When COVID sprang onto the scene in March of 2020, we had no idea what to do and had so many questions. Mask? Stay inside? Stay outside? Do we wash the groceries before putting them away? How often should we wash our hands? Where the hell did all the toilet paper go? What do you mean there is a beer shortage? And as we come out of COVID (yes, I believe we are…it may not be as fast as anyone wants, but I believe we are), there are more questions and concerns.
As to the questions, ask them. Ask the government, ask the suppliers, ask your utility companies and GDS suppliers. Never be afraid to ask as many questions as needed to make you feel comfortable in your operation. When it comes to concerns, the best advice I can give is to watch the handles!
A friend of mine is a motivational speaker and a juggler. A real one. And he ends each presentation with a seemingly death-defying feat like most jugglers do.
As he ends, he brings out his fruit cart stocked with apples and oranges and his set of three swords. He invites an audience member on the stage and explains that they are to toss the fruit into the path of his swords as he juggles them. And he starts. The blades are shiny and mesmerizing and the volunteer tosses in an apple and the blades miss it, and it falls to the ground. Another orange is tossed, and the blade contacts it slicing the orange in half. The audience ooohs. Another apple and then another orange. All sliced in half. Finally, he asks the volunteer to pick up as many apples and oranges as possible and rapidly toss them into the path of the swords one after the other. And with each toss of a single piece of fruit, two halves fall to the floor. He stops. Applause rings out.
Before he steps off stage, he asks the audience if they were paying attention. Of course, they all nod in agreement. He says thank you and asks if there are any questions. Invariably there are. And invariably the one that is always asked is “how do you not get cut?” (He swears it is never a plant.)
He demonstrates that it is not a trick sword by slicing a sheet of paper in front of them. He explains that while learning to do this he was cut many times. Sometimes superficially and sometimes…well, let’s just say medical professionals were involved. But those days are gone. How?
He explains, the blades are going to do what the blades are going to do—cut things. No one is going to be able to change that. If the blade comes down, it is going to cut something. The way to avoid getting hurt is to ignore the blades and focus on the handles. If he has control of the handles, the blades will go where he wants them to and safely cut whatever is in their path.
Think about that.
As we move through the rest of 2021 and into 2022 with COVID still lurking, there will be many blades, or things beyond our control, that cross our paths. There will be restrictions. There will be mandates and laws and regulations. Don’t get distracted by them. We have enough to worry about getting our own businesses back on solid footing. Ask the questions you need to ask, but focus on what you can control.
Focus on the handles.