Hi, this is Mike Lipkin and welcome to the new world disorder. Wherever you look, the status quo is being shattered. Shock and surprise are the new normal. Just when you think, it can’t get any crazier, it does. Every single client of mine is confronting a future that is disruptively different to anything they’ve ever experienced before. In many ways, post-pandemic reality is even scarier than the pandemic reality itself. In 2020 and 2021, we were almost frozen in place. We didn’t know how long the pandemic would last. We held our breath in anticipation of what would happen next. We gave each other permission to do nothing. And, the government-funded our suspended animation. In hindsight, it was reassuring to be told to stay home. Home is where we are safe and comfortable. Even when we were struggling with a virtual lifestyle, we were excused from confronting the changing realities. Survival was all we were asked to do.
That seems like a lifetime ago. Now we’re being thrust into the chaos of cataclysmic change with mindboggling speed. From violent storms to savage wars to severe inflation to impending recession to crumbling institutions, we’re all being forced to go where no one has ever been before. Even the icons are tumbling. Did you know that Phantom of The Opera, Broadway’s longest-running show, is closing. Despite weekly revenue of almost $1 million, it cannot cover its costs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has given up all its gains over the past two years – it was down 8% in September alone. But mortgage rates are hitting their highest levels since 2008 – and so is our collective anxiety. At both a macro and a micro level, we’re being confronted with phenomena that are turning us into beginners all over again every day.
The future belongs to those people who can convert their anxiety into excitement. Moment by moment, we’re becoming the questions we ask ourselves. We can either catastrophize or fantasize about tomorrow. We can imagine the worst or anticipate the best outcome in every situation. It’s either a conscious choice or an unconscious capitulation. We can’t control everything, but we can control our response to everything. If you can’t choose the situation, you can choose your attitude towards the situation. So right now, I’m anxious about what happens next. I’m anxious about my family, the economy, my business, my next gig, and my relevance to the world. Heck, I’m even anxious about this video and whether it will help you or not.
And you know what? I run on anxiety. I’ve made friends with my worry. I’m a true worrier, and warrior. Uncertainty protects me against complacency. Unease keeps me hungry and humble. As James Patterson says, hungry dogs run faster. My anxiety also reminds me how much I depend on the kindness of friends and strangers. I’m talking to you right now because of all the people who went the extra mile on my behalf – even when there was nothing in it for them. And I know you feel the same way about your life because it’s true. We’re all angels with one wing. We can only fly while embracing each other.
Ask yourself these questions through the never-ending crises: Why is this the best thing that could have happened right now? How could I have pre-empted the problem? How can I become better and stronger? What must I focus on to achieve my desired outcome? What do I need to let go of? Why will I laugh about this in a month’s time? How do I become more valuable to the people who are valuable to me? How must I show up to relieve other people of their anxiety?
Here’s Mike Lipkin’s secret of success in the new world disorder: Become the source of other people’s joy and optimism and they will literally find more time for you. Train people to expect you to be always on for them. If you lift others up, they will help you rise above your own fears. Act the part if you want to win the role.