The one certainty in a flood of volatile, shaky short-term outlooks is that this too, shall pass. For me, personally and professionally, I remain intently focused on being prepared for the inevitable recovery period, and that requires holding tight to long-term goals.
Right now, we’re all in the depths of managing our way through the COVID-19 human health emergency. We have, very quickly, adapted to unfamiliar scenes and behaviours. We accept limits on food and essential goods. Our infrastructure has taken on new forms – stadiums are police command hubs, schools are helping keep essential workers on the frontline. We aren’t seeing our family and our friends. We can’t leave our homes or our countries. In short, we are unified in survival mode.
When you’re focused on a task at hand – especially one as big as surviving a pandemic – it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. I believe the magnitude of what we are managing our way through will hit us when the dust settles, and life becomes familiar again. We will have learnings akin to post-war generations, stories we will tell for years, and our experiences will be written into the pages of history.
Albeit almighty in magnitude, we know this is a temporary disruption, and we know there will be an end – economies will re-open, we will find a way to contain the virus, and society will function once again. With that in mind, it’s imperative that the decisions we make today are focused on our long-term prospects, not simply our short-term survival.
In my view, your long-term goals shouldn’t fall by the wayside during a crisis, they should be front and centre. They are the north star that ensure you’re acting with reason, not with panic and with conviction, not fear.
Keeping your eyes firmly fixed on your financial goals is particularly important during a period when crowds are rushing for the exit. As many learnt in the post-GFC period, acting on panic in place of long-term thought is not a fruitful experience1. Our head of retirement, Darren Beesley, explained this well for (understandably) worried retirees. In a recent piece, he listed various ways retirees can consider pivoting to suit their retirement needs. However, his overall guidance is to pledge allegiance to a long-term strategy to effectively navigate through this period, and to make decisions on the basis of sound financial advice.
Above all, I firmly believe that your wellbeing is the foundational goal for all others, and that we are better operators at navigating our jobs and investments when our wellbeing is taken care of. I’m not alone in that thought, global academics like Ed Diener clearly link the wellbeing of a workforce with productivity and innovation2. With that in mind, keeping a focus firmly on physical and mental wellbeing is a critical part of reaching and thriving in the inevitably recovery period.
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