I’m Scared. Which Is Why I’m Choosing to Play Offense.

I think we’re all a little bit scared right now. I know I am.

I have three daughters who are 4, 3, and 6 months old. I don’t care what the statistics say about kids being largely immune to the effects of the coronavirus, as a dad it still scares me to imagine them getting sick.

I’m also scared for all the folks who are far less fortunate and prepared for this than I am: people who don’t have access to good information about what’s going on; people who don’t have steady work or income; people who don’t have the resources to prepare as well as they could.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event with major repercussions we’ve only just begun to feel—from the medical to the financial to the political.

So yeah, of course I’m scared!

Here’s another, smaller way I’ve been scared over the past few weeks:  I’ve been scared to push ahead with a big project for my website.

A few weeks ago, I was all set to launch a very big project. I was super excited—almost giddy with anticipation. It was something I had been thinking about for over a year and something I’d been working on steadily over the past few months.

Then, the coronavirus hit.

Immediately, my mind got swamped with worries and insecurities (yes, psychologists worry too!)

  • You can’t release a big project now. People are scared, they’re worried, and they don’t have the attention or interest for a new project.
  • People are going to think I’m callous or uncaring for launching a something while there’s so much fear, suffering, and uncertainty going on right now. I don’t want to be that guy who looks like he’s trying to profit in times of hardship.
  • Just keep your head down for now. Hopefully, things will get better soon and then you can announce this project later.

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been going back and forth on this. And, if I’m honest, I had all but decided to freeze everything and take the head down approach.

And then I saw something that inspired me. A guy named Bryan Harris  said this in on Twitter recently:

2 ways you can act today as a business owner: Which do you choose?

1: Offense. Attack. New angles. Rally team. Have best 8 weeks ever. Double ad spend. Book 100 new partnerships. Kill stuff and bring it home. ATTACK!

2: Defense. Save. Layoff. Cut ads. Scared. Hope and pray.

While the imagery is a bit much for my taste, it’s the spirit behind the message that really moved me:

When faced with a threat, our tendency is to either run or freeze—often getting stuck in the paralysis of uncertainty. This is typically what happens any time the stock market crashes. It’s often what happens when people get laid off from a job or find themselves on the other side of a divorce. And it’s the way I found myself reacting in response to the coronavirus and the plans I had for my website and the work I love so much.

What Bryan reminded me of was that there’s another way: We can fight. We can face up to the challenges in front of us courageously, proactively, and rationally. We can refuse to roll over and sit around fretting, imagining the worst, or merely hoping for something better. And instead, we can ask ourselves:

  • How can I be useful or helpful in a difficult time?
  • How can I grow and become better in the face of challenge and uncertainty?
  • Even though every bone in my body is telling me to shrink back and play defense, can I redouble my efforts and go on the offensive?

This is a powerful mindset shift I think we should all consider.

Of course, playing offense and going on the attack doesn’t mean being naive. We should all be taking appropriate precautions for the very real dangers we face, including adhering to recommended techniques like social distancing and quarantining when appropriate.

I’m talking about how we choose to act within those confines.

Playing offense means meeting our challenges head on, proactively, and with courage. It means continuing to live and grow as best we can despite our current constraints and difficulties.

I’ve decided to ask this question of myself seriously and I’d encourage you to do the same: How can I play offense? 

  • Instead of sitting glued to the TV or your Facebook feed, what if you dusted off that old guitar in the closet and started playing again? Or started working on that novel you keep telling yourself you’re going to write?
  • Instead of rehashing all your anxieties over and over again on the phone with a friend, ask if they want to be an accountability buddy for your new in-home exercise regimen or yoga routine.
  • Don’t have time or energy to take up a new activity because you’re trying to work from home and watch your kids now that school and daycare have been cancelled? Seems like a good opportunity to work on being more patient with your kids (and probably, yourself).

Personal growth isn’t just for the good times. I believe we’re called to be our best selves all the time, but especially during challenging times.

Let’s be proactive and courageous instead of reactive and timid. Let’s see if we can use this challenge not just to survive but to thrive.

Here’s what playing offense and choosing to thrive looks like for me: I’m going to announce and launch the project I’ve been working on instead of putting it on the back burner out of fear.

