation showed me very tangibly that there is is so much more to work than efficient task performing. There are many nuances to a holistic feeling of success that are contributed by personal talks, meetings, having fun, talking about “unimportant” and personal stuff besides the core work itself. Humans thrive from interaction and even unnecessary stuff like commuting to the next meeting can provide precious moments to let your mind wander and get creative. Nevertheless, it calmed me down to have such a stable daily routine. The amount of activity options in our pre-corona reality probably is a bit too much and I learned that I have to say “no” more often. Even post-crisis I think it is totally okay to spend a nice evening at home with friends, cooking and doing stupid things instead of showing up at the next networking event.
After several weeks in a completely different environment than usual, which in my case meant being on the countryside, no cultural activities, no lectures at university and being forced to re-think major parts of our FF business model, my biggest learning is that I overestimated the “additional” time I expected to win with not being able to live my “usual life” as well that I miss face to face contact even more than I thought. Yes, I established new routines, spent more time in nature than ever (a privilege I am aware of) and spent quality time with my quarantine buddies, aka parents, that I will never forget. On the downside I did not really progress with my studies (also my university did a rather bad job there) and spent so much time in online meetings (no, they could not have been an email) that I am close to throwing a tantrum when the Zoom icon pops up at my desktop the next time. Overall, this phase showed (and keeps showing) once again the truth behind the saying “When tough times come, you know who your true friends are” in all its beautiful and ugly aspects.
My biggest learning: You don’t have the time, you take it. And you only do that if it really matters. And to be honest: a lot of things actually don’t really matter, but we (I) feel like they need to be done because that’s what people/society/you name it expect.
Other observations: During lockdown I sort of became less confident, for example in decision making and negotiations. I also found it even harder to keep balance, as work (aka my laptop) was always around and I felt the need to be more productive than ever. What I also realized is how much I miss physical meetings as they are usually a big source of creativity and motivation (which was sometimes hard to find in the past weeks as every day sort of felt the same and I just tried to make them pass) and – let’s be honest with that – a sometimes needed break from desk work.
Over and out,
your Female Founders Team