The last five months has been the longest decade of my life. At least it has felt that way. And I say that while acknowledging that many people have had a much harder experience than I and my colleagues have had. But from a business perspective, this has been the worst experience of my lifetime.
As we rapidly come towards the close of summer and fall appears on the horizon, the time has come to start examining the lessons that have been accumulated over the course of 2020. This will be the first in a series of posts about the many lessons I am taking note of, and I look forward to sharing them with you.
In addition to writing to you in this blog, I keep a daily journal on my office desk. And recently, I started reading my entries for January and February 2020. Throughout those weeks, my daily thoughts were centered around the normal business issues you would expect a small business owner to care about: sales, client relationships, intelligent growth, team management, etc. In fact, the first time I mentioned covid19 or a possible worldwide health crisis was on Saturday, February 29. But it was a modest mention. The next mention occurred on March 10.
After that, starting at the end of that week, the health crisis, and its impact on everything, was ALL I wrote about for the next two months. It went from not being on my mind, to being the only thing on my mind in a matter of about ten days.
And that’s my first big lesson of this experience… how quickly things can change. The speed with which our collective world changed was… unsettling… yes, that’s a good word for it. Unsettling. That’s the polite way to describe it anyway. Behind closed doors, I would probably add the gerund form of a popular expletive to the front end of that to describe how I really felt.
But in all seriousness, the speed with which things changed has been a profound lesson for me, and should be for all of us. Things can get worse much more quickly than we think. And so too in the other direction. There are great life and management lessons available inside that reality. When you are feeling good about your business, enjoy the moment, but be cautious. When you are feeling bad about your business, stay strong and resilient. Because no matter what, things can swing the other way quickly.
Much like my grandparents’ generation which was forever scarred by their experiences in the Great Depression of the 1930s, I will never ever forget the speed of the “great unraveling” of 2020. I will be more cautious in good times, and more confident in bad times.
More to follow, my friends.
Stay strong and healthy, and have a great day.
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