I have no idea what’s going to happen. It could crash and burn because no one’s interested. People could hate it for all sorts of reasons I haven’t even considered. Maybe people will be totally indifferent to it. But all of that’s okay.

As a therapist, I spend hours and hours every day trying to help my clients become stronger in the face of adversity. My job is to help people build courage in the face of anxiety and insecurities—to push themselves and challenge themselves to be better even though it’s hard or scary or even painful.

I can’t very well talk the talk if I’m not willing to walk the walk.

So, here’s the plan: I’m starting a membership community for NickWignall.com called Growth Club.

What’s a membership community?

In a nutshell, it’s a way for my readers to support me and my work and also get access to extra content and material I’ve created related to personal growth, mental health, and wellbeing. Specifically, Growth Club members will get:

  • Audio Versions of Weekly Articles. Don’t have time to sit down and read my weekly articles? No problem. Members can listen to them anytime—on your commute, folding laundry, working out, whatever works for you.
  • The Secret Pod. A private podcast where I share quick tips for wellbeing and personal growth, mini book reviews, answer reader questions, and more.
  • Nick’s Picks. Once a week, I’ll send you an email with links to my favorite things I read, watched, or listened to that week—most of them in the areas of psychology, wellness, and personal growth.
  • Virtual Masterclasses. Deep-dive training sessions on a specific topic in emotional health and self-improvement. You’ll be able to watch these training sessions live and ask me questions and interact in real-time.
  • Discounts & Early Access. Growth Club members get sneak peeks, early access, and the opportunity to provide input and feedback on new projects like upcoming courses and books plus discounts.

How much will it cost?

$9 per month. I want to price it as affordably as possible while also accounting for the extra time it will take me each week to produce and manage things.

Sounds awesome! How do I sign up?

Head over to the Growth Club page →


In the past couple weeks, I’ve gone from incredibly excited to seriously disappointed and now I’m starting to get back some of that fire and enthusiasm.

It feels good just writing this and committing to putting it out there. I feel confident. I feel more in control. And in a time clouded by so much fear and helplessness, that feels really good.

Part of my hope for Growth Club is that it will be a powerful way for you to take action on your own personal growth goals, aspirations, and wellbeing—especially during challenging times like these. And if you resonate with Bryan’s idea of not rolling over when things are tough, and instead want to look at this challenge as an opportunity to grow and build and thrive, I think you’ll really enjoy it.

If you think Growth Club is something you’d be interested in, you can learn more here →

Of course, I understand that right now things are quite tough for some of us financially. So if it doesn’t make sense for you right now, that’s fine. I plan to be doing this for a while and you can join any time.

And even if you have zero interest in the community, I hope you walk away from this article with a shift in perspective. If you aren’t already, I hope you can think a little differently about how you will choose to respond to what is possibly one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime:

Are you going to play defense or offense? Are you going to merely survive, or make the choice to thrive?

Be smart. Be responsible. But don’t forget to be bold too.


24 Comments

Sheryle March 30, 2020 Reply

Nick, way to go for having the courage and vulnerability to move forward in uncertain times. You can’t encourage readers to live to their best selves if you don’t. I’m in!

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Thank you, Sheryle 🙂

Brenda Finne March 30, 2020 Reply

Nick, thank you so much for sharing your honesty and courage. I’ve learned so much these past few weeks from your articles, etc. I will join but will have to be at a future date.

“Courage is like a muscle. It strengthens with use.”-Ruth Gordon, Actress

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Thank you, Brenda. Great quote, btw!

Allison Higgins March 30, 2020 Reply

Have I told you I love you? Lol. Your Monday articles are just always what I need at always the right time. My routine has gone completely out of wack in the last couple weeks since COVID-19 reached Jamaica and I have felt just utterly lazy and unmotivated. I only go into the office twice a week now and basically have nothing to do, however I’ve not been using the time wisely. So, today, I’ve carried my High Performance Planner again and I’m going to start mapping out my days again – whether I come in to work or not. Really can’t afford to waste time if I think about it.

I applaud you for getting back on track with your project. It sounds great and I’m excited to see it activated. You’re an inspiration. Continue to fight the good fight. Be safe.

