COVID-19 and the Entrepreneur

We live in very strange times. The public reaction to the COVID-19 virus has been truly astounding. People have altered their behavior – sometimes common sense prevails and other times it is like observing a bizarre alternative universe. Through it all, businesses large and small have been ravaged and some are gone forever. As entrepreneurs, most of us have never experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. We are attempting to plot a course that not only leads to survival but also offers an opportunity to thrive. So, how should the entrepreneur view and react to COVID-19?

What is the worst thing we can do right now with respect to this virus? It’s not going to be what you might think. First and foremost – we must stop watching and listening to the media. Why? Because there is a tremendous amount of misinformation being conveyed – sometimes intentionally. By consuming a daily dose of COVID-19 from our newspapers, televisions, and social media, one could easily conclude that every new case reported is going to end with someone’s death. And where does this lead . . . FEAR!

Fear can be a terribly destructive force. In short bursts, it is potentially protective in nature for it may be enough to cause us to pause and course correct in such a way to avoid serious harm – physical, emotional, financial, etc. The kind of fear being caused by COVID-19 appears to be a constant fear. Fear – especially constant fear – results in stress, triggering a hormone called cortisol. An elevated level of cortisol over an extended period is a bad thing in many ways. It can negatively impact the immune system and cause an increase in cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease. A healthy immune system is exactly what we need to ward off this virus. Elevated cortisol and its underlying stress can also lead to serious mental illness issues and depression.

Think about how we react to fear in our daily lives. Are we able to make clear and rational decisions when we are afraid? Do we experience positive energy that opens us up to being more creative? Are we strategic when we are in the “fight or flight mode?” The answer to these questions is obvious. And yet, I know many entrepreneurs who are living in a chronically fearful and stressful state as they try to deal with COVID-19 and its impact on their businesses. There is no joy in Mudville right now (for those of you too young to remember this reference, Google the classic poem, Casey at the Bat).

There is a solution to the fear. Get. The. Facts. I said earlier that we should stop paying attention to the media. Instead, go to sources for the actual data. Dig into the CDC website – it is a treasure trove of information. Interview medical professionals who have real insight into the virus and avoid anecdotal accounts that you might hear second or third hand. Stitch together the facts from as many different sources as you can. The data is not perfect and there will be some contradictory results at times. But for the most part, we can synthesize what we discover in ways that makes sense. Then, armed with the facts, we can reach logical conclusions that will lead to strategies we can deploy.

We make sure we maintain good daily physical activity which is a great stressbuster. Besides staying physically fit we practice good eating and sleeping habits. We regularly connect with our friends, family, and colleagues. We strive to do what we can to help and support other people. Above all, we remain positive and know that this moment in history will pass just like all the others have for time immemorial. Guess what? These are all things we should be doing regardless of COVID-19!

COVID-19 should not rule our lives. We must ignore the politics, the politicians, and the media for they are likely agenda-driven in some way. Instead we take charge of what we believe and drive away the fear that we may be feeling.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.


Question: Every time I watch the news on TV or on the Internet all I see is negativity and bad stuff. This is so demoralizing and just sickening to see. I need to know what’s happening in the world but this is too much.

Answer: Bad things have been happening since humans inhabited the earth. And I don’t believe that more bad things are happening now than in the past – just different things. But one fact is significantly different than in the past. Everything – and I mean everything – can be reported at the speed of light. Unfortunately the media believes that no one wants to see or read happy news. This may or may not be true but it’s the hand we’re dealt. The net effect is that all the negativity is magnified because that’s all that’s reported.

Too many people ignore the news. I have talked to countless 20 and 30-somethings who tell me that they don’t pay attention to the news, primarily because it’s so negative. But that’s not the solution. We can’t afford to have a nation of low information citizens. Some sort of coping mechanism is needed to filter out the bad and the negative enabling us to understand what is happening in the world around us.

Here are two ideas that can work hand-in-hand to help us with this issue. Both involve perspective. First, when we read a newspaper, watch television news or surf the Internet, we must remember that we’re seeing what others want us to see. And what others want us to see typically imparts an element of their own bias – and often that bias is substantial. Remember in school how we were taught to abstract articles? Now is the time to put that into action. We can’t change the circumstances that may be negative, but we can focus only on the facts. A plane crashed and people lost their lives. Do we really need to digest all the gory details? If we stick to the facts we can lessen the negative assault on our psyche.

The second idea involves intentional awareness. Each day should start with our resolving to look for good things that are happening around us. Rather than allowing what we read and hear in the media to beat us down, we can notice the acts of kindness, friendly greetings, big and little wins, and other positive things that will never get the attention of a “journalist.” We have no need to filter what we see with our own eyes.

Intentionally looking for the good in our lives helps to cancel out the drumbeat of bad news and negativity that others are trying to serve up to us. And then the choice is ours for how we interpret what we hear and see in our world.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.