What a year it’s been for all of us. The year 2020 has made demands from us that we might never have imagined. Some of us became schoolteachers overnight, others had to scramble for work like never before. We have added new roles – caregiver, front-line worker, full-time sanitizer. And many of us feel as if the ground is shifting underneath our feet.
In late March as our new reality set in, I was looking for a way to continue to learn, collaborate and build with thinkers, leaders and doers in the space I’m most passionate about. And so my zoom series on IGTV, Quotes from Quarantine, was born. When I started this, I thought I would have a dozen conversations. But the response and enthusiasm have been immensely gratifying. I am grateful to the founders, leaders, educators, investors, and health care practitioners in femtech, sextech and women’s health. Over 100 of these thought leaders have shared their time and expertise.
- 85% of the people interviewed founded companies based on personal experience (theirs or someone in their family) or personal passion. They experienced or observed a big problem, created a solution for it, realized that many others could benefit and started businesses.
- Close to 90% of founders are first time entrepreneurs.
- 58% are educators, often in addition to being founders and HCPs working to elevate the discussions with accurate information.
- 78% of these companies experienced revenue growth –if not an outright growth boom–during the global pandemic.
- Almost 75% of HCPs surveyed have never been busier, with the rise in telehealth.
I’ve been inspired by their discipline, creativity, resilience, ability to problem solve, and maintain a totally upbeat and optimistic view of the future. While not untouched by the ravages of the pandemic on businesses, funding, families, hospitals and communities, they are looking for and finding opportunities to retrench and reinvent. Here are important lessons I’ve learned from them:
- Make your self-care a priority: Exercise as often as possible. Run, skip, jump, hula hoop, do yoga, walk, stand on your head, do a push-up, make sure to get your endorphins racing. Eat as healthfully as you can and get enough hours of sleep.
- Turn off: Don’t watch the media that gets your blood boiling. Avoid the articles about the people who have made quarantine sound like being on a spa retreat. Replace the media aggravation with human connection.
- Turn lemons into lemonade: Figure out a way to use your skills or your company’s skills in a different way during the pandemic. Retool your operation, by using your knowledge of supply chains and manufacturing to make PPE. Be aware that customer service – much of which is being moved to actual phone calls – can be an empathetic ear on anything, not just your business.
- Give generously: Provide free products to people who need what you sell to make others’ days brighter. Donate, volunteer, serve, help — in any way you can as a leader and a human being.
- Jumpstart projects: With so many programs, projects and initiatives postponed, those “love-to-dos” cannot actually get done. Accelerate new product launches. Build partnerships. Small companies are looking for engines for growth. Large companies are looking for innovation. Reach out, be audacious, start conversations — just take a leap.
- Experience pleasure (what would you expect from folks who talk about women’s health all day?): Enough said.