By Tom Fournier
We are facing an unprecedented level of disruption in our personal and business lives. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event and it is easy to feel like it might never end.
How do you keep going?
It may not feel like it right now but this will end. Life will ultimately return to some version of normal.
I am reminded of events where it must have seemed there will be no end. I think of the horror of World War One and how the conflict bogged down into trench warfare with an expanse of muddy wasteland separating the two factions. For the individual soldier, to be in the mud surrounded by vermin and carnage it must have seemed like there would never be an end. But ultimately the war did end and the survivors returned home.
In my range of personal experiences, I can recall during my past corporate life the implementation of a certain ERP system. In itself it may have been all right but combine that implementation with catastrophic failures at two major manufacturing sites and then we had a whole new world of chaos. Every day was moving from crisis to crisis and it seemed like there would never be any end to the madness. Days started early, finished late and were filled with conflict and emotion. At times it was unbearable. But slowly shipment by shipment, day by day we came out of it and a sense of normality returned.
I also think about a remarkable opportunity that I had back in 2002.
I joined two friends from Calgary on their planned trip to Tanzania. Amongst the many adventures was a plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. For those not aware, you spend a number of days on the mountain, slowly progressing to different hut stations and staying overnight at each allowing your body to adapt to changes in altitude. In the final hut station, you are woken up around midnight for a snack and some tea and then you begin your final ascent in the dark.
Our lead guide carried an old kerosene lantern. There was not much that we could see outside of the small arc of light from his lantern. You could not really see what progress you were making going up the side of the mountain. It seemed never ending but you just kept going. One step after the other.
Hours later we finally stopped. We were at Gillman’s Point, the first summit. We rested, snacked and watched the sun rise over Africa. For those that could go on, we left for the ultimate summit, still another hour or so away. Soon the summit awaited.
I think this is a good parable for our life right now. Working together we will succeed. There will be difficulties, heartache and challenges along the way but we will come out of this. Step by step, not quite knowing where we are going but we just keep going. Step by step. Soon we will have the gratification of having succeeded!
Tom Fournier, founder of the Shade's Mills Group, history enthusiast and happy walker!