S3E6. How to Recover from Disaster Faster with Jennifer Elder

In times of heightened stress, one way of coping is to reach out to the experts that know how to deal with disasters effectively. One such expert is Jennifer Elder, the self-proclaimed “Diva of Disaster” and author of Faster Disaster Recovery: A Business Owner’s Guide to Developing a Business Continuity Plan. We talk about what we can do to change our mindset, change our approach, and change our attitude in dealing with this global pandemic.

Under the current conditions, we can’t keep doing the same things we’ve always done the same way we’ve always done them. The one question we need to ask ourselves is, “How can we be a part of the solution?” 

Rather than trying to fit what we’ve always done into this new scenario, take the opportunity to look at things with a new mindset and a new perspective. There are ways to do what you do in a slightly different way that becomes part of the solution to what’s going on.

This is where the improv mindset comes into play. Use the “Yes, And” philosophy to move through ideas and figure out how you can do something new. And that means planning ahead for when things do return to normal. What can you do today that will set you up for success when the world opens back up?

One of the mindsets you really need to adopt is patience. We have to be patient towards our family, our coworkers, and people at the grocery store. We are all going through this situation together. What’s hard for you is hard for everyone. If we can show a little patience and compassion towards someone else, we can make this a little easier for everyone else.

That is the best that we can possibly do. Find the positive, become part of the solution, and make this better for everyone else. If all of us contributed just a little of our resources and our energy to others, we would all be better off and pull out of this much sooner.



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Jennifer Elder: [00:00:01] Right now, we all have a great opportunity to give first give to other people, help them with their troubles, and this will come back tenfold over.

Peter Margaritis: [00:00:24] Welcome to Change Your Mindset podcast, formerly known as Improv is No Joke, where it’s all about believing that strong communication skills are the best way in delivering your technical accounting knowledge and growing your business. An effective way of building stronger communication skills is by embracing the principles of applied improvisation. Your host is Peter Margaritis, CPA a.k.a. The Accidental Accountant, and he will interview financial professionals and business leaders to find their secret in building stronger relationships with their clients, customers, associates and peers, all the while growing their businesses. So, let’s start the show.

Peter Margaritis: [00:01:11] Welcome, everyone. I recorded this episode on Wednesday, March 18th. And I’ve wait until March 23rd to write this introduction. The corona landscape has changed and will continue to change by the time you’re listening to this episode. Social distancing, stay-at-home orders, what’s an essential versus a nonessential business are things that we’re having to deal with on a daily basis. In Ohio, we’re on our stay-at-home order beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24th. You know, we’re all dealing with the stress of the unknown.

Peter Margaritis: [00:01:45] Yeah, I know the hard times sometimes dealing with the stress, but I do maintain my improvise mentality to help me get through, as well as rely on friends, experts, getting their advice in helping myself, as well as wanting to help you deal with this stress. So, that’s what I’ve done. I decided an alternative method of dealing with the stress, is to reach out to the experts that I know to help us all deal with the stress related around COVID-19.

Peter Margaritis: [00:02:18] My guest today is Jennifer Elder, CPA, and she is a certified speaking professional, one of only 53 CPA, CSPs in the National Speakers Association. She is also the self-proclaimed, The Diva of Disaster. Jennifer authored the book titled Faster Disaster Recovery: A Business Owner’s Guide to Developing a Business Continuity Plan. And that is the essence of our conversation today. And it centers around what can we do to, pardon the pun, change our mindset, change our approach, change our attitude in dealing with this global pandemic. She provides a variety of simple tips that you can employ during a time of stress. And I hope you enjoy our interview.

Announcer: [00:03:10] This podcast is part of the C-Suite Radio Network, turning the volume up on business.

Peter Margaritis: [00:03:17] Before we get to the interview, I would like to suggest after listening to this episode, you go listen to Season 2, Episode 35 with Dave Caperton titled Using Humor to Open People Up to New Mindsets. This episode is extremely relevant to dealing with the stress of COVID-19. Now, let’s get to the interview with Jennifer Elder. Hey. Welcome back, everybody. Today, I have a good friend, otherwise known sometimes as my office wife, who now has a new title, The Diva of Disaster, Jennifer Elder, with me to talk about our current environment out there as we relate to COVID-19. And Jennifer, welcome to the show again. Thank you for the taking time to help my audience.

