How I Beat COVID-19

4 steps to overcome fear & seek growth during the Pandemic.

This year, we’ve experienced a lot of firsts. Since March, we’ve all been in a state of confusion trying to navigate our new normal. It involves a lot of hard truths and harsh realizations about the state of things, but also within ourselves. If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s shown us what fear and panic does to people. It leads to depression and anxiety and even feelings of hopelessness when we go so long without spending time with our loved ones and coworkers or even watch our loved one’s pass. 

Take me, for example. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when people were panic buying canned food and toilet paper, I struggled for several weeks with such a primal fear that led to heavy procrastination and depression in me. I stopped eating well and exercising, and I struggled to figure out what to do with so much idle time and uncertainty. 

However, I realized that life is still going on, and with social distancing and lockdown orders, I had the perfect opportunity to develop myself and achieve my goals. With so much idle time, I found myself realizing how my reaction to the events was detrimental to my way of life, and even my personal goals. When life threw me this curveball, I faltered for a moment, but I took some time to sit and think about what I wanted to do to continue my successes even when things seemed to be bleak. 

Below, I’m diving into the things I was able to accomplish during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to the extra time on my hands and the amount of personal development I tackled this year. I’m hoping you’ll be able to take a note from my book and find your own personal successes in times of turmoil (even now in lockdown 2.0) by utilizing some of the small but effective actions I took to get me to where I wanted to be. 

  1. Develop yourself on a personal level. 

It all starts with looking inward to figure out what exactly you want out of yourself and your life. Do you feel better about yourself when you exercise and eat right? Do you know what you want out of your life? Are you money motivated? Can you talk to yourself kindly? The first step is to think about what you want out of yourself and make it happen. What does the most ideal version of yourself look like? 

For me, it was a handful of things. I wanted to make more money while I was quarantined, so I attended a few different online finance and futures training courses provided by Wharton. I learned how to navigate economics to better save and invest my money to help me manifest my dreams. 

I also really wanted to read up on personal growth and wellness. I downloaded Audible and listened to several books pertaining to my goals while I exercised and had downtime. During the first few months of quarantine, I listened to a ton of different books covering subjects from business to emotional wellness and effective habits that I should develop in myself to be successful. I found a lot of really useful information in these 8 specifically. 

  • Atomic Habits – James Clear
  • The intelligent investor – Benjamin Graham
  • Daring Greatly – Bre’ne’ Brown
  • Unfuck Yourself – Gary John Bishop
  • On Emotional intelligence – Harvard Business Review
  • How Successful People Grow -John C Maxwell
  • Talking to Strangers -Malcolm Gladwell
  • Marketing Demystified – Donna Anselmo
  1. Practice mindfulness and increase your mental wellness. 

One of the best investments you can ever make is an investment in your mental health. In times of crisis, lots of negative feelings and personal truths come forward, so it’s crucial to do everything you can to keep your mental health in check. Letting your negative thoughts run wild can hold you back from your true potential, so practicing mindfulness and talking through your mental state to heal yourself is one thing that successful people do. If your head’s on straight and you’re feeling confident about what you feel and whatever life throws at you, you’ll be more motivated to be successful. 

Another issue I was having at the beginning of all of this was struggling with anxious, depressed feelings. I was worried about providing for my family, and a lot of emotions came up from deep-seated social stigmas. Plainly, the beginning of quarantine made me feel like less of a man and those negative thoughts were starting to discourage me and hold me back from my goals. So I decided to reconnect with my therapist to tackle the feelings of inadequacy and to deal with prior trauma and disappointments. 

Some of the books I read (specifically Daring Greatly by Brene Brown) covered this subject so well and encouraged me to get more involved in clearing my headspace and understanding others. To dive deeper, I registered for a week-long residential and personal growth retreat that helps participants identify negative behaviors, moods, and ways of thinking that developed unconsciously and were conditioned in childhood. The Process helps people become conscious of and disconnected from negative patterns of thought and behaviors on an emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual level in order to make significant positive changes in your life. 

To take it one step further, I decided to dive deeper into the concept of Chakras, which are the seven wheels of energy within the body that can be blocked by stress, negative thoughts, bad diet, and lack of exercise. It taught me a lot of healthy ways to meditate and deal with emotions, as well as ways to get my body involved like in chakra-aligning yoga and meditation. 

  1. Invest in stocks

Having additional income in your pocket is a great way to have more motivation to tackle your dreams. Millionaires have seven sources of income: the money they earn, income from profits, income from interest, income on dividends, rental income, capital gains, and royalties. That said, successful people have multiple streams of income. Financial freedom comes from increased income and reduced expenses. 

One of the best ways to get started earning radiant income is to invest in stocks. Microcaps and penny stocks exist, and they’re great for first-time investors who don’t have a lot of money to play with initially. However, something as simple as a side hustle, weekend job, freelance gig, renting out a room, or starting a business can help you invest in yourself. 

Luckily, stocks have been janky this year. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, stocks in almost every sector hit an all-time low. This created the perfect opportunity for me to invest a large sum of my savings into the investment, allowing me to earn a huge return and occupy my time with gains instead of fears. From the start of the pandemic To date, my $288k investment into companies like Tesla, Boeing, and Zoom has grown to over $2.3 Million with all positions still held for future growth. TLDR; all because of the pandemic, I took a leap instead of a retreat. 

That said, taking a small class on stock-investing strategies is a great way to start earning money to put towards your dreams. If you’re just getting started and don’t have a large sum of money to put towards more expensive shares, try smallcaps and microcaps. If you’re investing, you’re winning. 

  1. Invest in your goals. 

If you’re working on your mental health, your physical health, and your financial health, you’re ready to start working towards your goals. Not every step needs to be a giant leap. In fact, you can take a step back if necessary to make sure you’re making the right steps. Small steps when the opportunity arises allows you to lay a proper foundation for your goals, whatever they might be. The key takeaway here is that you need to be able to rise above all of the stresses that spring up in times like this. Instead of being laced with fear, gossip, news watching, political side picking, and extreme idleness, take the time to make 2020 not a year of disappointment and loss but instead a year of personal development, awareness, and growth.

For me, it was maintaining my business goals. I took an L at first with my startup business, Chi High Tours. Now that cannabis is legal in Chicago, I had dreams to open up a cannabis educational city bus tour headquartered in Chicago. However, with the severe drop in tourism (and of course the pandemic), it wasn’t wise for me to launch. Instead, I took the time to brainstorm all over again. I took the time to improve all of the major parts of the tour and enriched it with more cannabis science and educational information. I even developed a new Pop up Cannabis Museum concept that will accompany the tour. I’ve pushed my opening date into next year after we have a vaccine ready to go and the business will be more successful. In the meantime, I’m continually working on my business goals. 

In the same vein, I’ve launched my first podcast, To Be Blunt, which speaks with cannabis activists, mental health professionals, travel journalists, and more to discuss the black and brown experience in America and worldwide. I’ve been able to spend more time on my personal website, allowing me to achieve my dreams of motivating and helping others to grow past their personal and professional setbacks. 

All in all, 2020 has been a scary year for everyone. However, all bad times are temporary. Keeping ourselves on track while turmoil comes and goes makes us stronger, more effective, and happier with ourselves, our lives, and our professions. If you’ve been feeling lost this year, or you know someone who has, spread the word. Circumstances don’t have to keep us down. We are all 100% who we choose to be. 

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