Practices for building resiliency in the face of disaster

One of the values we live by at CO.STARTERS is that together, we go farther. But what happens when “together” gets cancelled? How do we continue our mission of supporting business starters and growing communities in the face of catastrophic circumstances? How do we support each other when the word “community” itself feels like a threat?

Local businesses are the backbone of our economy. And we all know that entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out, are positioned to take one of the biggest hits when disaster strikes. Sometimes it’s personal disaster, like a medical or family emergency. Sometimes it’s the natural devastation of a hurricane or tornado. Sometimes, it’s a global pandemic with an unknown outcome.

How do we support each other when the word “community” itself feels like a threat?

While a virus outbreak shows us in the worst of ways how the power of one can impact the many, we have an opportunity to turn that law of nature on its head and use that same ecosystem principle to impact ourselves and those around us in a proactive, positive way.

Here’s some ways that we as builders, leaders, and starters, can act now to help sustain ourselves and our economies for the long haul:

Rise to the challenge.
If there was ever a time for entrepreneurial thinking, this is it. If there was ever an event that highlighted the importance of ecosystems, we are in it. We are the makers and doers, the connectors and supporters—this is our time and the world needs us. Remember that advice about putting on your oxygen mask on first? Now is the time to take care of yourself so that you can in turn, help others.

Practice positivity.
There is always a way forward. There is always something that can be done. Adversity comes in many shapes and sizes, but look anywhere in history or in the present, and you can find someone with a positive mindset taking positive action in any situation, no matter how small. There is still good news if you look for it. Might take some practice, but it makes all the difference.

Embrace being human.
That’s the single biggest thing that connects us right now, and it’s the very thing that will bring us closer, even when we can’t be close. A lot of us are working out of our bedrooms with our kids in the next room. All of us are concerned for our loved ones and our livelihoods. Turn off the filters and news feeds for a bit and make the extra effort to connect with each other as regular people, trying to figure things out. Don’t be afraid to be human—just be a good one.

Find your neighbors.
Nothing eliminates differences and unifies our similarities like fighting something together. Ecosystem building work always requires us to look past barriers and seek common ground. If you feel alone in the situation you are facing, reach out through any channel you can, and find someone. You will find someone.

Make virtual a reality.
In such a time as this, connectivity is currency. Nothing is more valuable than your support system. We’re already used to taking care of business remotely from our devices, but it’s possible to keep your life going in other ways too. Never before has the world had so many options to keep us virtually connected, whether for work or for self care. FaceTime with isolated friends. Stream a workout or a learning session. Host a virtual happy hour. Put your technology to everyday use.

Use your imagination.
Nothing solves a problem like a little collective creativity. History holds countless examples proving the adage “necessity is the mother of invention.” No solution would be created without first, a problem. Challenges, especially the seemingly impossible ones, sharpen our senses and help us make the decisions needed to survive. Panic and fear, on the other hand, stifle creativity. Guide your instincts to a productive place by taking a deep breath, collecting your thoughts and some fellow minds, and follow the creative process to see where it leads.

Start small and share big.
Start by tackling the problems closest to you. You don’t have to solve everything at once. You won’t be able to. Just start with the next step. When you find something that’s working, share those ideas with others, and they may, in turn, share their best ideas with you. Be the help you are looking for.

Personal or pandemic, problems are a very real part of our human journey, and they can be overcome. But it’s hard to pull yourself up and regain your footing alone. We still go farther when we go together—even if “together” might look different for awhile.

How are you strengthening your community through crisis? What are some ways you are helping each other? Let us know in the comments or on our social channels.

Find resources: We are actively sorting through information to help with your response and recovery. Find or share resources here in our Recovery Guide.

How can we help you right now?

CO.STARTERS exists to make it easier for communities to better support their entrepreneurs. We are here to help you find practical ways to support your starters and continue your work.

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