As Quarantine locked us all in, everything became uncertain. Instead of planning, we lived day by day. How can you plan when you don’t know what tomorrow brings? But then again, for those that have anxiety, this has been our life long ‘normal’ before Lockdown began.

Lockdown eased my anxiety

I’ve personally suffered from anxiety on and off for years. It can be crippling, claustrophobic and complicated. And yet, as the Covid-19 lockdown began, I began to loosen up on the expectations for myself and ease into life at a slower pace.

The collective pause and enforced slowdown have led me to enjoy the simple things in life and embrace the things that I love, from cooking and exercising to writing and reading – and I feel like I can breathe again. I’ve been spending time on LinkedIn connecting with brilliant people, sharing stories and experiences while collectively helping each other through this very uncertain time.

Unpredictability realigned my business values

I am aware that this may be fast-becoming a Covid cliché; I’ve read my fair share of effervescent positivity about quarantine and its unexpected merits. But, it’s not just that lockdown has enhanced some of my life. It has allowed me to have a total rethink and reset from head to toe and has given me a new perspective of our lives – and of our business, Chapter.

This may sound paradoxical to some, given the current uncertainty and unpredictability, and, the financial worries that go hand-in-hand. Of course, that’s in my mind. But it’s now firmly at the back of it. I think about the goals and values I once thought were important; how I measured success, essentially. And I realise I was completely off-piste and, in many ways, lost. This brief pause has enabled our values to become more clearly defined:

With brave personalities, nimble attitudes, and a collaborative approach with curiosity at its heart, we want our work to have an impact on each other – and the world.

Past failures are still teaching me

I’ve also had time to reflect on my career in quarantine. For more than five years, I’ve been unable to shake this overwhelming feeling of failure. It’s held me back, it’s been distracting…. paralysing at times. In 2011, my business partner and I started a helicopter company. It was an incredible achievement (this is the first time I’ve said that out loud!) We made waves in a fairly traditional industry and experienced extreme highs and lows. But then the business became unsustainable and for a variety of reasons, we had to fold it.

I was heartbroken, depressed and I blamed myself. I had to operate at pace to try and pay off debts; I had to start again. My partner has played an integral part of my ‘recovery’ and gave me the support and encouragement that I needed to get back on my feet and that is when Chapter was born. The last 4 years have been filled with lessons but truthfully speaking…

It’s only since Lockdown, that I’ve been able to really shake ‘the failure’ and the anxiety I’ve been consumed with when I realised that had we still been in that business, had things been good, the business wouldn’t have survived this pandemic. It would have collapsed overnight.”

So, I count my blessings and I’m incredibly grateful that we have a business we are so passionate about, that can continue to operate amidst the chaos – and with many opportunities up ahead. I do have tools and strategies that I employ daily to look after my mental and physical wellbeing and for the first time -the fog has been lifted.

The relaunch as a business

Seeing as this is a warts and all approach, here’s another confession. A biggy – one that only the new post-lockdown me feels confident saying out loud and to the public: we should have launched our website two years ago. I’ve been too embarrassed to admit this before. But, and it’s a big but – thank god we didn’t. The delay is the best thing that could have happened.

Two years ago, our business proposition was a bit skewed. Our clients were still amazing, and I am proud of our work from that time. But, after years of being in big agencies – including some experiences I’d rather forget – my values had been influenced by others and diluted. It was like I had a permanent hangover.  As lockdown began, we had various eureka moments. Our website flew together in a maelstrom of (brilliant) madness – created in just a few weeks – and we are super proud of it.

Time to celebrate our strengths

We also know we are really good at what we do. No more imposter syndrome, no more fear of failure and being ‘stuck’ in the past and no more anxiety for what’s to come, because we simply take each day as it comes. We have done outstanding branding and design for clients and we feel we can finally shout about it with pride, rather than whispering it, or not saying it at all.

So, this is who I am now as a person. This is who we are now as a business. We’ve evolved and we are brave enough to say we are brilliant. Yes, there is uncertainty, but I’ll take the lockdown over the false rat race we were in any day.

We are all experiencing Covid-19 in different ways. But sharing my story is helping me navigate this time and I would love to hear from you. How are you managing and reflecting during lockdown?

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