We’re All Making This Up As We Go Along.

a road into the fog

One of the great not-so-secrets of life is this: All of us are making things up as we go along.

Every time you meet an expert or a leader in a space, you have to remember: They don’t know what’s going to happen next. Maybe they’re unusually smart and can see what’s coming around the corner, but they don’t have a crystal ball. They’re figuring things out as they go, making adjustments, and trying to do the right thing with the information they have.

Right now, during this crisis, we’re seeing that play out in real time. None of us know how long this crisis will last, or what the long-term effects of this crisis will be, which means that it’s impossible to accurately plan for the future. We’re all trying to make plans for the unknown.

You do still have some control, though. Think about taking these two next steps:

1.) Identify a long-term mission — Understand how you hope to serve your audience in the years to come. The tactics and strategies you implement to deliver on that mission may (and almost certainly will) change, but know what that big picture goal is for you and your team.

2.) Think in terms of weeks, not months or years — This crisis is moving so quickly that trying to plan even a few months out seems unwise. Focus on the immediate future. What are the things you can do today, tomorrow, and this week to help your audience through the crisis? People will remember how you treated them and the things you did to help them at a moment like this.

Here’s what that looks like at Inbox Collective: My mission is to help news organizations and non-profits build an audience and a sustainable future for themselves. In the short-term, that means putting most of my paid consulting on hold so I can release new resources to help my readers improve their email programs, take part in webinars and calls to discuss strategy, and offer free 1-on-1 coaching calls to help these organizations brainstorm next steps. It’s what I can do right now to continue to build towards that long-term mission.

We’re all making this up as we go along, and there are no clear answers here. But if you have the long-term mission and the short-term next steps, hopefully you can navigate clear of this crisis. 


That photo of a road leading into the fog comes via Katie Moum and Unsplash.