Today is Day 100 of what I'm calling my "COVID-19 Quarantine Journey." I've been writing in my notebook every day since Day 1. Sometimes it's a few pages, other days it's a few sentences. But I always wrote the day number. Otherwise, these past 100 days would've all been a blur.
Over the last 100 days, I:
Lost my job (like 45 million others)
My roommate moved out
Reluctantly reconnected with an ex
Undergone A LOT of self-reflection
(accidentally) Launched my own freelance business
Analyzed how to make a greater impact
A LOT of change for someone who normally hates change of any kind.
The one thing I made sure to do each week: set up at least 1 call with someone in my network. This kept me sane, inspired and thinking about the future in a different way.
Ahead of the Curve
I want to start sharing some of these conversations, teachings, epiphanies, and highlights with others.
Next week I'll be kicking off a Q&A series called "Ahead of the Curve" which will feature interviews with people in various industries I generally just vibe with. They're doing good things and are good people. I'm not talking to a CEO who needs their PR team to review questions ahead of time. That's boring as hell.
There will be cursing, realness, and some controversy. But there will also be humility, new ideas, and encouragement. Stay tuned.
If you'd like the long-winded 100 day Quarantine story that brought me to want to do a Q&A series, read below. Otherwise, I'll have some more interesting content online next week.
Days 1 - 20:
Mid-March - Some Time to Rest (and fret)
I hopped on the COVID-19 Quarantine train early. I saw the case numbers, the impact it had in other countries, and I knew how stupid Americans tend to act. I knew my friends, co-workers and mom thought I was a lunatic for a few days. Cases started popping up in counties surrounding Philadelphia. I immediately went into recluse mode.
I still had a full-time job then, and told my boss I'd be working from home. He, like many, shrugged it off and continued going into the office. Business as usual. That lasted about a week. Then cities started shutting down.
My go, go, go mentality completely shifted. No more curating to-do lists while on that stairmaster at the gym. No more sending e-mails on my early commute to work.
Then the term "Pivot" started making its rounds. I wrote about my detest for this word about a month later.
Days 22 - 33:
Early April - Everyone Starts to Scramble
I started new routines. I was sleeping more, going for morning walks, mid-day bike rides. It was quite peaceful. I even started to read again. "Alone time, I love it."
I was still working, though my hours were cut by 25%. When you work for a small company, you tend to work over 40 hours a week on the regular. So, while I got a pay cut, I was still working full-time. But I'm not supposed to say that....
The company turned to digital. I tried to whip up ideas to generate SOME revenue to keep the entire team on board. I was managing two people who I genuinely care about and wanted them to be OK.
Days 34 - 44:
Mid-April - Job Loss, Gaining Perspective
Well, I was let go from the small company I had worked with (and helped grow) over the last 4.5 years. My first job out of college. A role which has given me so many wonderful and impressive connections.
I saw it coming the week prior. In fact, I had already put together my resume a few days before "the talk." When your boss says "cross training" during a pandemic which has already cut your work by a LARGE sum, he really means "cross train someone we can pay less to take on your digital tasks." I knew this was the best in order to keep the company running. It was also the best thing for me.
My boss and I were quite close. I consider him one of my first mentors. However, over the last year we started to butt heads about the direction of the company. He is the Founder and it is his baby. I became so invested in it and had my hands in everything. I felt it was necessary speak up if I truly didn't agree with a change he wanted to make. I had outgrown my role.
After he let me go, I cried in my bed for 15 minutes. I wiped my tears and immediately started e-mailing the company's Board of Advisors (some pictured below) to let them know I was leaving. I got a lot of "WTF?!" responses. They were confused. So was I.
"What do you want to do?" is what they'd ask, so willing to help. I had no idea. My goal was to take that time to figure it out.
When people asked what I liked most about that job, I have always said "it's the people I get to interact with daily." Aside from the joy I gained from curating events and creating digital content, that was really what kept me going - those relationships.
Days 45 - 51:
End of April - An Accidental Business Launch
By the last week of April, I accidentally launched my own freelance business. I started building a website in order to write more. It wasn't until I started listing "services" that I realized I had jumped in the freelance pool.
My site launched on April 24. I got my first client that same day.
On top of writing, I was scheduling calls to chat with people inside and outside my network. Most are those I look up to. I was filled with gratitude that they even granted me the time to talk. But, given that cities were shut down, the economy started to tank, and the hospitality industry was put on hold, they had more time on their hands than usual.
Days 52 - 80:
Early May - Getting in a Groove
All throughout May, I continued those conversations while balancing my freelance work. I gained valuable personal and professional insight from everyone I spoke with. Each talk left me feeling energized and ready for the future. Inspired, I wrote a number of posts on brand partnerships, the future of restaurants, and the future of events.
Days 81 - 100:
Early to Mid-June - Time to Make an Impact
At the end of May, George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Protests broke out around the world. I was at a loss with my own special role as an agent of change and disgusted by the lack of depth brand responses contained.
Then it hit me. My relationships are a great strength of mine. I'm lucky to have the ears of some impressive and forward-thinking people. Even those I don't know, I am now beginning to build relationships with. And it has become my mission to challenge specifically the hotel industry to do better in taking care of their people and creating spaces that make everyone feel welcome. Show up! Saying "Black Lives Matter" isn't enough.
My goal, even before COVID, has been to further align myself with more impact-driven organizations, companies and leaders to make for a better world. And I've been doing just that.
Now I want to share some of the insights with everyone else. I have a curated list of people in various industries who, in my opinion, have been ahead of the curve in many ways. I can't wait to share their stories with you.
Anyways, if you made it this far: thank you. I'm excited to share more.