Over the last few months as the Wuhan Coronavirus has spread throughout the world, there has been death and suffering. I won't discount that. Chances are that you are affected in some way by the virus. Whether getting it yourself, knowing someone who has, or even knowing someone who passed from it, it has impacted your life - and mine as well.
I have written about suffering before and how it is frankly, a part of life. A big part of it. And I have noted that because of this, if we want to reach new levels in our lives and our full potential, then we must build a positive relationship with it.
In this piece, I want to talk about the other side of things. The blessings I see that have happened in my life and for all of us during the virus.
I have often noted that the pace of life over the last 10+ years has gotten so instant that it seems like we can never catch up nor keep track of things day to day. Outside of the virus, can you remember the top news headlines from a week ago? What about a day or two ago? Why do we stop the microwave with 2 seconds left? We really can't wait 2 seconds?
The speed of life has increased dramatically and one major blessing that I see from the virus is that it has slowed life back down some. It has allowed us to find time for something we rarely had a chance to do prior - have downtime and relax (at least I can say for me).
It has also brought us closer to family and friends and helped us to realize what is most important in our lives. It has brought us closer to God and my creator. It has reminded us of what truly matters.
Additionally, the virus has given us the time to reconnect with ourselves. I understand this is very uncomfortable for some. In fact, I surmise that one of the biggest reasons for the fast paced, go-go lives that we have had prior, was due in some part from the fear of truly just being alone with ourselves and who we are. What would see about ourselves that we don't want to deal with? What would we have to confront? And once we realized it and knew what was needed to change or become better - would we have the strength or will to do it? The hardest thing we will ever do is confront ourselves and work on who we are and want to become. It is the hardest work we can do, but the work that makes the most difference in our lives.
The virus has also brought out our caring for our fellow man and helped us realize the principles that we take for granted in our lives so we can better cherish them. For example, not having the freedom to get a haircut or even go to a park with your child when we want, has shown us how important it is to understand the basic rights and freedoms we have and how important they are when taken away or suspended.
It has also given us a greater appreciation for our work. As of this writing, there are almost 40 million people now unemployed in the U.S. - about 25% of the workforce. And to make matters worse, it was due to no fault of their own. And then you have the businesses that employed them, especially small businesses, fighting every day just to be there when "they are finally allowed to open." I can say, now more than ever, I truly cherish the work I get to do and for others. I cherish the opportunity I have every day and I pray that things will come back for those who are affected. And I think we will all see our work in a new light. I think we will find more joy in it, respect it more, and give even better effort. We were not made to sit idle. We are explorers. We are dreamers. We are meant to create, build, and solve problems. We will do that even better as we come back to work.
Lastly, the virus has made me believe even more in the power of the entrepreneur and the entrepreneur inside all of us. Entrepreneurship - that explorer looking to make our dreams a reality, exists in all of us. And I think we will see more people realize that and tap into this part of themselves, their "inner misfit."
The Wuhan Coronavirus has brought suffering, but it has also brought blessings in disguise. I will not deny the suffering, but I will choose to focus on the blessings. I hope you will find a way to do so too.
I share a lot of lessons from my personal experiences on this blog. One of the things I have talked about before is that I have no regrets - for anything. People will often look at me funny when I say that or think I'm some kind of narcissist or sociopath. But, that is not the case. I have no regrets because everything that had to happen to get me to this exact point in my life where I am writing this had to happen exactly as it did. And I would not change it. That doesn't mean I don't learn from my mistakes of the past and if given the chance to do them over, would do things differently. It just means I don't regret.
As an example, I recently had a sad experience and a falling out with a coaching client over $200. It sounds petty and honestly it is on both our sides, but that is how it turned out. As a quick overview, I had a client that paid for a month of service, but decided not to continue and I agreed to refund their monthly fee (minus the $50 processing fee), which I promptly did the same day they asked. The transaction went through and I didn't think anything of it.
About a month or so later, they reached out to me to say they hadn't got it. It was weird, I had proof of it in my payment processor counsel. So, I had some diligence done to try and find out what happened and to see if the payment actually went somewhere. This took over a week of back and forth and was frankly, irritating. It was at this time that the client sent texts asking where it was, etc. This put a little more fuel on the irritation fire as this was taken care of in an honest and very timely manner, but they were now questioning my integrity and of those around me. So, after a few more days, I just said screw it and initiated another refund. Keep in mind, this is about 2 months now after the initial request. It went through and I thought all was well.
