Are you familiar with the acronym PTG? This stands for post-traumatic growth, a concept in which individuals may experience positive growth after struggling with a major traumatic crisis or event.
At the present moment, we — human beings, collectively — are all struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each person’s circumstance may be a bit different, ranging from working hard to keep a small business afloat to taking care of kids while they distance learn at home, but the coronavirus crisis is a stressor that affects everyone. In the United States, nearly half of Americans polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation have said this hardship is harming their mental health. Vulnerable individuals that have previously experienced loss or a significant negative life event, as well as those experiencing it for the first time, are now susceptible to trauma.
Here’s where PTG kicks in to help us out. The name for this concept was created in 1995 by two psychologists that analyzed individuals that were able to experience positive changes after a major life crisis or traumatic event. PTG may be experienced when an individual’s circumstances are challenged, changing your understanding of the world and place in it. This is unlike resilience, which essentially allows us to bounce back from setbacks. Post-traumatic growth is a transformation that changes the way we live our lives thereafter.
Let’s jump back to the space entrepreneurs currently occupy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time that feels endless and where every day is a fight to keep a business running, how can post-traumatic growth allow entrepreneurs to experience positive change?
Using this time to connect with supportive individuals.
One of the factors that allow for PTG after trauma is access to social support. It has been suggested that it may be easier to experience post-traumatic growth if the necessary support systems are in place.
For entrepreneurs, now is the time to connect (if you haven’t already been doing so) with supportive individuals. Consider family members, friends, partners, clients, and mentors. It’s also a critical time to reach out to other fellow business owners. Start the conversation with acquaintances you may already be friendly with. Find ways to connect with individuals, via social distancing, you’ve never quite been able to introduce yourself to before.
We are all in this together. We have the opportunity to relate to one another unlike never before. As such, it’s important that we understand the power that is found in checking in with others to see how they’re doing and to offer support and understanding.
View the glass as half-full — always.
There are five areas where PTG impacts us the most. These include embracing new possibilities (which I’ll talk about in a moment), personal strength, spiritual change, how you relate to others, and a newfound appreciation of life.
In this section, I’d like to challenge entrepreneurs to find a way, each day, to see the glass as half full. Keep a journal or notebook where you are able to jot down a few thoughts daily. Write down some of the positives that are ahead of you or reflect upon some good items when wrapping up the day in review. Take stock in your feelings, too. How did you feel today? Thankful and sleepy? Curious and nostalgic? Thoughtful and hungry? Your feelings will allow you to experience PTG and positive growth thereafter. Write down the emotions that you’re feeling, no matter what you’re feeling, and consider ways you can continue to find the positives in a difficult time.
Fully embrace new possibilities.
One of the biggest stressors of COVID-19 has been the loss of “normal.” Normal life as we knew it, with its activities to do, people to see, and places to go, is on hiatus for now. Soon, the next normal will come. In the meantime, however, now is a good time to embrace new possibilities.
For some entrepreneurs, this may mean exploring the idea of starting a second business in addition to their existing company. It could mean offering classes or consulting sessions where you are able to teach others what you know and prep them for success in a particular industry. You may partner with another entrepreneur for a mutually beneficial partnership. Or, if you aren’t an entrepreneur at all, now may be the time to start exploring starting a business in a field you’re passionate about. What good can come out of pursuing your dreams and the hobbies you naturally love to do and are talented at? Plenty — if you’re willing to embrace the opportunity and make the leap of faith forward.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.