“And now, the end is near
And so I face, the final curtain.”
Frank Sinatra croons at the start of “My Way”. An anthem to overcoming the odds, to facing the adversity that is normal in our field (amped up to 11 in 2020) and accomplishing it all with panache.
Marcus Aurelius stated “The Obstacle becomes the Way” almost nineteen centuries ago, during a time of war and economic upheaval, political unrest and plague.
This year is the most stressful we have seen in generations. Children are out of school, divorces are spiking, mental illness and poor health choices were already rampant before the virus turned what was the best job market in decades for new grads into the worst and a comedy of errors. Our country is divided along multiple fracture lines, and our government is dysfunctionally self-interested. We are living in a Kafkaesque nightmare that not even Rod Serling would pitch for “The Twilight Zone”.
Yet in chaos lies opportunity.
Adversity allows you to develop strengths that good times will never create.
Two guys that wanted to work together started something in their garage during the darkest days of the economy: General Motors by Durant and Mott in 1908.
Or was it Hewlett-Packard in the late 1930’s?
Burger King (Kramer and Burns) 1953?
Jobs and Woz while Gates and Allen were doing the same in 1975.
Mailchimp in 2001 (Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius)?
Uber was in 2009 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp.
What is being built today?
As Charles Dicken’s said: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
As my firefighter friends say about getting into a burning building to save lives: find a way or make a way.
Don’t curl up and give up from the adversity you have gone through. Resistance makes muscles stronger, creates mental toughness (“callousing your mind” per Goggins), and inspires creativity out of necessity.
“A blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything thrown into it.” Marcus Aurelius again.
“Regrets, I’ve had a few.
But then again, too few to mention.
I did, what I had to do,
And saw it through, without exemption.”
See it through.
Get through it.
Make a way through it.
This, as Mando says, is The Way.