By David Sussman, CEO PFP | The Family Security Plan®
In the middle of our personal story, “life” happens. It’s messy, unpredictable and tough. Since we already knew life is not all rainbows and butterflies, we appreciate those moments when things are calm, beautiful and predictable. In short, drama knocks us around, derails our plans and steals our energy.
What impact does drama have on our lives and how can we manage when our drama-meter is high?
There is no better example than March 16, 2020, the day my partners and I decided to send everyone home. 250 people were told not to come to work. The world was in the grasp of a deadly pandemic and we put the safety of each individual ahead of anything else.
We had no idea what was going to happen. Was this the end of our business? Were we going to have to reinvent ourselves? As CEO I felt it was my responsibility to keep the company going, to prepare for those things that threatened us, to evolve and to remain relevant into the future. This was the biggest test of my life. I felt responsible for my family and the families of each and every person who worked with me. How would this play out?
Wherever we were going, no one was getting there alone.
I played my part and so did each and every one of the 250 individuals in the company. Every decision, move and miracle cannot be shared here. But miracles did happen… that is a topic for another day.
In the face of the most dramatic moment of my life, and the life of the company my father built 47 years ago, these were some observations:
- We identified what we had, what we didn’t have and what we needed.
- Decisions were organized into real priorities.
- The first decisions were short-term tactical rather than long-term strategic.
- We focused on decisions in front of us and didn’t look too far ahead.
- We heightened communication and included all leaders in the process.
- We were methodical on getting things done and delegated effectively.
- We believed we would survive and thrive regardless of what happened.
I would wake ridiculously early and make my way to the ‘war room’ in my home. It was an unfinished office with only a desk and a chair, nothing on the walls. Thank God it had a plug for my phone. I didn’t take the time to set up a computer, I worked all day from my iPhone. When I emerged in the evening, my family saw my face. It was resolute and determined. I didn’t feel tired, frustrated or afraid. I was fighting for my life and the lives of everyone relying on me. I neither felt sorry for my situation nor out of control (in spite of the fact that I had no idea what new variable would enter the equation at any time). There was no time for negativity.
Looking back on it these were some observations:
- My mind raced during the night, while I slept… I did not sleep well.
- I did not eat well.
- I did not focus on anything or anyone other than the task at hand.
I knew we needed to ‘right the ship’ before I could think strategically and use whatever skills I had to move the company forward. With the herculean effort of each individual along with blessings that cannot be ignored, the company returned to form, with 98% of our employees working from home, within 11 business days. By March 31st, we were back! I was sleeping better (my daily Fitbit sleep-score proved it), eating better and was able to “be present” for my family.
With a completely new foundation in place and the initial drama behind us, the most amazing things started to happen within our company. While other companies were frozen, in shock, assessing the situation or executing their disaster recovery plans, we had time to….
- Think strategically about the future
- Respond to immediate market needs and deliver value
- Improve efficiencies in the new operations
- Partner with companies in similar positions
- Uncover innovative ideas and initiatives for immediate implementation
In the face of drama, which will come in the most profound and unexpected ways, we can glean some life lessons.
Of course we have heard them all. But when we all just got slammed with a true, life event, they make perfect sense.
- Prepare for the future by getting our of your comfort zones
- Control the things you can control
- Accept what you cannot control
- Maintain a Positive Attitude
- Focus on what is in front of you
- Take the smallest steps
- Believe that your drama will end
- Believe in yourself
We are still in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I wish you and your families the blessings of health, safety, happiness, and of course, as little drama as possible.
Thank you for your time, I truly hope you get something out of my story and have been inspired in some way. If you enjoyed this post, take a look at my posts from the past.