Jennifer Elder: [00:04:11] Thank you. Happy to be here, Peter.

Peter Margaritis: [00:04:14] So, let’s just get right to it. What’s the one big tip that you can give to my audience? And the title of the podcast is to change their mindset. What’s the one big tip that you can give the audience to help them, off the bat, to begin to change the mindset as we begin to go through this daily dealing with this pandemic?

Jennifer Elder: [00:04:37] Well, you just stole my big line, is that that is the one big tip, is you have to change your mindset under the current conditions. We can’t do the same thing the same way under the new abnormal normal and expect the same results. So, you have to change your mindset and it’s hard right now. Everybody is—you know, we’re—how do we keep normal when there is no normal? We don’t have any routines anymore. Our business process is kind of blown up on us when everybody’s working from home. So, the one question, I think, we all need to be asking right now is how can we be part of the solution? What can we do differently that makes things better? Rather than trying to do the round peg into a square hole, you know. Let’s do the same thing that we’re doing, but it’s weird.

Peter Margaritis: [00:05:36] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:05:38] What could we do differently? Where’s the opportunity? So, for example, here in New Hampshire, and you told me in Ohio, too, the restaurants are now not allowed to have dine-in.

Peter Margaritis: [00:05:51] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:05:53] This is horrifying for restaurants. You can wallow in the horror or you can start thinking about what could I do to be part of the solution? Well, there are a gazillion people working from home who still need to eat. So, what if you offered lunch delivery service? What if you offered to make meals for senior citizens at a reduced cost? There are ways you can figure out how to do what you do in a slightly different way that becomes part of the solution to what’s going on right now.

Peter Margaritis: [00:06:34] Because we’re going to lose—we’re all losing money in our businesses, period.

Jennifer Elder: [00:06:39] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:06:39] So, look at from the, how can I serve my audience? How can I serve my community in a way that will benefit them and still provide something to the solution of the current situation?

Jennifer Elder: [00:06:56] Yes. So, no, we don’t want to price gouge, but, you know, we’re all—like you said, we’re all losing money. There’s an economic impact to everyone right now. Even those that are doing well are still, you know, giving discounted services. So, a lot of the web service providers, the virtual meeting providers are offering free software right now to be part of the solution. So, we’re all losing money, but if that’s the case, are there places that we could make money but still do good for the society? This almost goes back to the definition of sustainability, which is that you can do well by doing good.

Peter Margaritis: [00:07:43] Right. And which makes me think about, so think about your clients, think about the people who you’re doing business with. And if you know that they’re in hard times, cut the costs.

Jennifer Elder: [00:07:55] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:07:57] At least cut some of that costs so they can maintain their service with you and you can restore it when we get back to normal, but provide some relief to those around you.

Jennifer Elder: [00:08:10] Yeah. Or if you are a manufacturer and suddenly, you’re being hit with your customers canceling orders, what if you called some of your good customers and say, you know what, instead of canceling that order, how about we defer it? How about we delay it? And if you give me a small deposit, then as soon as you’re ready, I will hop on it and get you exactly what you need when you need it. So, there’s a win-win in there because once demand does come back, oh, some people are going to find out that they can’t get the supplies that they now need because everybody’s coming back at the same time. So, think about—again, restaurants are easy right now. When the ban on dine-in is lifted, every restaurant is going to be scrambling to fill their restaurant with food, their freezers, their shelves. And so, the grocery suppliers are going to be swamped. So, I’d rather give a deposit to somebody so that I know the minute I need my stuff, they’re there for me.

Peter Margaritis: [00:09:26] Right. Right. Once we get past this panic thought process, that we’re scared, and now, I have to work from home, I’ve got a laptop, and I’ve got, you know, my kids jumping on my head, and both spouses are in the house now all day at all times. This is a new normal that they’re uncomfortable with.

