Thank you, COVID-19

There’s no question this past year has had a profound impact on many of our businesses, and lifestyles, as a result of the coronavirus. Companies downsizing (or going out of business completely), work/school-from-home protocols and procedures, social distancing, facemasks, loss of friends and family, not to mention political and social unrest. Enough already!

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.” Or, as another pundit put it: “I’ve had just about as much fun as I can stand.” As the year comes to a close, and we hopefully look forward to a year filled with optimism, prosperity, good health and fewer worries, what lessons have we learned? What have we done to better our skills, our habits, our approach to business, our attitudes and our overall appreciation for what we have accomplished?

With that in mind, I say thank you, COVID-19 …

… for forcing me to adapt to new technologies and communication skills that I had been slow to embrace. (Zoom? Microsoft Teams? Webex? Chat boxes? Who knew?)

… for reinforcing the need to continuously focus on the well-being of the customer, and client, for without them, we have no business.

… for not allowing me to rely on past successes, forget what got me here in the first place and make me treat each day as a brand new challenge and opportunity.

… for pushing me to reinvent myself, because there is no more “that’s the way we’ve always done it!”

… for reminding me of the importance of cash flow and the need to maintain a financial cushion for myself and our business.

… for the “aha moment” that, with the proper process, communication skills, approach, technique and technology, anyone can sell from anywhere. 

… for requiring me to learn how to manage remote employees, to understand their sensitivities, to appreciate their individual goals, and motivators, and to provide them the encouragement to soldier on.

 … for making me better appreciate the need for a healthy work-life balance. As hard as we work, and as successful as we may become, appreciate what you have – because it can all change in an instant.

… for reemphasizing the importance of good health: exercise, hygiene, sleep, nutrition, friends and faith.

… and a final thank you, COVID-19, for the money we saved on gasoline, working lunches, dry cleaning, new clothes, unnecessary travel and frivolous entertainment.

Who knows when—if ever—we may return to “normal?” Rather, are we better off embracing the “new normal” and asking ourselves: “Is what got me here going to get me there in 2021?”♦

Jim Marshall is owner, and president, of Sandler Training of Tampa Bay, which provides sales, corporate and management training to high-achieving companies and individuals. Contact him at 813.287.1500 or [email protected]

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