The coronavirus pandemic may not be the first or worst pandemic in American History, but it is certainly impactful. These times have brought about unique challenges for people of all ages and occupations. For those in the banking industry, you may be working remotely or through the drive-thru window of a closed lobby. No matter your situation, these past few weeks have brought abundant change and created new anxieties for many.
In a recent Main Street Banking podcast, Brad Federman, CEO of Performance Point, LLC (a consulting firm focused on culture and leadership), talks about handling the stresses many community bankers are facing during these unprecedented times and offers suggestions on ways to take care of yourself.
83 percent of people reported being stressed at work prior to this pandemic1, and we do not need to be increasing that number. Scientists have found that chronic stress can damage brain structure and connectivity3, so looking out for yourself is imperative. For many, this is the first time so much instability has been brought into our work environments, and to some degree, it may be here to stay. COVID-19 is the fifth pandemic of the 2000s2, and experts are predicting 1-2 more pandemics before 20301, so becoming comfortable with unpredictability, flexibility, and change are necessary adaptations to make moving forward.
Federman believes that a lot of these newfound anxieties and stresses are coming from a lack of control, “we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking we have some sort of control over this situation, when in reality grocery shopping trips, schools, work days, life as we know it has completely changed and we have never had control.” To cope, he recommends asking yourself, “what am I scared of? What’s driving me crazy? What’s keeping me up at night?” If you sort the answers into three categories: things you can control, things you can influence, and things that are out of your control, they will likely fall into the latter. “If you’re focusing on things that are out of your control, like if you’re laid off, if the stock market drops even more… if you’re spending your time there, then you’re wasting your time,” says Federman, “convert the things that you’re focused on, work it into something that is in your control.” For example, if you’re out of work, instead of focusing on how high unemployment rates are or that few companies are hiring, ask “what can I do to differentiate myself from all the other people looking for a job?”
Above all, during these unprecedented times, focus on yourself, your customers, your employees, your family. Devote your time and energy to the things you can control, try to worry less about things that you can’t control, and come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.
- ByronEarnheart, host.Brad Federman, guest. “Control What You Can Control.” Main Street Banking. 30 Mar. 2020. Retrieved from Apple Podcasts.