We needed some time to chill out from the stress of the pandemic crisis this past weekend.  Fortunately we were able to pack up the car and drive about two hours to the farm of a friend of ours.  No one else was there, but probably more important was the lack of cell phone reception and very weak Wi-Fi.  We spent the weekend eating and reading and playing cards and being with each other and our kids.  We also went on hike.

There wasn’t an obvious path to follow, just the creek. 

Our friends recommended taking a 45 minute hike up the creek to see a waterfall and that’s what we did.  It turned out to be quite an adventure.  We ended up finding our way through brush, climbing over and around fallen trees, wading int the creek, crossing it a number of times, all while not really knowing the way or what we would encounter along the way, unknown terrain with each step. Each of us fell at least once, but it seemed like we fell forward, going further even then.

Eventually we came to a waterfall.  It wasn’t much of one, and being both mentally and physically tired we thought about turning back.  Martha, my daughter, encouraged us to go at least 100 yards further to see if it was worth continuing.  The creek and it’s bed at this point was both shallow and wide, so I went with her.  In 100 yards we saw it.  A bigger and prettier waterfall, 200 yards further up the creek, over much more slippery and tricky footing.  The rest of the family joined us and we made it, feeling proud that we didn’t quit.

That’s the journey we are familiar with as business owners. 

We know the objective or outcome we want to accomplish.  We don’t exactly know how to get there, but we plow ahead, working through or around obstacles repeatedly until we get there.  And we look for more.  It’s entrepreneurial way isn’t it.

The journey back down was different. 

It certainly looked different going down than coming up.  Since we weren’t climbing up, the footing was more slippery and treacherous.  When we fell down, we fell backwards, onto our bums, and then slid down the creek or the terrain.  Falling backwards usually ended up meant we fell much further that we were comfortable with.  I know I spent much more time thinking through each and every step, instead of just plowing through like before, knowing that I could get injured much more easily on the way down than on the way up.

Handholds, became much more important, both with family members helping each other, and grabbing onto trees and branches as we eased our way down.  It’s not that we didn’t help each other and grab branches on the way up, but then it seemed more automatic, easy, and the polite thing to do. On the way down it was difficult, absolutely necessary, and hard to figure out.  One couldn’t make one’s way without help.  I remember thinking, “this is much harder than before.”

The path through the pandemic will be like going down, not going up. 

The path through the pandemic, won’t be like the hike up to the waterfall, a desirable outcome. It will be much more like the way back down the creek.  Handholds will be much more important and essential to get to the other side of things, than when you were building your business.  It’s more slippery, the falls might end up being further and faster than you are used to or comfortable with.  Everything is at risk when you are going through something like this.

What’s the way through for you?   

It requires thoughtfulness, firm footing, and lots of handholds. You can figure it out with the help of your team, your peers and your advisors.  We made it back with only a few scratches and no broken bones.  You will too.

Looking for some handholds?

It’s one of the things I’m good at.  Check in regularly at https://rocknsand.com/covid-19-checklist/ as I add tools and resources for getting to the other side.

Set up a phone call or zoom call with me at https://in-synk.youcanbook.me

And by all means, hold out a hand for someone else looking for a handhold along the way.