The Silver Lining

I have been transitioning between a handful of emotions through this quarantine / government mandated shutdown.  I went through a period of denying the virus was a serious enough problem to eliminate the means by which I pay my bills and that this was actually happening in our reality.  Originally, it was an issue I was going to say “F” you to authority and keep the horses running. Who are “they” to have the power to declare a list of essential businesses. Keep in mind this could have been my way of rationalizing staying open, but my first argument is that from a health and wellness standpoint,  I believe weight training is a vital piece of the puzzle when examining psychological health. It is essential for controlling anxiety, depression, rage, and a range of other moods. I think we have all seen how much fitness and strength training is a vital piece of our mental state because a large percentage of the population has turned to booze and drugs as a coping mechanism.  If you walk down the street, recycling bins look similar to bins outside rental properties at Ocean City, MD during senior week. Second, is the physical aspect of athletes and adults coming off of injury or surgery and trying to run the full gamut of Strength and Conditioning into a peaking phase before a season or back to their specified operational tasks. The window of recovery is unfortunately not negotiable with your body.  If action is not taken, athletes are susceptible to developing imbalances, wonky movement patterns, and possibly a loss in functional range of motion.   

After moving past my denial and actually shutting down,  I became petrified that everything I worked for the last 3 years was going to disappear in a matter of weeks or months and it is still possible.  Time will tell. We are faced with an unprecedented situation. Small businesses being forced to close without necessarily any direct personal fault.  There will be a considerable number of businesses that will not reopen their doors. Your favorite gyms, restaurants, and bars could all be on the list (here is my plug to support them however you can).  Large overheads and patron paranoia of going back to a “normalcy” of pre-virus life could be the catalyst to start new chapters for some. I know all the go-hards are going to be back the day the gym opens.  They will be running through the door like the ultimate warrior ran to the wrestling stage, but the vast majority of people will be hesitant to return. The government is issuing bandaids like sole proprietors being able to collect Unemployment Compensation for which the platform is not yet created or the Paycheck Protection Plan which will save some.  

This leads me into my next point.  The final emotion I felt was anger which drove me towards a realization and the reason I started scribbling in my notebook.  The reason I have been able to turn my life around from the self destructive shit show of my 20’s was because I started taking ownership of my own fault in life.  It was my fault I did not have the self discipline to control my emotions. If you can not control your emotions, you can not take control of your finances and other aspects of your life so you drown out the chaos with booze or substances. 

So instead of continuing to be angry, angry that I was forced to shut down, angry that I did not make a mistake, and angry that I do not believe anything Dr. Fauci discussed about epidemiology.  Disclaimer : It is not just him, I do not currently trust anyone that has been in politics for decades and sometimes I question the medical schools agenda in general. This is off topic but with the onslaught of information available to Americans, you need to question health, nutritional, surgical intervention that have been commonplace in the past.  How many times have you been told egg yolks were healthy to consume and then unhealthy again?! We could receive whiplash from the rollercoaster. The doctor that developed the “I.C.E.” method for treating acute injury which stands for Ice, Compression, and elevate has recently came out and admitted ice might actually inhibit the body’s natural process of healing by decreasing the blow flow to the injured area  

So full circle because this is getting long winded.  There has to be a silver lining to this. If you ask an entrepreneur, what they learned in this scary situation and their response is nothing, I am willing to bet you have found one that doesn’t understand failure is where the magic happens.  Failure forces us to learn tough life lessons. If Frank Donley Training is forced to shut down, it is Frank Donley’s fault. No one else’s. We are looking at the easiest time to point the finger. I have only owned and operated my training business in a period of economic upswing.  People have been spending money like it was burning a hole in their pocket. Everyone thought a recession was coming but that did not change their behavior. Granted, we did not know it would happen overnight but trends are cyclical folks. 

So my personal lesson through this unfortunate sequence of events is the same lesson the majority of us have learned with their personal finances at some point in our lives.   Shit happens. You can’t ball out forever. Three years ago, I read a book by Dave Ramsey, The Total Money MakeOver, which is about people buried in debt and offers a strategy of debt repayment.  The first initial step before creating the debt snowball is creating an emergency fund because you never know what the future holds. Some people even recommend being able to cover 3-6 months of expenses with no income. 

  I understand people have kids, large houses, expensive cars, etc but those people hopefully have high paying jobs, so what happens when the income goes away for two months.  Are those people able to pay their bills for those months without going deeper in the hole? Business owners are in the same situation. The overhead of a business can be extremely substantial between rent, payroll, insurance, software apps, expensive equipment which is on payment plans. 

So my takeaway from this is, I should have been more prepared for a disaster i.e, losing 90% of my income overnight.  I should have been able to pay my expenses for several months without this stream of income. It also makes me contemplate being more creative about developing more streams of income and not putting all my eggs in one basket.  I know my expenses are miniscule compared to other businesses out there but hopefully my revenue generated is as well in comparison. Sometimes we need to look at profit margin and stop looking at potential. I am not advocating to stop spending by any means, sitting on money might be the worst thing we can do after this but I am advocating for being prepared in the future for a catastrophic event and learn from this.  I am personally going to take this as a life lesson. Life is the greatest teaching tool available. It is not Universities and colleges, However I will save that rant for a different day. I am by no means a financial advisor or an expert in business and economics so take this piece with a grain of salt. These are just my current thoughts. Stay healthy and STRONG my friends! Good times are ahead of us!