I read somewhere that just around 10% of the UK want things to go back to how they were before lockdown started.

It seems that lockdown has taught us lots of life and business lessons, I included.

The biggest thing for me is that lockdown has given me some much-needed time to reflect and evaluate.  Sometimes we get so busy with the hustle and bustle of life, we don’t really get the chance to stop and really have a think. I am grateful to lockdown for giving me this.  I have made lots of changes in the community in the last few weeks. These were changes that were already in play before lockdown and it felt right to roll them out during lockdown. People don’t always like change. It can be scary, but it can also be exciting. We’ve had no choice but to get on with this and that’s the single biggest thing that has held us all together. We have all been in lockdown. Lockdown does not discriminate.

I’m running networking events online every 2 weeks. Some people say they actually prefer them. Online networking is no longer a stopgap before I can return to in-person events. Many women have told me that while they do miss direct human contact, they are in no rush to go back. The online sessions will remain a firm fixture in the schedule even when this is all over. I have been threatening to do online sessions for ages but never actually got around to doing it. I am grateful to lockdown for giving me the push to finally do it.  The sessions are a wonderful way to meet someone you wouldn’t ordinarily speak to at an in-person event.

I have had to adapt to the new medium and it has been a learning curve. This week I hosted an online networking session and delivered training on How To Stand Out on Facebook. This was the first session that I delivered both networking and a training session online. It was also the first session when the zoom tech failed me! The training session was fantastic, but we didn’t manage to get to the online networking part. In truth, it was a bit of a nightmare!

There have been so many zoom funnies flying around. There is definitely the horror of seeing your own face staring back at you which is made worse when the screen freezes and you’ve just scratched your nose, coughed or flicked your hair.  Not particularly a lovely sight for the audience!

The session this week has also made me realise that online networking and training sessions need to be separate events. I have released the online networking schedule for June and July and will also be releasing a training schedule too. Watch this space! I am exceptionally proud of everyone who has adapted to online networking including myself! I would love to know how you have adapted your business.

I have learnt that everyone has suddenly become an expert! Stay visible. Don’t be visible. Sell, sell, sell. Don’t sell. I guess no-one really knows what to do in these unprecedented times. I figured the best person to advise me on my business is me!

I’ve learnt that there is such a thing as making too many connections! Suddenly my LinkedIn inbox has become more clogged up than normal. I love connecting with new people. That’s my job! But…I don’t like people who jump into my inbox cold and try and have that uncomfortable spammy pammy conversation with me. Yes, it’s been fantastic to have more time to make new connections, but please do your research. You would clearly see I might not be in the market to set up a zoom call to have someone talk to me about Marketing! (I’m a Marketing Expert).

Like you, I have been spinning many plates at home trying to juggle work and life together. My house has been busy every day and I have had to remind myself often that I am human. There have been some really wobbly days and that’s ok too. Saying that we have adapted really well despite the odd wobble and we have all risen to the challenge whilst embracing a new way of doing things.

Although it has been a challenge at times, there are so many lessons to be learnt from lockdown.

We started with a fairly strict schedule but that has all changed! Yes, we have done a lot of baking, yes, we have done a lot of walking and cycling. But no, we haven’t learnt a new skill or done a Joe Wickes PE workout! We haven’t actually done one quiz night. We go with the flow.

Like a lot of people in the world, I didn’t suddenly release a whole heap of new products and services. I decided to take a step back and focus on what was right in front of me. This has served me and my family very well.

I’ve done what I can when I can around my family life.  I did what worked for me and for my family. Homeschooling at times has been a challenge but we’ve just got on with it. 

I have felt on call every day. That has been the hardest bit for me. I admire anyone that has managed to do more than an hour or two of work each day. I have found it impossible to do more than this whilst managing the house and looking after everyone in it.  The days seem to whiz by and some days it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I have got a lot better finding a bit of time to get some time for myself each day. I am lucky enough to live close to the river and several 10-minute walks up and down the road to the jetty at the bottom of our road has really kept me sane and level.  I have learnt to take a lot of deeper breaths and to take each new day for what it is.

I’ve definitely learnt to have a positive mindset and I’ve ignored what everyone else is doing. I have done what is right for me. The pace of life has changed. Our work and home lives are now so interwoven. I now kind of like the new way of life. I’m now dreading the school runs again and the chaos of daily after school sports activities!

I guess we will all keep adapting and look up from the values lockdown life has taught us rather than get too bogged down with the detail.

We don’t know how long this will go on for. We have no idea what changes may come and go or stay. We will see. I have learnt that this has all been an opportunity that has provoked us to think about and do everything so differently and this can only be a good thing.

We are making history in working differently and living life differently.  My husband will no longer do a daily commute to London. The London office has already been closed.

Lockdown has reaffirmed to me that life is about connections and relationships. Listening and speaking with kindness, compassion and empathy. I knew this anyway, but it was good to have such a big reminder.  We are experiencing the simple things in life and these are the things we took for granted before lockdown.

We have really connected with our neighbours who in the 18 months of living here, we have barely spoken to. We enjoyed a wonderful VE day celebration!

In my house, there have been four lockdown birthdays in May, yes four! Including my daughters 18th.  She had a procession of people driving through and she told us she had the best birthday she had ever had. I paid attention to the detail and the small things along with the simple things made it a really special day.  I want to give a special shout out to Louise from Blooming Marvellous Flowers who provided the giant ‘18’ numbers and the doughnut wall.

The numbers were moved around the house and garden all day and night. There were lots of mini-photo shoots and these things really added to the excitement of the day. The numbers are only £50 to hire each and Louise delivers and collects. Sarah from Poundies Cakes created an amazing cake and has kept us in birthday cakes for the month and VE day cakes.

Not forgetting Ella’s Party Shop who provided some amazing balloons for some of the birthday celebrations.  If you are hosting a birthday party, christening, anniversary celebration, wedding or any other kind of party, please do get in touch with these three ladies. They are just the best! It has been wonderful to support some local small business owners too.

We have been totally blessed with some amazing weather. I might sit in the garden and do a bit of work. I might not. I’ve made up a lot of time by not having to race around like a headless chicken. I’m looking after myself more and feel that I am thriving rather than just existing. I am grateful for these things and really hope we keep hold of them. Without lockdown, I would have missed so much of this stuff.

It has been reaffirmed that I am a home-bird. I like being at home. Just maybe not with everyone in it at the same time! The washing. The endless washing and food preparation are not something I like too much. It feels a bit like an all-day buffet! I miss going out to a coffee shop and seeing my friends in a way that I used to before.  But I don’t miss much else. I love to see life going on around me, real-life people doing simple things. I miss this the most.

My default mode goes from super productive to lazy very, very quickly.

Even though the non-essential shops are due to open in the next couple of weeks, I know my shopping habits will change. We don’t need a lot of stuff. We spent money on stuff we didn’t really need. I don’t even like shopping! I do like the thrill of buying something new but the thrill of having more money seems to have eclipsed this.

So, there we go…. I’ve learnt a few things. Some I will be able to translate to my business, some I won’t. I have also learnt things about what not to do…or how not to act. I have definitely learnt that life is all about people and connections. Even though I already knew this, it has been so good to take life back to the simple things and learn how to enjoy them again. Lockdown has actually just reaffirmed stuff I already knew, but mostly I love being at home. I’ve not really appreciated how lucky I am. I should spend more time looking at the view. More time connecting with those important to me.

How has lockdown life been for you?

Amanda Ayres

Get updates and info from Amanda Ayres!

You have successfully subscribed! I hope to connect with you very soon!