Jennifer Elder: [00:09:52] Yes. And so, we are going to have to be creative in our solutions. And, you know, you mentioned our customers, our clients are in pain right now. Touch base with them. We all need an outlet right now. So, if you were upset at work, you could just walk into the lunch room, grab a cup of coffee, and there’ll be somebody in there and you can go bitch. Right now, we’re all stressed. We got issues, and there’s nobody to talk to.

Peter Margaritis: [00:10:29] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:10:29] You know, the dog, yeah, they wag their tail, you think everything is wonderful, but we don’t have that opportunity to have an outlet for the things that are bothering us. Yes, we can call some of our co-workers, but I’ve heard from a lot of people that, "Well, I don’t want to bother them. There’s already enough going on. They have their kids at home, their spouse at home. I don’t want to pile on." So, people are keeping it in. So, why not call your customers and just say, "How are you doing? What’s going on?" Find out what their pain points are, and then have a brainstorming session with your staff and your team, "What can we do to help?" Now, I know, Pete, you’re all about improv. I think this is where it’s going to come into play.

Peter Margaritis: [00:11:19] Absolutely.

Jennifer Elder: [00:11:19] How can we do things differently right now? How do you pivot? Now, use your "yes, and", we got to be mindful of this when people go, "Yeah, but we can’t do that." Oh, no. Let’s just keep going with, "Yes, and how could we do that?"

Peter Margaritis: [00:11:38] So, as I saw a lot of my business fall off and realized that it’s probably going to continue for a bit, I went into, "So, what can I do?" I’m not going to sit here eating bonbons and watch Ellen all day or binge-watch or anything like that, maybe binge-drink, but no, that will come later. And I went, "So, I’m used to working from home. I’ve been doing this for 10 years. I’m used to a remote work force. I’m used to doing virtual presentations. I know how to operate Zoom. I can work with GoToWebinar." And I went, "Do you know how many small nonprofits have no idea how to use this stuff?"

Jennifer Elder: [00:12:20] Right.

Peter Margaritis: [00:12:20] So, I contacted the Ohio Society of Association Execs, the CEO, Jarrod Clabaugh, and proposed that, "Let me help your members. Let me help you. If any of your members have issues or they want to learn more about how to use Zoom or how do you conduct—no charge. You’ve got my time. You’ve got my—I’ll even help you do this stuff." And it’s just—and I’m not expecting anything in return. I just want to help serve so when things do come through, everybody’s in a better spot than they were, and then maybe they’ll remember that I helped, and they will help me at that time.

Jennifer Elder: [00:13:00] Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah, I’m doing the same thing, was talking to some nonprofits, sending out emails to my newsletter list and saying, "Hey, if you’re not used to doing virtual meetings or don’t know how to do it or don’t have the ability to host, I’m here to help, and at no charge."

Peter Margaritis: [00:13:27] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:13:28] And I think this is where you become part of the solution, and you’re making an investment in other people, they will remember this. You know, you and I both talk about networking, and one of the things we both talk about is how you have to give in your networking before you can get. And I know all of your listeners, this will resonate with them, how many times have you gotten a LinkedIn request to join my network, and you say yes? You have no idea who they are, but you say yes anyway. And 30 seconds later, "Now, let me tell you about my special one-time-only offer, Can I call you right now?"

Peter Margaritis: [00:14:14] No.

Jennifer Elder: [00:14:16] Unfriend. So, that’s how not to do networking, that’s how to take before you give.

Peter Margaritis: [00:14:23] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:14:23] Right now, we all have a great opportunity to give first, give to other people, help them with their troubles, and this will come back tenfold over. It’s not karma. All right. If you believe in karma, it’s karma. If you don’t believe in karma, it is a—you know, it’s like you put money in the bank, and there’s interest growing on it. This is putting virtual money in the bank.

Peter Margaritis: [00:14:53] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:14:53] And you will earn interest on it. And when things do come back to normal, we’re going to remember the people who helped us out.

