Reflection in a Time of Isolation

Living alone in this time of Covid-19 gives one a lot of time to reflect. Being a senior citizen, I am statistically very vulnerable, yet I am hopeful that I will survive the unprecedented health challenge we are all facing. As the pandemic started, I found it helpful to set an enjoyable future goal as a ‘reward’ for hanging in there through the lockdown. Maybe it will be a trip to visit family or updating my bathroom.

It is funny – after a few days of self-isolation, I began to feel a sense of deja-vu. I realized that 27 years ago, when my husband, Tom (HTG), and I started our firm from this same house, our work and home life had blended somewhat like it is now. I asked myself if there were some lessons from then that I could apply to today.

Create Structure

Back then, Tom and I found it very important to create a daily structure. Up each morning, we dressed, had breakfast, applied a smile, and waited for the phone to ring. We placed phone calls to others to ask them to evaluate our idea and plan. In working from home today, it is helpful to set reasonable goals for each workday. Calling colleagues to collaborate, whether by phone or video chat, can help move things along.

Personal Time

We recognized it was essential to set aside personal time and “leave the office.” We constructed our day with work goals and personal time, similar to what is being recommended by mental health professionals today. With spring upon us, getting outside for some sunshine and vitamin D goes a long way towards improving health and motivation.

Networking

When formulating and striving toward our goals, it was beneficial to have others to bounce ideas off of and hold us accountable. In the early 90s, I took part in a group of non-competing, women entrepreneurs called Mastermind. The purpose was to help one another set a goal and then hold each other accountable for those goals when we next met. This is something that can be incorporated into today’s workplace through video conferencing.

One BIG Difference

Internet connectivity has made the stay-at-home work life of 2020 quite different from the early years of starting our business. Working remotely does not limit our access to information, and we are fortunate to be able to network with colleagues or clients, visit the doctor via Telehealth or engage in any imaginable exercise class during our “lunch hour.” The internet is bursting with online classes and resources to help people stay positive. Pick something from websites like MasterClass, Coursera, Broadway, Calm, or your alma mater.

An obstacle of this current pandemic is maintaining personal connections in a time of social distancing. Most of us thrive on making personal connections with people. I have made an effort to stay in touch with colleagues, friends, and family via phone and video conferencing.

Positive Thinking

We don’t know how long it will take to emerge from the current circumstances. I believe that if we have a positive attitude, this time of isolation might transform us and bring out the best in people. One example that made me realize this was seeing recent local news of a young girl who returned home from a medical procedure and was greeted by a parade of cars celebrating her recovery! The community’s creativity and motivation to look outward and help others rewarded everyone with a beautiful moment in an unsettling time.

While the early days of starting HTG could be lonely, the outcome had us saying. “this is the best trip we have ever been on.” We met the most wonderful people on this journey. It is my hope that this Coronavirus stay-at-home time will have a similar outcome.

Here are some resources to help you think positively:

  • Brene Brown. Her famous Ted Talk, any of her books or podcasts.
  • How Will You Measure Your Life, by Clayton Christensen
  • The How of Happiness, A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, by Sonja Lyubomishy
Jeanne Gnuse

Jeanne is a co-founder of HTG Investment Advisors Inc. She oversees the firm’s client communications, marketing, and community relations functions. Jeanne is the mother of three children and grandmother to seven. She loves helping others learn money value lessons.

Jeanne received her BS from the University of Dayton and pursued graduate studies at Ohio State University.