Who do you want to be when this is over?

KLR notes #coronavirus

KLR notes #coronavirus

Okay so, the world has gone a bit mad. I had some fears too, and they’ve gone up and down a bit as shown by this handy graph. 

Here’s the things I’ve been telling myself, my team, and pretty much anyone I ended up talking to this week about the coronavirus (so, everyone).

  • On levels of fear: There are two wild ranges (zombie apocalypse vs everything-is-fine), and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Right now we’re not quite sure which side it leans towards, but hey, when it comes to health better safe than sorry. If everyone says “see, there were hardly any deaths” after this is over, then it sounds like we did the right thing.
  • Introversion will save you: The current advice to avoid the zombie apocalypse is to stay in your homes, work from home, avoid crowds and social gatherings, and keep to yourself. INTROVERTS, THIS IS OUR TIME. WE’VE TRAINED FOR THIS. (Seriously, I’m so good at this stuff. I’m going to have to work to go outside a few times to get fresh air.)
  • Toilet roll, people? Really??? I literally know not one single person who has been truly panic buying toilet roll. I don’t even know someone personally who knows someone who has been doing this…and yet there is none on the shelves in some places. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE????
  • Share hope. Everyone is sharing pictures of empty shelves…but there are loads of shops with full shelves. Let’s share those, too. I admit I shared a few empty shelves photos myself, and then realised i was in a shop with TONS of full shelves. And i hadn’t shared those. Although people are buying stuff up, it’s getting restocked.
  • The #howsYOURday? question: It’s more important than ever. Ask your neighbour, your client, your friend, your gran, the incredibly strong person working at the Aldi’s till (seriously, these people have had hard lives lately). Listen. Sympathise. Laugh. #howsYOURday?
  • Laughter is good like a medicine. There’s a lot of fear, but laughter helps drive out fear. Watch funny videos, share stories, tell jokes. Tell really stupid jokes, with your kids. They’ll love it.
  • Working from home is good, but you may struggle with it. I’ve been doing this for over 8 years, and there is a completely different approach needed if you’ve been used to working in an office. If you haven’t been doing it daily already, you are going to struggle after a few days or a few weeks. I’ve written a separate blog about remote working a few months ago, because that’s all we do in my company, but it’s not about simply moving your work to a different location. You have to make an extra effort right now to stay connected with the other people you work with, whilst also being willing to ‘go dark’ for a few hours or a day and get real deep work done. (I’m reading the book “Deep Work” right now and it is intense. Now is the time for that kind of work!) If anyone reading this needs a little encouragement or help or tips on working from home, drop me a line.
  • “This too shall pass.” Remember the story of the king who asked all his advisors for a piece of advice that would serve him in good stead no matter what happened – in the best of times and the worst of times? And this is what they gave him: “This, too, shall pass.” We will get through it – there will be some hard things and some good things, and I believe life will not settle in exactly as the same it was before. We will value things differently, we will think about remote working and events and gatherings differently, and there will be some core changes to business and life (rather like after 9-11 or other emergencies) which will bring good out of a hard situation.

But mostly…

  • Who do you want to be when this is over? Once things settle in and we figure out how to test and treat it, and we go back to “normal” (FYI: i believe it will be a new normal, and life won’t quite be the same again, but i trust in a good way)…once that happens, what will you be glad you did? What things did you say and do you’ll be proud of? How did you work on your business and use the time well while everyone is quiet in their homes? What did you learn? Did you read books and spend time with the family and think and pray and cook creative meals with whatever food you had? I ask this of myself, too. I admit to spending a little too much time on twitter and getting all stirred up…. and it makes me really grateful for small habits I’ve been working on, like not checking my phone first thing in the morning. And taking Sundays completely off social media. And using Mondays as a quiet day with no meetings. And being off Netflix and reading books instead. Those are things I put into place a long time ago, or even recently, and I can see now how powerful they are. (Honesty check: I still check my phone first thing in the morning. That one’s the hardest for me.) The same is true for those of you owning businesses. What online systems or apps have you put off setting up? What blogs have you not written, videos not recorded, because you “didn’t have time”? Well now you have almost literally ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (minus a little more time with your children than you had before, i do get that). How will you use that time?

So…what do you want to use your extra time for? What will you be glad you’ve done once this passes?


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Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon
Oh hey, it’s me. 

And a new updated KLR brand and website! 

For the past six months or so, while I was finishing my book content and the final edits from my side, we have also been working on an updated KLR brand and website, to distinguish from the PF brand and site. 

It’s a tough job, when you’re the business owner and have been for ten years. And the book you’ve written is for the kind of clients your business serves, so it feels like a PF project.

But I’ve also been working for years to figure out (and help others see) that PF is far more than me. I’m the owner and MD, and I’m involved in sales and speaking and writing, and yet our clients primarily work with the team. There are 18 beautiful humans delivering great creative work every day from PF (soon to be 19!) and as I always say to potential clients, you definitely want all of them working on your creative projects. They’re structured and organised and talented - 19x more talented than just me. 

I’ve still got my own skills. And my own identity. It took us weeks to dig into how we represent “Karen L Reyburn” as a personal brand, with an audience of clients and friends and accountants and non-accountants and witches and wizards and family members and creative humans. 

We settled on “Leader, writer, creative, coach”, because those are the areas I love the most and want to lean into more as PF grows. And as I write more books and keep being my own self. 

If you’d like to be on the list to get “Karen’s notes” by email every Saturday, or to be on the waiting list for the book (coming May 2023), the link is in my bio. 

And I’d love for you to head over to my new site (karenlreyburn.com) and let me know what you love or anything you notice and wonder about! 

Stay strong, stay creative, and keep going. 

#karensnotes #staycreative #justkeepgoing