Updated: May 21
April 2020, marks five years since I was fired from a company that I planned on retiring from. Two months before I lost my job, a top tier Fortune 500 company offered me a position paying $40,000 more annually, but I turned it down for several befitting reasons. Once I unexpectedly became unemployed, I awarded myself a season of me-time. I spent a few weeks traveling, but most of my time off was spent in the confines of my home. The emotional roller coaster, previous hectic workload, and stress from the what if's, glued me to the couch longer than I initially expected.
Once I was ready to re-enter the workforce, I vowed not to settle for anything I wasn't passionate about. Sticking to my guns made me go eight months without finding a job. Four months into my tenure with a new company, I embarked on my first entrepreneurial endeavor. My podcast, which eventually hit the Top 200 list on Apple, opened my eyes to a new world. The flame for becoming a CEO of a pre-existing Fortune 500 company got distinguished once the fire was lit to build my own.
April 2020 also marks another anniversary for my professional career. On Easter 2017, I spontaneously quit my job to chase the dream that made me excited to get out of bed every morning. Once I hung up my corporate career, I found myself back in a similar scenario. I was relegated to the confines of my own home again.
The first time I was subconsciously quarantined, I didn't have a plan, vision, or routine, which are three essential elements for an effective quarantine. During my first go around, I got up whenever I wanted, ate whatever I wanted, and winged every day. Those were arguably the most unproductive days of my life. I often regretted that time period until I understood the opportunities within my obstacles.
My first quarantine allowed me the chance to learn myself better than ever. When you are living in isolation, your world slows down. If you are productive, you catch up with life. However, if you are unproductive, it passes you by. In a capitalistic economy, it is second nature to assume a person is talking about financial or educational advancement when they mention productivity. However, getting to know yourself, managing your mental and physical health, and not being self-destructive, can be coined as productive.
Getting to know myself on a deeper level, laid the foundation for me to grow organically. Schools and jobs are responsible for socially programming most of society to be more productive under a regimen versus an unstructured environment. When you are quarantined, you must create that structure for yourself.
Society has pressured many people into thinking they should be following a specific agenda during the Corona epidemic. It was impossible for me to have the same game plan for each of the three quarantines I experienced in recent years. Some can capitalize by being aggressive and playing offense economically, others may still be forced to go about their same routines, and another group of people may be primarily focused on their health. Although each of my quarantines differed, all were productive because I got to know myself and loved ones better.
One interesting thing about literature is that ten people can read the same information, and each person could have different takeaways. Aside from sharing my quarantine experiences, I would like to provide you with more tangible takeaways and practices I utilize.
Each morning I listen to something positive to set the tone for the day. Doing so will give you a mental head start. If problems occur, you will be armed with the upper hand because you mentally prepared for the encounter ahead of time.
Prioritize discovering what lights a fire under you to perform at your best. That spark can come from interactions or thoughts of loved ones, positive affirmations, listening to motivational speakers, or reflecting on memories that motivate you. I tap into this source of energy at the start of every day.
Audit your circle. This is a vital action during any time frame, but twice as important during times of uncertainty and chaos. Many people abuse their outlets during challenging times or become a dumping ground for other people's problems. It is important to be there for your loved ones. However, if all someone talks about is their problems, it's best to practice social distancing with them.
Reading books give you somewhere to go when there is nowhere to go. Utilize fictional novels and memoirs to take you to another world and give you a break from reality. Leverage non-fiction books to expand your mind.
I encourage you to share any of your beneficial quarantine practices with your friends, family, or social media platforms. We can't assume that smiles on social media correlate to real-life happiness, and that neglected loved ones are doing fine.