The Pandemic Made Personal Crisis Planning a Requirement
What happens to your business when you get taken out of commission?
I never really understood the depth of the old adage “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” until the pandemic turned my personal and professional life upside down.
Take a second to ask yourself this question: What happens to your team, your company, and your livelihood when a personal crisis takes you out of commission? The more of a leader you are, the deeper your absence will be felt. If you’re at or near the top of your organization — and especially if your company is in its earlier stages, like a startup — there’s a good chance that if you go down, the business could go down with you.
So every good leader needs a personal crisis plan. Let’s talk about how to develop one.
It wasn’t 2020 that took me out — it was 2021
It was exactly one year ago in March 2020 when business stopped overnight. At my primary company, we initiated a deep-cutting fallback plan to begin riding it out. The startups I advise all immediately went into shutdown, with some of them better suited for that than others. My startup “projects” — ventures that hadn’t quite matriculated to revenue-generating businesses yet — went on ice.
During that same week, my kids stopped going to school, my travel and vacation plans all imploded, and like everyone else, almost everything I did outside of the house either stopped completely or changed drastically.
But I pushed through all that.
Like a lot of people, I rode out the spring thinking things would be better by the summer. Then I toughed out a long summer thinking things would be better when the vaccines got here. All along, the business crisis planning we had done and continued to do allowed us to remain above water. We actually started to recover, and there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Then, on the first day of 2021, just as we were all bidding good riddance to 2020, the bottom fell out of my personal life. A series of unfortunate incidents and accidents over the month of January took me off my game completely and thoroughly.