What an incredibly strange world we live in currently. While it is true that among public health officials and epidemiologists the dangers of a pandemic have long been feared, who amongst the general population might have predicted one year ago that getting a haircut wouldn’t be possible?
Or sitting at a favorite pub with friends for a cold beer would be nothing but a wish? Or being told that venturing out in public without a face mask could result in your own arrest? As the history book is currently being written, I have to say whoever is working on the chapters about this year had better be very detail oriented. There is a ton of color to this pandemic story which absolutely must never be left out.
Currently upon writing this article we have radically altered our familiar ways of enjoying life—virtually giving them up overnight—and without having any say. We are operating in a closed society, only pausing briefly to go out for necessary supplies. In doing so, a new six-foot distancing initiative has become the rule; we are told which way to walk as we shop in our food stores, how much of an item we are limited to purchasing, and in some respects even made to feel as though each of us is somehow capable of contaminating the entire population. Because we are. Strange times indeed. And, it is a similar dance all over the world.
For me it feels almost as though I am the next actor in an updated version of the movie “Groundhog Day.” Somehow when I awake each morning and place my feet upon the floor, I already know how the new day is going to play out. One simply needs to remember the previous one to find the answers to that question. For days, weeks and months we have been living in this strange new bubble.
Perhaps for some it is a brave new world; for most it is anything but. Life today, it seems, is certainly comprised of a lot of angst, fear, and inner turmoil within the masses. This is an adversity like none other, the likes of which have never been experienced, outside of a fictionalized portrayal unfolding upon a movie screen viewed by patrons while eating hot buttered popcorn in comfort—itself a now suspended treat. It is uneasy and unfamiliar in terms of identity, unparalleled, and fatefully unyielding. From a guy who wrote a book on facing adversity, this one has taught me new life lessons, as well. Look around you. It only takes a moment to see fear and panic out there. If these unsettling times have awakened us to one actualization, it has to be the reality that most people do not handle adversity well. One only needs to scroll through social media to validate my statement. People are absolutely unprepared and totally out of their comfort zone.Many folks have spent the majority of their lives in denial to the reality that adversity strikes everyone at some point. I can say unequivocally this one is absolutely crippling them. As empathetic human beings, we must remind ourselves “we are all in this together.” And then follow up with kind actions to support one another during this crisis. We will get through this.
“Are you truly going to be ready, and are you fully repositioned to get a share of the market when it does? If not, why?“
Businesses have been impacted at levels never contemplated or realized. What we may previously have taken for granted, has all but become a distant wish for more of the same. Our mortgages, utility payments, and overall personal and business debts have offered us countless sleepless evenings, too. Where is the next dollar going to come from and when is it going to happen? If I had the answers, I would gladly offer them up to each of you. I can only share my words as a means of comfort right now.
There is no question that a lot of businesses have been forced to reexamine their current positioning, pricing models, and strategic planning initiatives due to this incredible event. Sure, it may not have been on your terms, but eventually business diligence would have demanded it occur anyway. Perhaps use this time to rethink your current practices, and to formulate your action plans for re-entering the marketplace as lockdowns and restrictions ebb and flow with the demands of public health and the pandemic itself. Consider a new vision, a new platform, product, good or service to complement and strengthen your existing model. As a business owner, make something good come from all of this pain, no matter how grand or how minor it may be. Rewrite your own tomorrow.
I believe the economy is going to surge back in a huge way. Now is the time for making changes and for adaptation. Soon too, the time will come to seize those new opportunities born from your current diligence. Are you truly going to be ready, and are you fully repositioned to get a share of the market when it does? If not, why?
Change is in the air; it has already proven itself to each of us in some way. As a business owner, facing adversity is part of the game. You have two choices, either succumb to it or rise above it and become stronger. Amidst this economic stress and mess, why not consider what the top of the mountain might look like and draft a blueprint of how you are going to get there when it reopens for each of us—just imagine the view!
I do understand none of this offers any immediate remedy to paying the bills, nor does it provide comfort for your families or even for your staff. One thing these unsettling times can deliver however, is the gift of perspective. No pandemic can ever take that away from any of us. The one true realization I have come to greater appreciate from this adversity is my health and my family. Two riches so valuable, everything else pales to compare.
Sure, our daily life may be turned upside down, and as business owners we have been crippled. As husbands, wives, sons, daughters, parents, friends, and empathetic human beings, we are all much richer today than we were before this global pandemic struck all of us. Simply look around the dinner table. For many of us, something so simple hasn’t happened in such a long time. Only recently have we rediscovered our fragile humanity. This alone should be your reward—a byproduct of Covid-19 you could call “renewed perspective.”
Sure, business as we know it has all but come to a standstill. Like the ocean tide and the sun setting, it too will return. It too will thrive, and it too will become the growth engine
our economies shall need to pull through this period of uncertainty—both socially and economically. We know not yet whether to definitively call it a recession or worse, a depression.
At an individual level we all need to take a step back, compartmentalize, and breathe a little bit. One thing is absolutely certain, tomorrow is another day. The sun will come up, the sun will warm us, and the oceans will continue to ebb and flow. Every new morning brings with it a renewed sense of optimism for a brighter tomorrow. I can assure each of you with full conviction we’ve got this.
Stay strong, stay safe, and stay positive.
Aric Morrison's new book “Adversity Rockstar” is available today on Amazon or visit: adversityrockstar.com.