Every challenge carries with it the seed of tremendous opportunity.
We understand this intellectually.
But when we’re in the middle of a challenge, it’s not so easy to see.
When the pandemic hit, many of us found ourselves having to lead our children with their distance learning efforts.
We’ve had to do this in the midst of tight client deadlines.
And it all happened overnight.
While we can focus on the negatives of this scenario, we can also find positive aspects of our new schedules and responsibilities.
One beautiful example comes from my guest for today’s episode: Matt Brennan.
Matt is a busy copywriter who had to take charge of his seven-year old son’s schooling when classes were canceled in March.
What I love about his story is how Matt chose to view this challenging situation as a blessing rather than as a burden — and how he’s using this time to write a book to his son to make sense of this current reality.
Matt has inspired me to start capturing my thoughts and feelings about this historic event. And whether or not you choose to do something similar, I wanted to provide you a positive message in the middle of all the negativity.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.
Tell us about yourself and your business?
Matthew Brennan is a Chicago-area freelance copywriter and journalist. He works with small and medium-sized businesses, specializing in website content, blogging, landing pages, and other marketing content.
Like many of us, you’re now working from home while trying to help your child with schoolwork. How has that experience been so far??
Matt’s son, Jamie, is in the first grade. Jamie’s school moved to distance learning because of the pandemic.
Making this transition has been a struggle, but it’s also been an opportunity for Matt to play a more formative role in his child’s education. They’re also spending more time together.
It’s been challenging at times. But it’s also been a blessing.
What do your days look like now?
As a nurse, Matt’s wife is an essential worker. She’s working 10–hour shifts, four days a week, while Matt’s home with his son.
Matt starts work at 6:30 a.m. His son wakes 7:30. That morning hour is a sprint to get work done.
Later in the morning, Matt and Jamie work side by side. Jamie does school work, and Matt uses that time for email, invoicing and other tasks that don’t require complete attention.
By the afternoon, Jamie’s done his schoolwork and will read in his room or play on the tablet. He’s able to keep himself occupied for short stretches, which gives Matt small windows to get work done.
In addition, Matt can often dedicate one full day a week to work as well as the occasional weekend.
Assuming that your workload has stayed more or less the same, how are you managing to keep up with your work?
Think back to high school or college. People who were the busiest with sports, jobs or extracurricular activities often got better grades. They had to master their schedules. Every minute of every day counted.?
When you’re given strict time constraints, it’s amazing how much you can get done.
With this mindset, Matt is learning to use every free moment to focus in on his work. He can then give his son the attention he deserves.??
Constraints can be a beautiful thing. They force you to be creative and resourceful.
You recently published the book, The Virus and Us. Tell us more about that?
When the pandemic hit, it was a lot to process. Matt wanted to communicate a lot to his son, but he didn’t know how — especially given his son’s young age.
So Matt wrote a letter for his son to read at a later date.
The letter helped Matt put his thoughts in order about their shared experience. It also puts the current situation in a societal and historical context.
What insights you can share with us?
For many families, quarantining together bring them together. But in this case, Jamie’s mom is providing essential services to others outside of the home. Matt wanted to instill in his son a healthy respect and admiration for what his mom does as a nurse.
Several years ago, Matt was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which motivated him to maintain a healthier lifestyle. He talks about some of the changes he’s made and how they’re helping him cope with the pandemic.
He tries to give Jamie a wider context to understand why each day looks the way it does.
This time has forced Matt to take breaks and spend time with Jamie that he might not have done before. They have Nerf gun fights, take walks and have random conversations. Matt treasures this time together.
When did you decide to develop your letter into a book?
Matt came to see that much of what he wanted to say was universal. Many families are finding themselves in similar situations — and they may benefit from Matt’s experience.
Any advice for those who are inspired to do something similar?
Don’t pressure yourself to come up with anything special. Just sit, write and see what comes out. Think about the current situation from your child’s perspective. How do you want him/her to think about this time years from now?
We’re all living history. People will be studying this for decades. We all have a unique opportunity to put our thoughts together while we’re in the middle of it.
Where can listeners learn more about you??
The Virus and Us: A Letter from Father to Son in the Midst of the Pandemic.??
The book is also available on Amazon?
Matthew’s website: Matthewbrennancopywriter.com?
Plus … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.
I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster. — Click Here
3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories). Just email me at [email protected] and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
4. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Email me at [email protected] … put “Breakthrough” in the subject line and I’ll get back to you with more details.