Peter Margaritis: [00:15:01] And also, it goes, so we’ve lost our sense of community a bit since we’re not in the work force, we’re not having that face-to-face contact. And I don’t know if you had the same issue, but when you took the business, home-based business for the first time, I didn’t know what to do. The refrigerator and I were best friends. The refrigerator would call me and the pantry will call, "Hey, come on up. I got some good stuff in here. Come." So, I put on about 20 really easily. But the only way—then, I said, "You know what, I can’t do it here", so I’d go to Starbucks and Panera. Well, those, they’re out right now. So, I ended up—you know, so I went to that phase where at one point, I said, "You know what, I have to develop a schedule, a discipline to do day in and day out."

Jennifer Elder: [00:15:46] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:15:46] And we still have to do that in coping with this. We still have to have some type of—and just to be transparent, I’m working on this with the family upstairs, and having a little bit of an issue with a 19-year old, realized that this is just an extended spring break.

Jennifer Elder: [00:16:07] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:16:08] But you need people on a schedule again.

Jennifer Elder: [00:16:10] That’s huge right now. When your world gets turned upside down and you have so little control over what’s going on, you need routine again and you need to control what you can control. So, people who start working from home right now, they’re probably, you know, in the last week or two, three, four, however many they’ve been working from home, but that first couple of weeks, it’s awful. You have no routine, everything is an interruption, everything is a distraction. So, you have to decide for yourself, you’ve got to change your mindset, that this is my new normal. What does my new work life look like? Now, for some people, they have a home office, others don’t. I’ve seen some really creative solutions for creating a home office, a standing desk that you’re used to at work. I’ve seen people use ironing boards as a standing desk.

Peter Margaritis: [00:17:15] Nice.

Jennifer Elder: [00:17:15] People are working from the dining room table, the kitchen counter, they are—from a laundry basket. You know, they’re having to figure out a space to work from. You should also set some new hours, and set some boundaries with your family. So, in my house, I’ve been working from home for a while, but with being The Diva of Disaster, had all kinds of requests to help, which is fabulous. Happy to help, and happy to help your listeners, too.

Jennifer Elder: [00:17:56] But I’ve had to set ground rules with my spouse so that if I’m in my office and the door is shut, that means I’m working, don’t even think about coming in, don’t interrupt me. Previous to that, it really—I didn’t need it. But now, we’re doing so much work virtually, this podcast, we do virtual meetings, you’ve got to set those boundaries. Home is not home anymore. Home is now home and an office.

Peter Margaritis: [00:18:28] Yeah. And we can get isolated during this time, and I would recommend, I have no affiliation with Zoom, other than that I use it or Facetime or Skype or whatever you use, but when you want to call, when you want to talk to a friend or family member, use that feature on there just versus the phone itself because now, you’ve got a human that you’re looking at, that-

Jennifer Elder: [00:18:56] We need face-to-face feedback.

Peter Margaritis: [00:18:58] Yeah, we do. We do.

Jennifer Elder: [00:19:00] It’s so important now, families can set up group calls with their families, so everybody can be on at the same time. And, you know, it’s not the same as getting together for the holidays, but it’s better than being isolated and by yourself. And I think it’s very important—you made a really good point that it’s important to reach out. I think there are going to be a lot of people who are going to become even more isolated.

Jennifer Elder: [00:19:37] Because, particularly people who are usually positive, when they’re feeling anxious or concerned, they don’t want to share that with other people, they’re used to being the positive one. So, they’re not going to reach out when they’re upset. So, if you haven’t heard from somebody for a while, reach out to them. They’re not ignoring you. They just don’t want to impose their bad mood on you. But really, we all need to be able to get it out of our system right now.

Peter Margaritis: [00:20:07] Right. Right. And so, if I have any superpower and I’ve seen this superpower really come to use of this last week because I love making people laugh, and I’m probably taking it too far at times, but, you know, little bunny Foo Foo running to forest. I mean, cringy stuff like that, but it just makes people—just that that laughter just helps.

Jennifer Elder: [00:20:29] Yes. Or if somebody is, you know, panicking over COVID-19, I will go, "Oh, my God, the sky is falling. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God." Then, yes, I’m making fun of them, but I’m making fun with them, too. I’m making fun of myself. And we do need to laugh. It’s so important. With my family, we’ve started a group text where every day, people are posting goofy memes, small jokes, just something so that we can all smile. And even if you go, "Oh, that’s stupid", you’re still laughing.

