Twelve years ago, I had a personal crisis. A small ad agency I started with a friend blew up in my face. Our biggest, and let’s be honest, only client fired us. Worst of all, we owed them money back that we just didn’t have. I won’t go into specifics but I had about a nickel to my name and we owed them significantly more than a nickel.
The only way to salvage the situation was for me create a brand new project for them. My business partner ghosted me and so I found myself alone trying to hail Mary something I’d never done before. I had a full-time job, two kids under the age of five and a wife who was as worried as I was about how things were going to turn out.
In order to make it through this chaos, I had to get up at 5AM and work on the project before I went to my corporate job. Every morning, for weeks, I’d wake up early, drink as much coffee as I could and grind on the project. Bit by bit, day by day, I was able to turn it around. The client still fired us, but they were happy enough with what I had completed that they didn’t sue me or make me pay the money back. That wasn’t the real win though.
The real win was what that crisis taught. That crisis taught me how to get up at 5AM. That crisis taught me that I could accomplish amazing things and still go to a corporate job. That crisis taught me I was capable of more than I know. That crisis taught me how to side hustle.
That might not seem like a lot, but prior to that crisis, I’d written zero books. Since then, I’ve published six and am about to finish my seventh. I used those lessons to become a professional public speaker. I used those lessons to build a blog that would eventually move my family to Nashville and forever change the trajectory of our lives. And I can easily point back to that crisis as the starting point.
That’s what’s so interesting about a crisis, it’s always trying to teach you something you might not have learned voluntarily. Without the emergency with the client, I never would have started to get up at 5AM “just because.” The crisis was a crash course in innovation. It was an invitation to be more than I currently was.
We’re in one right now. Maybe yours is small. Maybe the Coronavirus has barely impacted your life. It’s inconvenient, but nothing much has changed. Maybe your crisis is big. You lost your job. I know what that’s like. The biggest part of my business is public speaking. Do you know what’s not happening right now? Public speaking events.
There’s no denying there’s a crisis, but I don’t want you to miss this chance to learn. I think a year from now, if you’ll pay attention, you could be saying, “You know, I wouldn’t be doing this thing I really love but then the Coronavirus forced me to change a few things in my life and I’m so glad it did.”
Maybe it’s something as simple as family dinners. It’s been years since your whole family sat around the table together but sheltering at home forced you to do that.
Maybe it’s finally breaking up with a social media site you’ve been meaning to quit. The bickering during the Coronavirus convinces you to finally say, “Yeah, that’s enough.”
Maybe it’s a new business or new technology. I’m using this time to try more video. I’m jumping into YouTube finally. (You should subscribe to my channel!
I don’t know how you’ll use this crisis, but I hope you’ll use it.
There’s innovation hidden here.
There’s growth hidden here.
There’s hope hidden here.
I know it can be scary and uncertain, but I encourage you to make a simple decision:
Pivot don’t panic.
That’s the phrase I’m saying these days.
Pivot don’t panic.
P.S. One of my pivots is putting more video content on Instagram. Have you followed my account yet?