[Written by Steve Pavlina, published here with his encouragement]

To my influencer and marketer friends:

This is not remotely a “business as usual” situation. Please open your eyes to what’s happening. But more importantly, please open your heart to what’s about to happen.

This isn’t a time to be working on your launches. This isn’t a time to work on your campaigns. The focus on business needs to be put on hold right now. We all have something much more important to work on right now.

We have the leverage to greatly reduce a tremendous amount of suffering and loss of life that’s about to unfold.

That this will happen is unfortunately inevitable, but we can absolutely have a meaningful impact in reducing it.

And if there are any marketing and influencing challenges that are worth the committed application of the very best of our skills, this is such a challenge.

The seriousness of our collective situation is going to intensify in the coming weeks – way more dramatically than it already has.

By the end of the month, many more hospitals across Europe and the USA will be where Northern Italy is – overwhelmed and with doctors and nurses dying from the disease too. Hospitals in the USA are already preparing for this by adding tents in parking lots. It’s a race against time, and we have much less time than most people realize. Seattle is already showing us a glimpse of what will soon hit many other cities.

This won’t simply blow over in a couple of weeks. We’re talking months, including the inevitability of 2+ months of full lockdown, which will almost certainly begin by the end of this month.

The best thing you can do now is share the critical importance of social distancing to reduce the spread of the disease, which has a long, silent incubation period.

If you do that, you can save a lot of lives.

What if your launches and products are beneficial to people? Of course they are. But consider the opportunity cost of what you could be doing right now instead if you shift your focus into life-saving mode.

I can certainly claim that my work benefits people too, and it surely does, but I think I can be of greater service right now if I respond to the tremendous opportunity of taking direct action to help lower the disease progression in whatever way I can.

One way where I may be able to exert some leverage is to invite more people to join me in helping to get the word out about just how critical it is for all of us to shift gears right now.

Every day that you work on your usual business instead of promoting the critical importance of social distancing is another day you could have saved lives and reduced suffering. Every day you delay is a missed opportunity for you to truly step up, not merely with personal ambition but with caring, compassion, and courage as well.

This is an extraordinary time for you to take your best expression of ambition and get it aligned with your best expression of caring. This is an invitation for us to collectively change the world in a way that really matters to a lot of people, especially those who will be hit hardest by this disease in the weeks and months ahead.

Where else are you going to encounter such an extraordinary opportunity to do the most meaningful work of your life?

Don’t worry about perfection. Speed of messaging is way more important than elegance right now. Just get the word out as fast as you can. Even if all you do is tell people to stay the fuck home or share the hashtag #staythefuckhome, that will help. Just start with one Tweet. Please.

Don’t worry about being judged or criticized for being an alarmist. By the end of the month, it will be obvious that you did the right thing. You’ll probably wish you’d acted sooner and more powerfully. I already feel that way now.

Please put normal business on hold.

Please use your marketing and influencing skills to save lives right now. Every day counts. It doesn’t matter how big your reach is.

Even if you’re just starting a new YouTube channel and only have a few viewers, please get the word out. That’s just as honorable a deed as for those who may reach millions.

Once we’re on full lockdown and people are no longer still going out risking other people’s lives, then maybe it will be an okay time to think about business again. But there’s a good chance your priorities will shift too as the body count continues to rise. Will you still care about business in the same way when people you know start having breathing difficulties, and they’re scared to go to an overcrowded nearby hospital with an exhausted staff and no more beds or ventilators available?

It hurts my heart to see marketer friends brainstorming and pondering the money-making opportunities that may come from everyone being stuck at home, salivating over that captive audience. I can understand that mindset, but I can’t pretend it’s okay. I realize that I must personally do something about that… and encourage others to help us change course as well.

At this time it’s just not okay to be blogging and emailing and tweeting and advertising as if we’re still in business as usual.

It’s downright wicked to do such things right now because you’re encouraging others to engage in denial about what’s happening.

We need to do the opposite of that. We absolutely must be sounding the alarm to wake more people up to what’s happening. We must do our best to turn the ship of ignorance and denial towards saving lives and reducing suffering.

Years from now when you look back on these days, do you really think you’ll reflect upon how brilliant you were for capturing those extra sales while people were getting sick and dying? Will you feel proud of yourself for your pandemic launches and marketing campaigns?

If you promote stuff that comforts people, that’s great – but save it for later once we’re all under lockdown. Our priorities right now should be to get people to stop silently spreading the disease and to push towards full lockdown to the extent that we can influence that too.

It’s your business and your decision of course. Just please take a peek into your heart and see what it wants to do about this situation. If your current business activities still feel very aligned and if what I’m sharing here doesn’t change anything for you, that’s fine. You have nothing to defend.

While I normally feel very aligned with my business and it’s very flexible anyway, I’m stretching it to go where it needs to go right now in order to push it to be of more service than usual. I’m not willing to be haunted for the rest of my life by the knowledge that I could have tried harder to save lives and reduce suffering – and didn’t. Are you willing to go that route?

This is one of the most extreme times you’ll ever live through.

Who do you want to be in this situation? A decade from now, how will you wish you’d responded?

For Everyone

If you see anyone doing “business as usual” posts, videos, promotions, launches, and ads that don’t seem to be helping with the current situation, please actively encourage – no, implore – them to stop immediately and shift gears to save lives and reduce suffering.

Immediately reply to their emails as soon as you receive them. Comment on their posts, videos, and ads right away. Call them out on their Facebook Lives and webinars. Tell them to please focus on saving lives instead of trying to do anything less important right now. Be gentle but please be firm too. And be brave.

Please don’t shame anyone. Please invite them to step up to serve a greater need.

Realize that if you can influence EVEN ONE more marketer or influencer to help spread the word about practicing social distancing JUST ONE DAY EARLIER than they otherwise would, you’re saving lives too.

You do that, and you’re my hero.

Here are some further resources to help, both for your own education and for further re-sharing:

  • Coronavirus stats – This page shows frequently updated virus stats for all countries, so you can see at a glance what’s happening. Also follow some of the links for deeper stats and data.
  • Stay the Fuck Home – This is a good page for referring people. It shows simple actions to be taken immediately and handle multiple translations for different languages.
  • Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now – Tomas Pueyo’s powerfully persuasive piece with lots of math-based reasoning, charts, and graphs (more than 28M views in the past week). I’ve been sharing this one a lot and feel grateful for Tomas’ efforts.
  • Jason Warner’s Facebook post – A solid math-based post to help persuade people of the importance of changing behaviors immediately. Please reshare this on Facebook. I did, as did 119K other people so far.
  • Messages from Italy – This is a short YouTube video of Italians under lockdown sharing what they wished they’d known 10 days earlier.

Note that this blog post is uncopyrighted and donated to the public domain. So you’re free to republish, translate, or modify it… no need to ask. Just get the word out that we need to change our behaviors immediately to save lives and reduce suffering.

Please care.