When Kristin and I decided to move our family to Italy, it was the result of a lot of hard work turning dreams into reality. With planning and preparation, we found a way for our family to learn another language, live in a different country and culture, and become global citizens. We were fortunate to be able to do this work from a position of strength when our shells were hard.
Today, like most of the world, Italy is molting. Many of you have reached out to me with words of support, requests for advice, and questions of concern about what life looks like in lockdown.
In my book “Grow Like a Lobster,” I adopted the metaphor of the lobster to stress the importance of businesses planning and preparing for the tough times ahead. I’m the guy suggesting that if you are aware of the fact that good times are often followed by difficult ones, this knowledge can be a positive source of inspiration and guidance. However, I missed this one … I never imagined it could be possible for the whole world to molt at once.
Today, we are all in a molt – weak and vulnerable, lying without a shell on the ocean floor. What can we do with this newfound vulnerability?
In the short term, I go about life as normally as possible. The family enjoys breakfast together after sleeping later than the old normal. The girls go off to their virtual studies in different nooks of the house – we have encouraged them not to do work where they sleep. Kristin and I try to keep the house organized, manage the shopping needs, and push each one of us to be active while we keep up with our other professional and personal responsibilities. We’re fortunate that we’re not struggling with illness, prevented from getting somewhere urgently, or stuck away from our loved ones unintentionally. It occurs to me that we’re doing fine, but is there more we should be doing or thinking about?
No one knows how long this will go on. While I see it as my job to stay positive and upbeat for my family, I have to admit that my capacity for enthusiasm will reach a limit. Italy is on day nine of the official national lockdown, but our kids have been off school for fourteen days. Each evening, we check the reporting websites to see the number of new cases, the mortality events, and also the daily increase percentages. Like the world, we have been hoping for declines, only to be demoralized. They say that sometime between days eleven and fourteen, we will see a peak, and the rest of the world will have a proxy for what is ahead.
While going on and fighting through the problems, I suggest we also plan and prepare for the unknown future. I do believe that one day our shells will harden again, and we’ll be off on our way to explore the new reality. The question is: What can we do today, when we have the time and bandwidth at hand (even though we are weak and floppy), to get ready for the next molt we are sure to encounter? My approach is to write down my thoughts about how I’m feeling, work on my fitness, think about my organization of personal and financial files, and try to imagine what the new world will look like so that I can be prepared for it when the doors reopen.
What are you doing to think about the preparations you failed to anticipate, the contacts you should have maintained, and other things you might need the next time an unexpected molt comes along? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do believe that knowing the molts are inevitable can be a way to make them less challenging. I missed this one, but I’m going to spend some hard time thinking about what I can do better before the next one. The saying in Italy is #andràtuttobene or #everythingwillbefine. What are you doing to make sure of that for yourself, your loved ones, and your business?
Photo: Kristin Krebs-Dick