March 30, 2020

The Other Side

Josh Gentine

I was listening to tunes on my way into work today, a drive that was quieter and dare I say, more humane than the typical day. My mind was on the current events surrounding COVID-19 and the implications for my new business, Bench. I was thinking about the last time I launched a business, a gourmet chocolate company selling high-end products to hospitality. I launched in August of 2007. Use your imagination for how that endeavor fared.

I was beginning to lament the situation when I heard this line from Kenny Chesney’s Boats:

Newport is where John hung his hat
Til he lost his wife Jo
Now forty feet of sail and teak
Is where Ol' John calls home
He watched his life pass before his eyes
In the middle of a hurricane
Came out alive on the other side
That's where "the other side" got its name

Perhaps I’m reading too deeply into this (that happens during a pandemic) but the thought that struck me was three-fold:

First, we don’t get to plan all the events of our lives. Life will inevitably throw things in our way that we can’t expect, and while they may be annoying (or flat out awful) for a while, we have two options: 1) allow the challenges of our situation to get the best of us and sink, or 2) come out alive on the other side, stronger and more resilient than ever. What will you do? I choose #2.

Second, if you’re the CEO of an organization, I can only assume you feel somewhat alone right now. While it may seem strange for those who have not held the title, the role of CEO is the loneliest box in the org chart, despite all the bustle and glory. If you’re in that role, you need to step up to the wheel and own this. Things may get ugly for a while, but you need to batten down the hatches, command as best you can, and get yourself and your crew out alive on the other side.

And third, use this situation to redefine who you are and what you stand for. Don’t let this good crisis go to waste – seriously! Find the silver lining in this. It is a choice. Use this as the excuse you needed to step up, to step out and differentiate yourself, or I guess for many, to just get in more steps… People are always looking for a catalyst. The New Year, birthdays, weddings, deaths, break-ups, firings and falling in love all provide those pivot(al) moments when people decide they want to change. These life events provide the backdrop for helping people gain some perspective and decide, “enough, this must change”. We now have a global backdrop for which to look at your life, your decisions and your behaviors. Don’t let this crisis go by without seizing the moment.

If I can help you or your company come out alive on the other side better equipped to handle market forces or the next pandemic, please contact us. Use this opportunity to build a stronger strategy and a healthier team.

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