We are living through an experience that many have come to understand through existential novels, sci-fi movies, or Twilight Zone episodes. The common theme is the examination of how humans react to extreme situations. Even under “normal” circumstances, we frequently encounter extraordinary news stories of parents who lift cars to save their children or hikers who remove their own limbs for survival. These stories give us an appreciation for the resilience of humanity and inspire us in ways that give us confidence in times of turmoil or distress. We can do this, or at least some of us can do this.
Today I received an email from one of the few people whom I know that thrives in extreme conditions. Brent Thomson competed in the Mt. Everest marathon in 2011 and followed that up the next year by driving 250 horses across 500 miles on the Mongolian high desert. In her email to the 2000 or so agents in her flock at Compass California, she talked about the preparation for success, “I don’t know what’s been harder; getting to the starting line or the finish line.”
This pandemic has cost far too many people loved ones’ lives, as well as their careers and livelihood. All of us made dramatic and necessary changes in our lives and in our professions but provided that communities continue to responsibly maintain social distancing, there’s a chance that some regions are over the peek and are now a month or two away from a careful restart.
During this crisis, our 17-year-old daughter Alexandra a.k.a. @SparklesLund received her final admission letters from universities. During the application process, we tried to tell her to be proud of the hard work that she did to prepare, emphasizing that it is her work ethic that will produce the outcomes.
She applied to 15 schools and was invited to 13. Her strategy was to apply to some second-choice schools along with the best of the best schools in her major – Communications with emphasis on Marketing and Business. I am beyond proud of her success in getting into the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Success came because she prepared.
Across the world, we are all preparing for a new start. Most of us in the US have spent the last four weeks weathering the front end of the COVID storm. We know its power for devastation and understand that we need to keep safe while the second half of the storm passes. That is what makes this experience so difficult to understand. Unlike an act of war that blows up buildings or an earthly event like an earthquake or storm – here, the majority of people in America will probably witness little physical destruction. The world that we reenter will seem familiar and unchanged in many ways, but Americans especially are likely to look and act differently as they adopt precautionary public health measures such as masks and no-touch greetings – common practices in many other countries outside of the US.
Brent, the amazing human that inspired this post, knows a thing or two about preparing for great beginnings, remarkable finishes, and is in preparation mode for a post COVID-19 marketplace. Her team produced one of the most remarkable performances of any brokerage coming out of the last recession. I am expecting more great results from that group again as they switched from defense to offense last week.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” I would say that many of us have between and 6 and 12 weeks to prepare before the rest of our lives get started again, probably. It’s time to launch powerfully into the next chapter of our lives. #LetsGo #TogetherFromADistance