“Be Prepared” – That is the Scout motto that was drilled into my head as young boy coming up through the Scouting ranks. This notion – and my OCD – led me into the Marine Corps, where constant preparedness is the culture: Marines are either preparing for war or at war. Those tenets have spilled over to my entire career, most recently in the form of a seminar I gave last month called “The Art of War in Business.” And yet, notwithstanding a lifetime of vigilance, I found myself experiencing uncharted waves of emotion watching the world react these past few weeks. Why now, and not during the H1N1 pandemic, or during regular flu season? The answer is that we were simply not prepared for the introduction of any new disease into our world. Prior to COVID-19 rearing its head, the world had enough medical infrastructure and personnel to cope with reality as we knew it; the introduction of a new and unknown element to our ecosystem, simply put, crashed the system. We now must wait and see how this virus plays out, and what the aftermath of a global economy that has been shut down for several months will look like. And as Tom Petty likes to remind us, the waiting is the hardest part.
My heart goes out to every family who is dealing first-hand with the brutal nature of this virus. My family, like most, are separated from our 100-year-old grandmother and almost 80-year-old mother, and the resulting anxiety is high. I am also struggling deeply to figure out the best way to keep a business alive in an economy that has been closed, and I carry the weight and stress of all the families I feel I am letting down during this time by not having any clear answers. Unless you have built and own a business, it is hard to understand those emotions. Business owners are not capitalist pigs who look to exploit a labor force for profit – we try our hardest every day to take care of our work family the best way we can so that they can build a family and a life, and each business that has been forced to be closed is not simply an economic statistic, but to me another tragic death.
Yes, we shall overcome and rebuild and be stronger than ever before. That is my belief, and how I will push through this trying time. But we must all use this time to truly understand how, when we emerge, we will be more prepared than we were before – otherwise every tragic death has been in vain. We must also own and accept our emotions during this stressful time, for if we move on from this period unchanged then we have learned nothing. For me, I have been trying to capture my emotions and mindset though social media these past few weeks. I have included them here as a collage, and I hope they may help you. If these sentiments resonate with you, consider following me on LinkedIn. For now, stay safe, stay strong…and drink wine.
April 6, 2020 – Use this time to learn about others. Character doesn’t reveal itself in the good times. Make sure when you emerge you are surrounded by wolves, not sheep.
April 6, 2020 – Seems like some progress and perhaps some light … stay patient New York, but get your minds prepared to attack once this cloud is gone!
April 6, 2020 – We must accept that life has changed and embrace it by seeking out the new opportunities created by this cosmic shift. We can’t just sit around waiting for a tomorrow that may never come or for a world that no longer exists.
April 5, 2020 – There is no easy way through these next weeks for New York. All our thoughts and prayers must be for the strength to endure them. For if in our hearts we do not yield, we shall overcome …
April 4, 2020 – The universe is talking to us all right now … spend this time trying to understand what it is saying
April 3, 2020 – While most of us will survive this, the stress and sadness of it will beat us all if we don’t keep our minds right. See the person you want to be on the other side and keep your mind moving in that direction.
April 2, 2020 – We are going to have bad moments, maybe even bad days. We are going to feel scared, helpless and angry. We are going to want to cry. Embrace those moments for they are real – but then pick up your sword and continue to fight!
April 1, 2020 – The Battle of the Bulge was the deadliest battle of WW2 for American forces – during it our troops were pinned down by the Germans in extreme weather for 6 weeks with limited access to shelter and food. Yes, the next six weeks will be challenging for sure, and yes our stress and pressure is real, but we must keep a mindset of gratitude and thankfulness.
April 1, 2020 – Make a plan and establish a daily routine. Lost days will add up otherwise. There will be tremendous opportunity for those who plan for the long haul and endure…
March 31, 2020 – Workers who are being sidelined are innocent victims who also need all our support and advocacy. Health care providers are doing their part, now business leaders need to fight with everything we have to save and restore as many of these jobs as possible. Good enough is not good enough, we must be relentless. In this effort we must never surrender …
March 30, 2020 – Another hard day with no relief in sight. Fear will set in if we don’t have faith that we will prevail. We must seek the strength to endure these trying times – amazing grace, how sweet the sound …
March 30, 2020 – You must be productive – not just busy. Do something everyday that will make you more valuable to the marketplace when we re-engage. I am certain your competitors are …
March 29, 2020 – It does … you must…now more than ever!
March 29, 2020 – Keep going – I know we are tired and a little scared, but we did not work this hard and come this far just to let it fall apart … we must fight on!
March 29, 2020 – Now is the time to shine … stay strong NY – we must survive
March 29, 2020 – Many have talked the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk…
March 28, 2020 – Long week- NY has many more ahead. Take this weekend to get your mind right and come up with a plan. Winners are the ones playing long ball right now, short term plans won’t work.
March 27, 2020 – Rough day Long Island – more pain ahead. Tonight you need to drink some wine and be close to loved ones. Tomorrow you need to get up and get back to work – harder, smarter and more productive than ever. The time to rebuild is NOW …
March 27, 2020 – We all now know that this invisible enemy, if just slightly worse, would have ended our entire species in 2 months. Digest that – and use it as motivation to emerge from this better and stronger!
March 26, 2020 – Reality – phone calls and emails have slowed if not stopped. Payments are coming in slow if at all. Paychecks have either been reduced or ended. Plenty of excuses for us to stop, but we must keep moving to survive.
March 25, 2020 – My favorite painting – hangs in my home office. Washington kneels in prayer during the vicious battle at Valley Forge. Take a moment to reflect and get your mind right … then get moving!
March 24, 2020 – We must all do our part … these are our mentors. God Bless America!
March 24, 2020 – Governor’s order today shows what’s coming – next 14 days are critical. Make your cuts, batten down your hatches and fight with everything you have. You can do this … you must!
March 24, 2020 – Now’s not the time to be a victim – now is the time to take control and regroup, reorganize and reassess. We all have pain – it’s the ones who use this time wisely who will re-emerge on the other side stronger…
March 23, 2020 – Another long day for our heroes in the trenches. While they fight for our survival in the hospitals, we have to fight as hard for the survival of our economy. It took an invisible enemy to pull us together, but united we now stand! We must keep going – the American spirit is invincible. WE GOT THIS!!!
March 23, 2020 – We must not let fear paralyze us. We must stay strong and keep productive to make it through this storm. We must all be leaders right now – everyone is counting on us and we cannot let them down!
March 22, 2020 – Get some rest … tomorrow we hit it with everything we have…
March 22, 2020 – Marines know when they are deployed that no one may be coming for them…that’s how they train, and that’s how they survive. There may not be enough resources for the government to help every business, so we must all fight for our business to survive. There is no 9-5 Monday through Friday anymore – there is only the here and the now. We must all push 24x7x365 so we can emerge together on the other side. Semper Fi
March 22, 2020 – The coronavirus isn’t stopping because it’s Sunday, we can’t either. We must stay productive – it’s how we will get through this!
March 22, 2020 – Time to go to work America and show the world what we are made of…
March 22, 2020 – Now is not the time to be paralyzed – our economy is fighting for its survival. Now you must find ways to overcome, improvise and adapt. Now is the time to fight!
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