NYC During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Peter Shankman: Running in Place in NYC During the COVID-19 Pandemic
How does one cope being cooped up in a high-rise apartment when you’re used to living every day at full tilt? The key is to stay active physically and mentally to hit the ground running when we’re cut loose. Peter Shankman, PR Superstar and all-around goal-crusher extraordinaire, has his infamous ADHD superpowers idling with purpose.
Shankman rose to the top of every chosen profession in NYC by harnessing his so-called impediment to work in his favor. Founder of the successful journalist/specialist resource website HARO, Shankman later sold it and moved on to PR for Fortune 500 companies, coaching, keynote speaking, book writing, and TedX Talks. Staying busy came naturally for him, so he harnessed his natural impulses to become a successful Jack-of-all-trades in the world’s toughest arena.
We decided to ask how he and fellow New Yorkers are coping with the lockdown.
HOW ARE YOU, YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES, ETC., DOING?
Well, here in Manhattan, life is not fun right now. New York is usually pretty crazy, but now it’s dead empty and eerily quiet. I’ve lost at least one friend I know.
But you know, I’m healthy and thank God that my daughter is healthy. We’re doing the best we can.
ARE YOU GOING OUT AT ALL?
I’m anchored to the park, so we go out but maintain a safe distance as much as we can in NYC. Mostly we’re staying home in our apartment building. When we take the elevator, we wait nearby until people walk off or take the next one, that type of thing.
HOW IS THE VIRUS AFFECTING YOUR LIFE AND BUSINESS? HOW ARE YOU COPING WITH EVERYTHING?
It’s hard to attend conferences when no conferences are happening right now. I had ten keynote speeches scheduled between March and the end of May, and they’ve all been canceled or postponed for at least a year from now. So, it’s not easy. But luckily, I have other revenue streams that sustain us during this time.
It breaks my heart, watching my daughter miss her friends. She can see them online but not at school.
Outside, the lack of traffic is strange. There are always ambulance sirens in New York, constantly. But with the lack of other traffic now you really notice them more.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OUR GOVERNMENT OR LEADERS?
Yes, that science is real, and you should listen to scientists because they know a lot more than you do.
WHAT ARE SOME WORDS OF WISDOM YOU WOULD GIVE OTHERS RIGHT NOW?
Well, it starts with ourselves. We can control how we feel about all this. You might be sad or scared, but you can control it. Take something as simple as exercising. I live in an apartment building, so I do FaceTime workouts with my trainer. Just the simple act of spending an hour doing pushups or walking up and down the stairs is good. Ten minutes of exercise will make you feel good; release a chemical in your brain. If nothing else, get up and walk around for 10 minutes a day, even if you can’t leave.
And turn off the news.
HOW DO YOU THINK THIS WILL IMPACT US AS WE MORE FORWARD? WHAT WILL LIFE BE LIKE WHEN WE GET THROUGH THIS?
The competencies of a $1.2 trillion Conference industry are not going away forever. And I think, in the past, I have already proven you can run a successful business working at home. I’m investing more right now in Amazon and Peloton, companies that provide delivery and logistics will do very well. I think we’re going to see a lot of investment in things that deliver so we can do more without ever leaving our houses.
But we’re not going to stop living as designed completely. The basic fundamentals of society will remain the same.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY? THE MARKETING INDUSTRY?
A lot of people think it’s going to take a hit because, in a money crunch, that might be the first thing you think to cut. It’s the last thing you should cut. After every great recession, dot.com bust, all of that, studies have shown that companies that keep marketing come out of it better. The worst thing you can do is stop marketing. Do it respectfully, but do not stop.
Shankman certainly hasn’t stopped planning for the future, and if there’s one constant we can rely on, it’s that he never will. Learn more about Peter Shankman, the PR Superstar on Throomers.com.