I’m here at the Austin airport and I’m looking out the window. The sun is blinding me as it reflects off of the chrome trim. Instead of breathing the fresh pine-scented air, the smell of jet fuel fills the air. I can’t wait to be back at the lake late tonight.

After a week of my virtual art summit, PleinAir Live, and being on camera late into the evening each day, I’m ready to sit on the dock in an Adirondack chair and have time to think.

Unexpected Success

I’m grateful for over 1,500 folks who joined us for the world’s first virtual art summit to learn and grow over the past five days. It’s also been a great lesson in pivoting. As my business collapsed around me, this survival mode was met with resistance and fear (some from my own brain and some from others). I almost did not do it, because I kept thinking of all the limitations and not understanding how to do it. But, instead of cowering away from something I did not understand, I faced it, mastered it, and had a successful event.

Is Fear Driving You?

In these strange COVID times, I’ve been watching others make a race for the bottom. Though I’ve done a little discounting out of fear, I’ve seen numerous others drop their prices by half or more because their minds are telling them they cannot survive these times. Yet I’m learning that many businesses are thriving and having some of their best success ever, in spite of it being counterintuitive for the times.

The Mental Basement

My friend Lyn Boyer said it best when she told me, “I had to make a choice. I could either race for the bottom by giving in or pull myself out of the basement mentally.”

I often say we tend to tell ourselves stories that we assume are true. But unless you follow the data, what you think is true may not be.

What are the stories you’re telling yourself about these COVID times?

Are those stories really true?

Rather than cowering in the corner out of fear of the unknown, is it possible to walk up the stairs and get out of that mental basement?

Challenges and problems make us stronger. I had a choice … give up and hope things returned to normal, or pivot, ignore my fears, and find a way to survive. And thankfully, the pivots are taking me to new places — places from which I’m learning new and wonderful things.

What about you?

We have no idea what we face, what this all looks like in a day, a month, a year, or longer.

We can’t assume it will get better and we can’t assume it will get worse. We simply have to adjust to the moment and do the best we can at the moment. Usually, the best we can do is a surprise, even to ourselves.

Can you pivot?

No matter how bad things seem, know that there is growth from pain, and know that a pivot can change your life. I discovered my virtual conference reached more people than the live events I do, and people want more (which you’ll soon learn about). And I never would have known if I’d given up and not tried the things I feared.

Fear not.

Eric Rhoads