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Good for you, Allison!

Ester Pereira March 30, 2020 Reply

Nick,
Congratulations and thank you for helping me put perspective and action into my day.
Good luck, I am in

Ester pereira

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

You’re welcome, Ester!

Hrvoje March 30, 2020 Reply

Hi Nick, this is a really great initiative. I learned a lot from you, appreciate your work and look forward to joining the club.
I fully agree that we should choose a different, more empowering strategy to manage COVID19 challenge – instead of feeling hopeless, weak and passive, to take an active approach and do the best we can to support our physical and emotional health and become stronger and more resilient.
I believe your Club can help with this 🙂
And don’t worry about the price, it’s about making a decision to switch 9$ from purchasing an additional pack of toilet paper (or other silly stuff people are stocking-up :)) to something that can really make a difference in this shitty situation:)

Good luck, take care and continue the great work!

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Thanks for the encouragement, Hrvoje! Much appreciated 🙂

Haanim March 30, 2020 Reply

I just admire your bravery to be vulnerable….above all else…..this is love.

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Thank you, Haanim 🙂

Katie March 30, 2020 Reply

Just what l needed to hear! Your words and mindset are so inspiring at this uncertain time. Go for it Nick.! You will have an army of supporters with you every step of the way.

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Ah, thank you Katie 🙂

Craig Matthews March 30, 2020 Reply

Very timely post Nick. Resonates with me as I explore new avenues for my EQ consulting in the face of cancelled and post-poned contracts.
Best wishes on the offensive strategy!

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Thanks, Craig! Best of luck to you as well!

Becky March 30, 2020 Reply

You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! I was working on the website for my business before all this started and I went into fear mode. Thankfully, my business partner has continuously reminded me that we need to keep moving forward. We have people that count on us and we want to be able to help as much as possible when all of this is over. Also, I think seeing other people move forward with “normal” activities gives the rest of us that are acting in fear a sense of peace. One of my neighbors had a crew out last week to mulch and plant flowers. It is something that happens frequently in my neighborhood during this time of year but I have not seen any of that happening lately. While everyone else has cut back on everything out of fear, I was so relieved to see the crew working. It made me realize that people do have hope and are moving forward with life in the face of serious challenges. Thank you for sharing and for reminding us to play offense. And congratulations on the launch! I will definitely be signing up for Growth Club.

Nick Wignall March 30, 2020 Reply

Yes! Onward!

Thanks, Becky!

Bill March 30, 2020 Reply

Thanks Nick, sounds like a wonderful idea. As a born semi-sceptic (are people really born with a predisposition toward perceiving the world in a particular way?) I hope it works for you as well as you intend. Having found that you are one of two, out of about a bazillion writers in Medium.com whose ideas and articles about depression resonate with me and which I have found to be truly helpful for myself (two of my favorites are “What if Everything We Know About Fighting Depression Is Wrong” and “Rethinking the Battle Against Depression”), I am going to sign up for your new on-line initiative … something I have never done before on any website. So I’m going to be putting my FAITH in what you preach because … after 55 years, you and a (relatively new) personal friend, are the only 2 people whose words have been truly helpful for me – sometimes. So here goes… 🙂

Nick Wignall March 31, 2020 Reply

Thank you, Bill! Really appreciate that. —Nick

Wek March 31, 2020 Reply

Hi Nick. Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerabilities with us.
And thank you again so much for all your work. I would love to join your community.
Love from France.

Nick Wignall March 31, 2020 Reply

Thanks, Wek! Glad you’re interested!

Amanda LaRose March 31, 2020 Reply

Ha. Your message couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Honest to you know who, I had the same thing happen to me in my business!
I had just finished working with a Business Strategic Planner on taking my current business to the next step, and like you I was excited about it. Then boom…we all know the rest.
I agree with Bryan but I am also well aware that this can take finesse and compassion to not come across as you feared originally.
I couldn’t agree more that it is just as good a time as any to get to the things that make us tick!
Thanks for sharing

Nick Wignall March 31, 2020 Reply

Thanks Amanda! Comforting to hear that others are going through the same struggle.

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