Lessons Learned and We’re Still Learning from Covid

In the immortal words of Alanis Morrisette, “you live, you learn.”  OK, someone else said it first, but it’s true.  We’ve been amid this pandemic for what feels like exactly 32 years, and we’re continuing to live through it, and many are learning during it despite ever-changing mandates and new variants that are reluctantly teaching us the Greek alphabet.  

Yes, despite these tragic, exhausting, and ongoing Covid times, however, many of us have seen this as an amazing opportunity to reassess our work and home lives.  We’ve even seen success and thrived despite having a massive excrement emoji serving as our backdrop. It’s been a period of self-reflection, motivation, and determination despite mental or physical suffering. 

The Great Depression nearly 100 years ago created opportunities for many, changed the buying habits, and an overall mindset for generations. We’re in the same boat now — check that — to quote Jaws — it’s “a bigger boat.”  Many businesses – hit with devastating decisions early on – are now flourishing because they’ve had to pivot —whether it’s restaurants moving to a hybrid of take out and inside dining or offices moving toward remote working or a mix of both.  On a personal level, many of us are appreciating our family a lot more and are — to use an overused term you’ve seen on a random meme — “living our best life.”  The problem many of us have, however, is we wait for a crisis to happen first before solving or dealing with it.  We do things on the fly. We study for exams at the last minute.  We wait to do the dishes when they’re oozing onto the kitchen counter.  We buy groceries mere minutes before snowfall. If we better prepare ourselves in life and business in advance, it’d make for less panic.  Having gone through the start of the pandemic, now is the time to better plan for the next one or whatever “storm” should come your way.

If we had a crystal ball before, say, February 2020, I’m sure we would have all planned better. Big businesses have run emergency drills and different scenarios for “events” while also forecasting variations in revenue for decades, especially post 9/11.  If they are fortunate enough or big enough, they have a risk manager as part of their leadership team.  Many business owners have debriefed what went right and wrong when they had to work through the first wave of Covid.  Small business owners should create a risk assessment and action plan even if it’s just something they jot down or save as a file on their laptop should they find themselves in the middle of — an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse (sorry).  

Was the planning you had done at home enough?  Have you taken a few seconds, minutes, or hours to think that over? A life-changing event such as this should inspire change. We all need to evaluate our own risks from a health and income prospective and how to protect against them. We need a strategy to live our life in harmony.  We don’t necessarily need a life plan — a piece of paper isn’t going to help much, but an adjusted, thoughtful mindset with clear-cut steps are needed.  Life insurance is a good first step.  An estate plan with health care proxy is another, and an overall “just in case” plan if you or your family get sick is a good idea. 

We’re better prepared now, and we can plan for it as business owners and people by assessing risk and going over possible scenarios.  We don’t need 32,233 rolls of toilet paper for the next pandemic or hurricane (a generator is probably a better purchase for the latter). Goals allow you to create the life you want for yourself and your business in the face of any adversity whether it’s an outbreak or evil Alf landing from Melmac. If you haven’t started planning or strategizing for the short- and long-term future, now is the time.  Don’t let a good opportunity from a bad situation go to waste.  Take action before action strikes first!

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Before we jump right in, tell us a little about yourself… I was raised in rural Sullivan County, N.Y., a region of the Catskill Mountains once known as the “Borscht Belt.”   It’s a beautiful area with