We are defined by difficult moments in life. Our response to adversity is the pivot point in life. We can pivot to bitterness, or we can pivot to betterment. It is our choice. Like many others, I watched my eighteen-year business lose ninety-five percent of its revenue in less than a month. I felt helpless to make a difference. I felt trapped by frustration. I was pissed off. I was sad.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill
Our emotional response during difficult times is normal. We are all grieving the normalcy we remember only weeks ago. We can wallow in the muck or we can look to the future. We can use difficulty to make ourselves and our businesses better. We can face this virus like a time-released opportunity to reset success. Failure (caused by this pandemic) is never permanent. We can choose to rise above this reality and be better. We can choose growth. We can win.
Every experience in life is a lesson. The pandemic is imposing expensive tuition on us personally and professionally. We can reset our lives and begin again, more intelligently. Failure is our teacher, not our undertaker. We are in pause. This is a detour, not a dead end. We are being rerouted to something better. I have confidence in the entrepreneurial mind and spirit. We cannot allow past success to get to our head any more than we can allow temporary failure to get to our heart.
We are in a period of darkness that obscures the light in our lives. The light remains if we choose to see it and welcome it back into our lives. Once we seek the light, anything becomes possible. We cannot listen to negatives, the do nots, the should nots, or the should haves. Instead, listen to potentials, the will dos, going tos, or the will haves. The best views come after the hardest climbs. We are climbing out of a hole. We will recover.
If we change the way we look at things, they actually change. The virus will have its way with us despite our fight to regain normalcy. We must fight in order to succeed. Thankfully, persistence is on our side. We will persevere no matter what. Difficult times do not last. People that don’t quit survive and thrive.
We cannot change the beginning of this pandemic, but we can change how it ends. We can be strong now as we prepare for the next phase of our lives; the next phase of our business. We should not forget this experience, we should embrace it. Embrace it for the betterment we are going to experience. Embrace it for the scars on our minds and hearts. Embrace it for the strength it creates within us. Embrace it for not giving up. Embrace it for our faith in the future.
Don’t allow the virus to happen to you; make it happen for you. Look for the positivity. I am reminded of the lyrics to the six million dollar man (a television show from my childhood) and the parallel for my business. Steve Austin, astronaut: a man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be better than he was before; better, stronger, faster. We can adopt this mindset for our businesses. We will rebuild stronger and better than before. The darkest hour has only sixty minutes. The darkest month has only thirty-one days. The darkest quarter has only three months. We can embrace the suck. It is not going to be easy.
Your words of encouragement will be the spark for others. Your words of encouragement will be the most important voice in your mind. Consider this time, this virus as a test of your will to succeed. Be willing to fight for your next opportunity. Every person started as a child; every business started as an idea. Don’t quit; endure the pain and live the rest of your life as a winner.
When I was in the Army, and living in Hawaii, we experienced Hurricane Iniki. Hurricane Iniki (Hawaiian: ʻiniki meaning "strong and piercing wind") was the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. state of Hawaii in recorded history. On September 11th, 1992, at peak intensity; it had winds of 145 mph and recorded wind gusts of 225 mph. For many years after, I wore a tee shirt that read. “I survived Hurricane Iniki”.
You too will be proud you survived this pandemic. You will be proud your business survived. You will be stronger. You are not identified by this crisis. You are identified by your response. You are a fighter and you will not give up now. Just say “ouch” and move the hell on. You are the only limit for the future. At the end of this crisis, the journey will matter most.
Keep your head up. God gives the hardest battles to the strongest soldiers. Acknowledge the pain you are feeling now so you can compare it to the joy that is coming soon. This storm will make your roots deeper, your values stronger, and your love better. Make today the beginning of your journey to better.
You are allowed to be angry, to scream, and to cry. But, you are not allowed to give up. Suck it up, buttercup. Do not allow bitterness to be your outcome. Hard times reveal character in both individuals and teams. You will learn the lesson of the past and the present. You will apply what you learn to the future. You may discover the wrong people are in your circle or on your team. You may discover you are missing the right people in your circle or on your team. Do not allow others to negatively impact your inner voice. Choose instead to be better!