The Necessity of Challenging Circumstances

The COVID–19 virus and the associated disruption is unprecedented in our generation. However, for my grandparents’ generation and for the generations before them, challenging times were normal and they prepared for them accordingly. I remember my grandparents talking about the 1918 influenza outbreak. They were young kids at the time but they remembered it, or at least remembered adults talking about it. Just a few years after the outbreak, they faced and lived through the Great Depression and World War II. 

Many experts tell us that there will be a second wave of COVID -19 and there may be other pandemics that follow, potentially even more severe. Using present and future challenges to refine and strengthen us as individuals and strengthen our businesses is essential. In business, as with life, challenging circumstances are what we need to be healthy, strong, and to continuously improve.

When I’m working from home, I will occasionally overhear family activities. Currently, we have a litter of Old English sheepdog puppies - 12 of them to be exact. One of the puppies, the runt of the litter who my family named Fiona, was about half of the size of the others at birth. As many of us know, the runt often doesn’t survive. However, in this case, my wife and daughters were absolutely determined to do everything they could to keep little Fiona alive and healthy. Today she’s six weeks old and thriving, weighing in at 4 ¼ pounds. While this isn’t necessarily remarkable, I was struck by something perspective-shifting I overheard my wife say. When Fiona completed her daily weigh-in last week, my wife commented that the pup was 1¼ pounds heavier than two of our daughters’ pre-mature birth weights. That comment provided a fresh perspective on a particularly trying season of our lives. To think that two of my daughters were once smaller than our little pup is amazing. 

Our daughters’ premature births were a challenge for us. As we look back on that difficult time and other challenges we’ve faced, we now see these events as positive and important in shaping our lives. We see that the difficult times were necessary to increase our faith and make us stronger as a family. Just as adversity is necessary in life to grow and strengthen us, it’s also necessary in business. In business, we have the opportunity to improve during times of adversity as the competition advances and we are confronted with forces outside the organization that we can’t control.  

Businesses have significant opportunities right now to re-calibrate and improve. Our businesses are like competitive weight lifters that just received the most innovative strength training equipment ever devised. We now have the opportunity to step forward and diligently endure the pain associated with the heavy lifting which can ultimately strengthen us more than we imagined possible.

Embrace the challenge of this crisis and grow stronger. 

Baleigh and Moriah Miller with Fiona


About the Author
Shawn Miller is a principal at Morrison working primarily in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Shawn, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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