Jen Morilla, who calls herself a "mentor to entrepreneurs," has found that surviving tough times made her stronger both as a person and a business owner. And as the world now faces a pandemic, many people are looking for ways to cope with trying times as well.
Morilla, 31, also identifies as an "impact travel influencer" who inspires change around the world. She has traveled to 44 countries on six continents delivering water filters, building homes, and teaching locals about the importance of proper hygiene. "Now more than ever, this idea that we are all truly connected couldn't be more true," she says.
Her business, Jen Morilla LLC, which includes her and three employees, provides branding, content creation, and other services to clients that have included Skype, Google, and Samsonite. She also mentors entrepreneurs with their own businesses through workshops and online courses, and her blog The Social Girl Traveler has 40,000 followers worldwide.
The pandemic hits close to home: Both her parents and grandfather have been battling Covid-19. And Morilla is no stranger to family struggles. In 2010, her younger brother, Louis, unexpectedly died at the age of 19. Morilla says one of her main goals is to "inspire others, like my brother has inspired me to make moves and live a life you're damn proud of."
Here, she offers her top four tips on getting through challenging times.
Morilla says tough times are a reminder that life can get in the way of even the best laid plans. "It's a little knock from the universe and life that you aren't in control," she says.
Focusing on what you are grateful for can make a huge difference. "Start with the little things — like, maybe you're thankful for your bed sheets, your bed, your morning coffee, the food in your home, etc. And then go to the bigger things," she says.
It's particularly helpful to say what you are grateful for out loud: "It doesn't matter if you sound crazy. Just do it."
Recognizing what you are grateful for can drastically change your perspective, she says. "Remember, perspective is everything. You can be stuck at home or safe at home. What sounds better to you?"
When you are feeling overwhelmed, focusing your attention on something productive can help you cope. For Morilla, dealing with the tragedy of losing her brother prompted her to rethink what she wanted to do with her life. Ultimately, she decided to leave her corporate job to travel the world and start her own business.
Whether you want to launch a side hustle, change career paths, or just pick up a new hobby, these challenging times could be an opportunity to make changes and to learn, says Morilla.
"Now's the time to educate yourself with online courses, all the resources that you can get your hands on," she says.
Now is also a particularly good time for entrepreneurs to be "innovative." The work-from-home mandates have even large organizations considering ways to adapt, she says.
When you attempt to teach yourself skills, build a business from home, or simply are adjusting to working remotely for the first time, some days you won't be as productive as you like. That's OK. "Be kind to yourself," she says.
"You didn't accomplish goals and then you feel useless and worthless, and it's a dark, deep hole. I've been there. I've done that. Don't get into it," she warns in her YouTube video.
And don't forget to reach out to others when you need to. Even though your friends and co-workers aren't in the room with you, they can still be a valuable source of community, as well as a professional resource. "Utilizing your social network right now is really important. Not only to support each other but also to talk about this kind of stuff," says Morilla.
"You lost your job. You can't pay rent. You're sick. You know someone who's sick, someone in the hospital," she says. "Everyone goes through all these things at one point or another. It's just a matter of time. It seems so heavy right now because we are on the same playing field. Everyone is in this together."
Doing good deeds for others is often a great way to lift your spirits, says Morilla. Whether you have the means to donate money, time to make masks, or just time to speak to someone who needs it, it can improve your own outlook.
"When you start playing your part and doing it for humanity, you start to feel good about knowing that you can actually help someone else who needs something right now," she says. "Trust in that feeling."
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