Peter Margaritis: [00:21:14] Yeah, somebody sent me one of a video of a guy in a car, stops and this shady-looking kid there, and he calls him over and he says, "You got the stuff." Was it, "You got the money"?

Jennifer Elder: [00:21:23] I sent that to you.

Peter Margaritis: [00:21:24] Yeah. And then, it takes on a lot of pondering-.

Jennifer Elder: [00:21:27] It’s a drug deal.

Peter Margaritis: [00:21:28] Yeah, it’s a drug deal, but it’s really, "Here’s some toilet paper and some hand sanitizer."

Jennifer Elder: [00:21:34] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:21:35] Yeah.

Jennifer Elder: [00:21:35] Yeah. And you know what was the funny part about that, is like three days later, there was a kid who was suspended from school for selling squirts of hand sanitizer.

Peter Margaritis: [00:21:48] Hey, that’s an entrepreneur.

Jennifer Elder: [00:21:50] I was like, "Oh, my God. It really is happening." We’re having drug deals every hand sanitizer.

Peter Margaritis: [00:21:56] Hand sanitizer. And, you know, I’ve had conversations with a lot of, I don’t get the hoarding of toilet paper. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it unless they’re trying to TP a bunch of houses. You know, it’s like, "Stay calm."

Jennifer Elder: [00:22:13] Yeah.

Peter Margaritis: [00:22:14] Here’s my concern, though, this is going to air around April 13th, as I believe, if my memory serves me correct. And this—and today is March 19th. So, we’re a month from now. We don’t know what that’s—the landscape is going to change. We know that.

Jennifer Elder: [00:22:33] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:22:33] Because well, you just did a webinar for the Maryland Association of CPAs on the COVID-19. And it was aired over maybe a-week-and-a-half, and they’ve asked you to re-record it because the landscape has changed.

Jennifer Elder: [00:22:48] Yes. Landscape is changing every day at the federal level and at the state level. And for business owners, business leaders, they have to stay on top of employment law changes, and that really is changing daily. So, no, a month from now, we’re not going to know what the landscape is, but I can tell you, being able to change your mindset, being able to pivot, being able to stay positive is going to be crucial regardless of what our landscape is.

Peter Margaritis: [00:23:25] Right. Doesn’t matter. You know, we’re going to see numbers increase, that’s the forecast. We’re going to see this—you know, we’re not at at the peak now, and the anticipation is sometimes between now and I guess, next three to four weeks, I don’t really know, but as we say in improv, don’t focus on the things you can’t control. Only focus on the things you can control, and that will help with your sanity.

Jennifer Elder: [00:23:52] And you can control your reaction.

Peter Margaritis: [00:23:55] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:23:56] And one thing that we all have to be mindful of right now is psychologically, humans are hard-wired to pay attention to the negative because your body is designed to keep you alive. Negative can hurt you, so your brain instantly latches on to anything negative.

Peter Margaritis: [00:24:16] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:24:16] The issue with that is for every negative thought, it takes three positive thoughts to get back to zero, just to get back to even.

Peter Margaritis: [00:24:26] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:24:27] So, it’s really important for everybody’s sanity to forcibly change how you look at things, don’t—I mean, yes, we can’t help but lament over the things we can’t control, but then focus on the things that you can, focus on your reaction, and at least be mindful. You know, I’ve been wallowing in "the sky is falling" mentality, let me go take two minutes, five minutes, let me go to YouTube, and watch goofy dog and cat videos, just something that makes you laugh.

Peter Margaritis: [00:25:08] Yeah, just something. So, now that the world has turned around and what I’ve decided to do is in my day, between 4:00 and 4:30, no more working past that, and then go spend time with the family. So, I’ve moved that time up an hour, hour-and-a-half because it used to be 6:00 or 6:30 at times. Now, I want to take the time and like tonight, we’re going to play—well, I asked Steven if he wants to play Rhyme, he goes, "Sure, as long as you guys don’t mind getting beat."

