By Marc Beauchamp
As I write this month from quarantine here in The Woodlands, Texas, I'm struck by how the current situation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has exposed many of us, including myself, across several different aspects of our personal and business lives. Yes, I said personal. I know we are business focused, but if you think your business life is separate from your personal life, you are sorely wrong. We are going to get personal.
I talk a lot about the four dimensions – body, being, balance and business – and how all of these need to work in tandem for us to produce consistently big results in our lives. We are multidimensional human beings; it's essential to not get caught in the trap of being one dimensional.
We know the story; it's not new. The hard-charging entrepreneur who dedicates his (or her) life to making money at the expense of neglecting other areas of life wakes up one day, usually too late, and realizes what was really important was not the money, but the people he (or she) was supposedly working so hard for.
Carl Jung explained it like this: "Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life's morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie. "
What I get out of this passage is that what we may have thought was so important early on in business and life turns out to be completely the opposite of what will provide real happiness in the long run. Don't get me wrong, I want us all to be financially successful, but the financial prosperity is just a means to realize what Jung alludes to in the afternoon of life.
COVID-19 is exposing all of us in a variety of ways, and the orange can only produce what's inside of it: orange juice. As we get squeezed by stress, resistance to change, heath uncertainty, vulnerability and myriad other things, we can only produce what is inside of us. The ways you choose to handle challenges in one area of your life expose or affect your health in all areas of your life, including personal aspects such as how you take care of your body, your spiritual connectedness and family dynamics.
The New York Times recently reported alcohol sales were booming – up over 50 percent, and in some areas, alcohol sales are up 300 percent. It's the same with marijuana use, pornography viewing, binge TV watching and many more habits commonly seen as negative or detrimental in some ways. I'm not judging how anyone spends their personal time, but is there a lesson here for you and me?
After days of family time, I realized that I often use work as an excuse to get away from my family, or I fall back on work as an excuse to not show up in a deeper way with my wife and children. Talk about an eye opener: I was exposed. It's been amazing to see how a change in my normal routine can affect every aspect of my life, particularly in business.
I know a lot of us would not like to admit it, but many of our businesses are being exposed as well. No, we couldn't plan for this pandemic, but we could have planned better at least from my perspective. This has prompted many ISOs to really look at things like cash flow management, cash preservation, debt service, fixed and variable expense management, team and self-accountability, strategic planning, vendor relationships, partner management, employee compensation, tax planning, merchant demographics, leading and lagging business indicators, remote workforce management, and much more.
This is a wake-up call to go deep and evaluate the areas of exposure across the dimensions I noted previously: body, being, balance and business. How are you preparing now so you don't repeat the mistakes of the past? How have you been settling for less than you are truly capable of being? What are you doing to prepare for a slow recovery while also capitalizing on opportunities?
Every time I've made quantum leaps in performance or mindset it's been when dealing with a challenge or crisis. It's unfortunate that most of us make changes only when the pain is too great to bear. Pain drives us to adapt and change.
I don't know what the future holds, but I do know I don't like being exposed. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be prepared for the future, the question is are you?
Marc Beauchamp is author of Survive and Thrive in the Merchant Services Industry and founder of Bankcard Life, a community for payments professionals. He is offering a free copy of his book to all payments professionals at www.bankcardlife.com/greensheet. Marc welcomes your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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