How to keep perspective in difficult times


I know that things are getting messy out there: that many of you are fighting for the survival of your businesses, that many of you are dealing with the challenges of working remotely for the first time or leading a team from a distance, and that many of you are now parenting full time while you work from home.

None of these are easy transitions to make, let alone the fact that they were made almost overnight. You, like me, are entrepreneurs and business owners and, to survive, we are having to pivot, to reinvent, and quickly too. This is not a rehearsal. There are no dry runs. This is all happening in real-time. To lead our businesses through this Covid-19 pandemic, we have to keep perspective and an open mind.

Here is a practical exercise that I believe will help you enormously to keep perspective. It might even surprise you too. It’s part of the Collateral Repair Process© I developed while I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, loss and trauma after the murder of my husband just over two years ago. The picture of my family was broken just as our collective picture of reality today has been broken by the global impact of this virus. Covid-19 is what I call a life quake. Life quakes can bury us as victims or plant us like seeds.

We need to identify all the Collateral Damage and acknowledge it. Some of it is very serious and will have long-term consequences to your business, your family and your mental, physical, emotional and financial health, I know. The feelings that go with it are also very real and should not be suppressed. However, if you get stuck in Collateral Damage, you will become frozen in fear, anger, frustration, irritation, despair and so much more. There will be no room for growth and reinvention. So, go there, but don’t get stuck there!

To actively balance this out, I urge you to look at the Collateral Beauty too. Anything you can think of that is positive or potentially good that could come out of or has already come out of, this Covid-19 Lockdown situation for you. This is where growth, opportunity and hope live. I promise.

You can do this exercise for your business, and you can do it for your family.

The exercise: Collateral Damage vs Collateral Beauty

✔️ Take an A4 piece of paper and fold it in half vertically or draw a line down the middle

✔️ In the left-hand column write a heading: Collateral Damage

✔️ In the right-hand column write a heading: Collateral Beauty

✔️ First, start writing in the Collateral Damage column – literally stream of consciousness writing – do not judge or critique, just write, vent if you will

✔️ When you run out of steam, switch to the Collateral Beauty column and see how much you can find to capture here

You may be as surprised as me. Every time I do this exercise over any issue at all, I always find that my Collateral Beauty column is usually twice as long, or more, than Collateral Damage! That’s why it helps you to regain perspective when you find yourself falling into a dark hole.

That’s how this exercise is going to help you find and keep perspective.

Takeaways for Winning at Home and Life

✔️ I challenge you to do the Collateral Damage vs Collateral Beauty exercise as soon as possible for yourself.

✔️ Then, if you are a couple, do it together.

✔️ After that, if you are a family, do it as a group exercise.

✔️ Revisit and add to both lists on a weekly basis 

Takeaways for Winning at Work 

✔️ If you are a business or entrepreneur, do the Collateral Damage vs Collateral Beauty exercise with your management team about the business.

✔️ After that, you can do it with your team/teams within the business.

✔️ Revisit and add to both lists on a weekly basis 

Make sure that you keep talking to people beyond those in your own household at this time, particularly if things are looking bleak emotionally or financially, and you feel you are not coping. Talking helps. 

Use a therapist or a coach (online of course) if need be, to help you work through big decisions. Most of the time, I find we actually know what we need to do but by verbalising it to someone else we talk ourselves forward, finding our way. Bouncing ideas and decisions around with others is invaluable. Don’t let shame, anger or embarrassment get in your way. We all need cheerleaders! 

From the Collateral Beauty column will come your new goals, projects and even new ways of showing up, of ‘being’ in the world, with yourself and each other, at home and at work. There will be new ways to do business and innovate. Your Collateral Beauty list is your personal narrative to inform the way you are going to move forward, how you are going to re-frame this Covid-19 experience and how you are going to keep the flame of hope alive.

It is proof that there is hope and there is a future. All is not lost. But it will be different.

Pull yourself out of shock now! Move into the present to find perspective at this overwhelming time. Yes, we have never been here before. The Collateral Repair Process© is the beginning of your roadmap into the future – for your business and your family.

Much love and keep safe.


Human Potential and Parenting Expert helping you to win @ work and life

Nikki Bush is an expert at empowering individuals and teams to win at work, home and life. She has the knack of putting difficult, complex and sensitive topics on the table (ones we often prefer to avoid), and making them accessible, such as disruption, death, loss, team dynamics, sexuality education and your kids, money, parenting and so much more.  You may have seen or heard her weekly slots on Radio 702 and  SABC3’s Expresso.

Nikki has written four best-selling parenting books with major publishers, including her latest, Future-proof Your Child for the 2020s and Beyond, and she has fielded over 2 500 media interviews in the past 12 years. Nikki always speaks with passion, packs a powerful sound bite, provides valuable insights and will leave you with practical solutions to help you win at work and life.

For more information and a full length bio, visit

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