Jennifer Elder: [00:25:48] Yeah, I mean—

Peter Margaritis: [00:25:48] And then, we’re having a family dinner. But it’s-

Jennifer Elder: [00:25:51] Yeah. So, you know, think about, again, changing how you look at things. The opportunity here is you have time to spend with your children, your spouse, take advantage of that. And for some people, you may have to change your work hours. So, if you have smaller children at home, they’re up early, they’re bored to tears, they’re going to need a lot more of your time, so you may need to adjust your work hours. You may not be able to work from 8:00 until 4:00.

Peter Margaritis: [00:26:26] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:26:26] You may need to wait until starting your workday at 3:00 in the afternoon or you may need to alternate with your spouse. And your spouse takes the morning shift, you take the afternoon shift, but we’ve got to figure out some way of dealing with this. The people I’m actually worried about, Peter, are those that do not have good family relationships.

Peter Margaritis: [00:26:49] Yeah.

Jennifer Elder: [00:26:49] And now, they’re forced to be around each other 24/7.

Peter Margaritis: [00:26:54] Yeah.

Jennifer Elder: [00:26:54] And this is going to be stressful.

Peter Margaritis: [00:26:57] Yes.

Jennifer Elder: [00:26:57] People with teenagers, this is—you know, teenagers get stressed, they’re hormonal, they’re going to be snappy, not in a good way, and how do you deal with that? You know, one thing we haven’t mentioned yet is one of the mindsets you really need to add in here is patience. We have to be patient with each other. And that’s with your family. It’s with your co-workers. It’s with people at the store. I was out doing my normal grocery shopping. If I was panic-buying anything, it was two cases of beer.

Peter Margaritis: [00:27:44] Only two?

Jennifer Elder: [00:27:48] But it was bizarre. I mean, the store had been wiped out. Canned goods, yes, toilet paper, paper towels. I bet there were just swaths of the store that the shelves were empty. And there were a couple of people that I saw in the store that were running around in a frenzy with their cart and they’re bumping into people, and getting mad that they ran into somebody. It’s like they’re trying to go around somebody, but they bumped them, and then they’re like, "What are you doing?" And then, they go to find something that’s not on the shelves and there’s a string of four-letter words that are coming out. They have to understand we all need to be a little bit more patient.

Peter Margaritis: [00:28:37] Right. So, I’m purposely wearing this t-shirt because of this podcast. And by the way, because I wanted Jennifer to kind of be in a happy mood. I know she’s in New Hampshire and I know she loves to ski, I’ve got a virtual background of a snow-covered mountain for her that have that calmness to it, but my shirt reads, what does my shirt say?

Jennifer Elder: [00:28:58] Be good to people.

Peter Margaritis: [00:28:59] Be good to people.

Jennifer Elder: [00:29:01] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:29:01] As simple as that. Be good to people. And it’s, take care of people. It’s about us, but then it’s also about the people around us. It’s also about checking on our neighbors. It’s also about checking on our elderly parents. It’s also about checking on each other. And actually, I ask Steven every day, you know, "You can talk to me about it. If anything’s bothering you about what’s going on, you can talk to me about it."

Jennifer Elder: [00:29:30] Right.

Peter Margaritis: [00:29:31] "Right, Dad. Oh, by the way, can you fix me something to eat?" We’re getting there, slowly but surely. But it’s also-

Jennifer Elder: [00:29:37] It’s just giving the opportunity.

Peter Margaritis: [00:29:40] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:29:40] Saying you’re there for them, "If you want to talk, I’m here to listen." I shared this with a friend of mine, I said, you know, "If you want to talk about this-", because a friend of mine now, there’s a possibility that she was exposed. Not a big possibility, but still, it’s a possibility. So, I said, you know, if you want to talk, I realize there’s nothing that we can do, there’s nothing we can fix. But if you just want somebody to listen, I’m happy to just sit and listen to what you have to say.

Peter Margaritis: [00:30:15] They were appreciative of that offer.

