3 months ago today - March 2nd - I turned 30. I invited 37 of my closest friends and family down to the south coast of England, to my favourite pub to celebrate.
Little did I know then, that would be the last time I did anything social. In a live setting anyway.
If I were to graph my mood over the first 30 days of March, it would resemble something of a rollercoaster. And so, a few weeks into lock down, I started to tackle my frame of my mind head on. Here’s what I did;
- Take control. Covid-19 was now a world pandemic, not just affecting event companies – but all industry, globally. That gave me some peace and I set about taking ownership of the things that were in my control (temporarily closing down the company, applying for CBILS and grants, furloughing the team and reducing as many bills as possible). For now, that’s all I could do.
- Take some time. I’ve worked 11 years straight on building Clownfish. By April 1st, once the ‘survival’ stage was complete – I found myself on a government-paid-for-holiday. Crazy! I watched three series of Ozark on Netflix in 7 days. I slept for 8-9 hours a night. Takeaways a few times a week. Some days, I didn’t even shower. These are things one can only dream of! I felt genuinely rested.
- Use the time. 10 days in, I’m now bored and the subconscious feeling of ‘urgh’, became conscious. I’d consider myself a driven person and having such little means to my day, made me feel low. So, I bought a flip chart! Drew out a grid; Monday-Sunday with everything I wanted to achieve each day – and ticked off each time I did. PE with Joe [Wickes] 5 days a week, home-cooked food 6 days, 1 run a week, 5 walks a week, 1 FaceTime with a new person a day, 1 bit of reading each day etc. I’m such a sucker for the ‘endorphin hit’ - that ticking a box is - it worked. I’ve written up a new one each week, to this day. Amongst other personal achievements, I’ve lost 10kg!
- Look back and correct. I mostly live in SW London. My life has become stereotypical of that of a city worker, who thinks he’s very important and is therefore always ‘busy’. Having a tonne of time to reflect, I see too many decisions I take are predicated around maximising my own work time. I use Uber a lot (instead of walking). I eat out 2-3 times a day (instead of home cooking). I WhatsApp friends (instead of calling/meet). I prioritise work above all (instead of family, mental health and friendships). It’s been easy to correct that now, but the challenge is - to be better balanced when life goes back to ‘normal’. My recently windowed mum is living alone and is shielded. I’ve made of point of video calling her daily and trying to make her smile. Being honest, I wouldn’t have found the time to do that daily, had this lockdown not happened.
- Revive. There haven’t been many days in the last 90, where I haven’t had that sickening ‘what next?’ feeling. I have ten in our events team that I’m desperate to cling onto and in October, furlough will end and it’s unknown how our market will look. So, whilst I have time – I’m doing the thing we all must do; ‘pivot’. Seemingly the buzz word of 2020. We’re soon to build a TV studio in our warehouse, to satisfy all our technical production clients. And we’re about to start building some ‘Covid-safe’ games, for our Entertainment clients. It’s an unknown challenge and is a little scary. But, as my late dad always said to me ‘if it was easy, everyone would do it’. So I crack on, doing my best and in an attempt to thrive once again.
- All being well, I hope to see you for Confex 2021… for my 31st birthday!
Clownfish Events Ltd