I spent time Friday and Saturday talking with my sister about her daycare business. On March 1st, she was taking care of kids for 121 families; she’s got 5 families dropping kids off as of April 1st. We worked through the process of laying off all of her staff.
“I feel like I’m starting over after 15 years of business,” she said.
One of my close friends and collaborators texted me on Saturday that her lungs hurt from coughing so much. She called the doctor, who told her that she wasn’t sick enough for a COVID-19 test and to call back if she was having trouble breathing.
My oldest son works in the restaurant industry — he hasn’t worked for a few weeks and rent is coming due.
When I finally took the time on Saturday to stop making phone calls and to sit with my feelings, I experienced so much grief.
The situation we are in is terrible. We wouldn’t wish it on our worst enemies. Through the duration of this crisis, companies will fail, even some companies owned by people that I know and care about. People will get sick, and some will die, even people that I know and care about.
Try as I might, there’s not much I can do to fix all of this.
What can I do?
As I was talking through all of this with my wife, she recalled a video that I had shown her years ago. It was about a guy who’s business burned to the ground and about how he responded to it with gratitude.
After frantically searching, I found that video from 2011. (Skip to 12:45 in the video to hear this story, but the whole video is worth watching.)
On the day when his business burned to the ground, Barrett Ersek said,
“This is the greatest thing that ever happened to me!”
His father was standing next to him and asked the obvious question, “Why?”
“I don’t know…but I trust that this is a great opportunity, and I will accept where ever this takes me,” was his response.
Obviously, that hasn’t been my response up to this point! I’ve been trying to run around being the “fixer” and solving everyone’s problems. But the result of that is me being miserable and a questionable amount of fixing.
So I’m going to give this gratitude thing a shot.
- I’m grateful that this crisis is breaking my habit of trying to fix everything.
- I’m grateful that I’m suddenly aware of how much I care about the people in my life; from my family, to my clients and team, to my sometimes collaborators.
- I’m grateful for the opportunities to learn new things and invent new solutions.
How about you — what are you grateful for right now?