Charting A Path Forward During Uncertain Times

Row boat floating in the middle of water under blue skies with mountains in the background

By: Carrie Fox, Mission Partners CEO

This message was sent to our community in April 2020, during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and following three weeks of strict stay-at-home orders in Maryland and many other U.S. states.

Last week marked 21 days since we began remote work at Mission Partners. It’s said that 21 days is what it takes to form a habit, though nothing is feeling quite habitual yet. We are all in an extended period of uncertainty, as news of the coronavirus begins to hit closer to home. We are bracing for the extended effects on our business, our mental health, and our paychecks, while many of us are mourning all that has been lost.

What was once our “normal” may not return, but I have great hope in knowing that we will emerge from this. Different, yes, but we will emerge.

While we navigate this new way of living, I wanted to share a few ways you can keep focused on forward motion, enjoy a shared experience to support small businesses and nonprofits, and spread some kindness in your community.

On Strategic Planning. If you are leading an organization, a team, or a project during the time of coronavirus, it is natural to feel lost, or unable to see a path forward. But, through chaos can come great innovation, and there can be a path forward for your work, too. If you don’t know where to start, join Mission Partners’ leadership team this Thursday (and every Thursday in April and May) at 4:00 PM ET for an open office hour and virtual community conversation to help you move your work forward. Our first conversation will be on “Shifting Your 2020 Business + Development Strategies During COVID-19“. We are also planning conversations on self-care, wellness, parenting while working from home, and virtual office success. Interested? Register here.

On Connecting Beyond Zoom Calls. If you’re getting tired of the back-to-back video calls while working remotely, you’re not alone. And while the virtual happy hours are a nice tool to connect socially, we’ve had trouble finding opportunities to connect over shared experiences that provide both a social connection AND a support mechanism for small businesses and nonprofits. So, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Theatre Lab to host a virtual dinner and live show on Sunday, April 26th. Order dinner from a local small business, dress up (at least from the waist up!), and support the mission of Theatre Lab from your own home. Tickets are $15 and all proceeds benefit the Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts in Washington, DC.

On Spreading Kindness to Those Experiencing Social Isolation. My 4th grade daughter Sophia and I spent much of last year writing a book for kids and their families called Adventures in Kindness, which will be released next month. The book is filled with 52 adventures to improve the world around you, and many of the adventures can be completed right from your home if, let’s say, you happen to be sequestered for an indefinite amount of time due to a global pandemic. Pre-order an autographed copy by May 10, and we’ll throw in a free pack of notecards that you can use to stay connected with friends and family who are experiencing social isolation. Bonus: 100% of proceeds from notecard sales will go to Feeding America to support their COVID-19 relief efforts.

On Rethinking Business Operations. Millions of business owners are scrambling to reinvent their businesses. Many have already found innovative ways to roll with the punches - from rethinking supply chains, redeploying staff, offering crucial advice, and even recreating your favorite bar online. Our friends at Real Leaders Magazine asked 16 smart CEOs and business owners how they’ve adapted to our new virus-ridden reality. Check out their article and pull some inspiration from these organizations who are leading for good amid rapid and constant change.

On Prioritizing Mental Health. While quarantine is by far the best tool for quickly limiting the spread of an infectious disease, it comes at a high price for our mental health. I took my first mental health day of the quarantine last Friday, and I’ve reinforced to my team to consider the same. We’re also sharing ideas and resources to support each other, from a 30 Day Yoga Challenge, to top Netflix movies and virtual vacation ideas. How are you caring for your mental health and well being during coronavirus? Share your ideas with me here, or on our LinkedIn page.

I hope this little list of good ideas and resources helps you through this day. If there is anything else you need at this time - whether it’s support on a project, a virtual community conversation topic, or something else you’d like to talk through, drop me a line - I’d love to hear from you.

Stay Safe and Healthy-
Carrie Fox, CEO and Founder
Mission Partners, Benefit LLC