In uncertain times such as we are experiencing now with the COVID-19 situation, most of us, whether a little or a lot, feel a loss of control over our lives and businesses. It is a frustration I personally share with many of my friends, clients, and associates.

Yes, I’ve been needing to “eat my own dog food” these days, as I too have struggled recently with how to authentically create value in this time of uncertainty, and how to move forward with confidence that I’m doing the right thing in these changing times. I have had to step back and reassess the following 6 steps myself to manage and mitigate the impacts to my life and my business, and have turned my attention to providing the tools and strategies I have developed over these years to anyone who needs them now, free of charge.

There is a way to feel more in control, so you can move forward with as much confidence as possible knowing you are doing what is most likely right for you, your business, and your family. I encourage you to go through the following 6 steps to create a clear vision of what you want and who you are. This will allow you to focus your day-to-day thoughts and actions with direction, purpose, and authenticity. The result will be a feeling of peace and control, knowing you are following your path, as you define it:

  1. Set a Short-Term Vision:During times like these, 6 months (rather than the typical 3-5 years) is a good place to start. Envision where you want to be physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, and ethically when this situation resolves. If you run a business, envision the finances, size, scope, and health of your business. Envision what you want for yourself, your employees, and those you serve. Create clear and compelling statements of what you WANT written in positive affirming language as if you were describing yourself six months from now. Dream big, believing anything is possible. We will paint it with a brush of reality later, in step 4. These vision statements will literally become positive affirmations that you can use (in step 6) to help you stay positive, focused, and feel more in control.
  2. Examine Your Unique Purpose:Whether still working at the office, working from home, or if you are currently without a job, we all have unique gifts that can be used and shared in a positive way during this time. As a business, you have a unique value proposition. Take time to consider what you do best so that you can be open to new opportunities to adjust what you do to create value in this ever-changing situation. Whether this means a change in business model, volunteer opportunities, or just making funny, encouraging videos to post on the web, there are ways each of us can add value to others which will give us a sense of purpose and a day-to-day focus.
  3. Know your Values and Who You are Authentically. Times such as these can be trying and can tempt us to do things that are not in alignment with who we truly are. It is important to have a set of personal ethics or values, your own moral code, to guide your decision-making. If you already have written values, now is the time to make sure they are sound, in alignment, and hold a prominent place in your home and business. If you do not have a set of values, ask yourself “what are 5-6 words or phrases that describe who I am?” Suggestion: Imagine someone describing you at your own funeral. What would you want them to say about you? With this set of values, make sure to evaluate your actions in these troubling times against this list, consciously choosing to stay in alignment with yourself.
  4. Assess Where You are Today and Prioritize:Here is that brush of reality that I spoke of earlier. Assessing where you are today involves asking yourself three questions: (1) Where are you today in achieving each aspect of your vision? (2) Are you set up to deliver your unique purpose? (3) Are you consistently living your values? Next, rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “haven’t even started” to 10 being “got it, doing it, done.” Be honest and let the results be what they are. This will give you a realistic starting point.  Next, prioritize where you need to act. With your numbers in mind, what is the most important thing that needs doing, right now? Then, what next? And so on, until you have the top 5-6 prioritized items. The result – you now know where to focus your time.
  5. Set Goals for Your Prioritized Items: Set specific, measurable, and time-based goals for each of your top priorities, (commonly known as SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based). For each goal, develop a plan of action.
  6. Now Act:You now have a clear intention and direction set by your vision. You have defined who you are authentically in your values.  Now, read your vision and values daily to keep you focused on what you WANT. Doing so will literally attract what you want to you, and it will keep your thoughts positive and affirming. You know your purpose and how you will provide value, and you have a plan of action to deliver that value. Now act with confidence knowing you are doing what is most likely going to lead you to a place that is right for you when this all shakes out.

If you have read this far, you likely know that these 6 steps are the same steps we need to take to take charge of our lives or business even in the good times. The only difference now is a shorter time horizon and it is done in today’s new reality of social distancing and economic uncertainty. In 30-plus years of consulting I have not found a more effective system for taking control in any situation or at any time. Now, more than ever, is the time to set your positive vision for the future you want, align yourself to your unique value, live authentically, and act intentionally.

If you would like to receive my tools for developing your vision, understanding your unique purpose, developing your values, assessing your starting point, and developing your action plan, simply email me at or CLICK HERE to send me a meeting request. Again, this is my give-back during this time of need and these tools and meetings will be provided free of charge or obligation.

We also have a number of other articles posted on our website that provide more information on these 6 steps, including the power of having a clear vision, a unique purpose, and an authentic set of values. I encourage you to check them out as they have helped others find clarity and take control of their lives, especially in uncertain times.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Stay safe and be well,

Wayne Ottum
Ottum Enterprises, LLC