Some time passed and the client reached out again and said they never got it. I was incredulous, so I personally got into the system and started researching. It seemed that payment processes successfully, but didn't go through and I had another $150 in fees because it. This time we had the processor do research to see what was up and after a week, the client was reaching out again. We were over 3 months now. At this point, I let them know I would just send a check. I let team know to cut a check in the next check run and take out the fees associated as we cannot refund what we don't have. (You've probably had something similar happen before). This was a mistake in judgement, as at that point, I should have just ate the fees. More on that below.
This time, all was good. The client would get the check and things would be fine. Or so I thought. A few days after the client got and cashed the check, the reached out wondering why we had taken the $200 out. I explained about the fees that we got hit with and we took those out. I honestly didn't think much of it after everything we had gone through to issue a simple refund. This was my first mistake. I did not put myself in the shoes of the client or really convey the issues that we went through on our side to do this. And because I hadn't, they were upset. They said some things via text that I took the wrong way and I was just shocked. I had really been there for this person and had even let them know that I would continue to be there for them if they needed me, even without being a client. I never thought a relationship could get ruined so fast over a measly $200. It's just such a small amount to me. That was mistake number two.
$200 means something to someone who wants it. It doesn't matter what you think about it and after all the time involved, it may have seemed to them like a slap in the face - even though it was never my intent.
So, two big lessons.
1.) Always put yourself in the client's shoes and do your best to understand where they are and what they may be thinking.
2.) It's not about the money, it is about what it represents.
These are both lessons I know...and that we all know. But, we (especially me) are not perfect and sometimes we don't handle things the right way, even when we are working hard to and think we are.
One last lesson - don't handle things like this over text. It's much easier and better to do it with a simple phone call. I handled most of this via text because of how busy I am, but could have just stopped and done a 10 minute phone call and taken care of most it - including the final exchange where we parted ways.
I will always speak highly of this client and wish them well and hope at some point, they will see that I was doing my best to help them and get this issue resolved. I have no regrets about it because it reminded me of some great, timeless lessons that I need to keep forefront and will do so going forward. It's OK not to regret things, but it is NOT OK not to learn from them. Keep learning.
As you go through life, you will know doubt learn more. You will learn about this world, more about those around you, more about life, and more about yourself. And if you deliberately seek wisdom and knowledge, you will learn even more and expand your capabilities along with it.
But, the best thing you can do to help you learn and grow is to ask questions of yourself. And the better the questions you ask, the better the answers you will get - or seek.
I have been thinking about this lately and spending time asking myself questions - important ones. Some of them I have started formulating answers to, others I still have no answer as of yet. But, just in asking the question, it has stimulated new ways of thinking and breakthroughs in other areas of my life.
I've been asking myself a lot of questions, but here are 11 questions I think everyone needs to ask themselves at some point in their life.
These questions no doubt spur tons of other questions and each one is like it's own version of the white rabbit taking you down it's own rabbit hole. I don't know if I will ever settle on firm answers on all of them as the changing nature of life is part of the adventure. But isn't it worth it to seek the answers? I believe so. I believe the more I understand the answers to these questions, the better my life will be - not just for me, but all those in it with me. Ask better questions of yourself and better your life!
Be the Light
Each day that the world pandemic goes on, more and more destruction take place to people's lives, jobs, businesses, and psyche. There is no sugar coating it. It is a dark time economically. But everywhere I look there are incredible examples of resilience, ingenuity, fortitude, caring, and compassion. I short, there is beautiful light being put into this world all around us everyday.
And every day, we have an opportunity. We have our chance, to be the light for someone else.
Whether it is something as simple as a phone call to check in on a friend you haven't spoken to in a while, a note of encouragement for someone who is working hard to keep a business afloat during this time, or donating to a cause - there are many ways to be the light.
While, sadly, a great many people will let "life happen to them" during these times and let anger, resentment, the events that have transpired in their life, and in many ways give up; we cannot be one of them. We must be there for them and show them they have more control than think and that even in the darkest of times in their life, there is good - there is light. There is always light.
Be the light in someone's world today and shine as bright as you can!
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