Jennifer Elder: [00:30:18] Yes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:30:19] Of course, yeah.

Jennifer Elder: [00:30:19] And actually, what was kind of funny, when she said, "No, I think I’m good. I appreciate the offer, but I think I’m good." And then, 30 seconds later, she’s talking about it.

Peter Margaritis: [00:30:33] Yeah.

Jennifer Elder: [00:30:33] I let her go. I just listened. And then, she came around after a couple minutes and said, "I said I didn’t want to talk, didn’t I?" And then, realized that she had just been talking for five minutes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:30:50] I’ve got a good friend who this doctor believes, and this was before they freed up how to test, this doctor believe that he came down with it, that he has it. And he self-quarantined himself at his lake house in northeast Ohio. And ever since I found that, every day, I just send him a text, "How are you doing today?" And we’ve just been having this conversation every single day. You know, it was getting worse, "Not feeling well." And I go, "Okay." So, I, "Hey, do you have Netflix? Hey, I just watched this movie on Netflix", and just give him suggestions and stuff. And then, yesterday, he said for the first time, "I think I’m starting to get past this thing."

Jennifer Elder: [00:31:31] Nice.

Peter Margaritis: [00:31:31] But it’s just making that contact, and especially if you know somebody who—because, you know, I’ll talk to him after it’s said and done about his thoughts while he was dealing with COVID-19 on a daily basis, on an hourly basis.

Jennifer Elder: [00:31:48] Right.

Peter Margaritis: [00:31:49] Yeah. It’s-

Jennifer Elder: [00:31:50] Because the impact is from one extreme to the other, so I can’t imagine the thought that somebody has if they have been diagnosed, worrying about themselves, worrying about their family, their co-workers, I’d worry about even people I ran into at the supermarket, you know.

Peter Margaritis: [00:32:11] Yeah. And as you know, when we got back from one of our conference, I got to speak with a non-coronavirus and I kept going, "Oh, my God, I hope not everybody that I came in contact with, but nobody who I was around was sick over this period of time." And so, I must have caught it in an airplane, but even just that little bit of uncertainty there for a while was, "Do I have this? Do I not?" with that. And I’m a Type 1 diabetic, your thoughts start running. And I had to say stop. Yes, and you don’t have this. You probably don’t have this.

Jennifer Elder: [00:32:51] Well, two things my sister always talks about, and you’ve heard this—many people have heard this before. Fear is an acronym of false expectations appearing real.

Peter Margaritis: [00:33:08] I’ve never heard of that.

Jennifer Elder: [00:33:09] Fear, very often, what we worry about, what we’re afraid of never actually happens, and we spend a lot of our time worrying and stressing. My sister’s variation on that is worry when the time comes.

Peter Margaritis: [00:33:28] Right.

Jennifer Elder: [00:33:29] So, you can worry, "Did somebody else get sick?" I’ve got no control over that. I can’t do anything about it. If somebody that I came into contact with does get sick, now, I actually can do something. I can apologize or I can, you know, share what I did. There are things you can do. When something happens, now, you have control. You can actually do something to react to it. But the worry, there’s nothing positive you can do about it.

Peter Margaritis: [00:34:04] Exactly.

Jennifer Elder: [00:34:04] So, there’s another change in mindset.

Peter Margaritis: [00:34:07] So, as we wrap up, everything that you said has been spot on. What’s the one last thing you want to leave them thinking as they’ve listened to our conversation?

Jennifer Elder: [00:34:22] I will end with right where we started, Pete, which is find the positive, find where you can be part of the solution. That works for the people around us, and it works for us personally.

Peter Margaritis: [00:34:38] First, thank you very much. And two-

Jennifer Elder: [00:34:40] Oh, no, no, thank you.

Peter Margaritis: [00:34:42] And I hope you and Sam stay safe, stay healthy. We will keep in contact. And The Diva of Disaster, thank you, and my audience thanks you as well. I’m going to sign off by saying, please, everyone, be healthy, practice social distancing, be safe, and just implement a couple of tips from today’s episode, as well as the episode with Jay Sukow to help ease your stress. Be safe.

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