I don't want to get all religious on you. I have often studied the science of religions, tribes, politics, and many facets of how and why we adopt belief systems that shape our lives.
When I was giving a speech in Minnesota, I told the audience that during the pandemic, I was researching the question, “How can you entice someone to change religions or political parties?” Now, that was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying, how can you use information and persuasion to get people to change their beliefs, world views, and alliances.
The realistic answer to that question is: You Can't. But, you can slowly help them to change their own perspective by helping them have a deeper sense of self-preservation and empowerment. You do this through stories of how others have felt and overcome challenges through the path of enlightenment.
3 Signs From God
If you are a follower of this blog, I am sure by now you are aware that we are selling our home and moving to Raleigh, North Carolina. We are basically selling or donating everything we have, and building a new home where we can literally rebuild from scratch.
It's time. We have lived in our current home for 22 years. I built my home and business over the years and have pivoted so now I can live and work anywhere. As I say, “I can work anywhere…from Raleigh to Bali.” Why we chose Raleigh is another story that I will offer up later, but the main question we had to answer was, “Is now the time to change?” Well, I had three signs from God I have talked about before that presented a resounding ‘YES!'
I was asked by my friend and podcast guest Ben Thomas if I wanted to be a musician in the band for the Easter service at church. Since this would probably be our last Easter in Chicago, it was a resounding yes. I have been playing guitar and singing in worship bands since 1997. This was my 25th year and, somehow I felt that timing was not just random.
Before we started rehearsal we all stood in a circle and had a chance to tell stories of what we were doing since the last time we all played live together (over 3 years ago.) Everyone had amazing, life-changing perspectives of what they did to survive. So much change, stories of self-enrichment, and very touching accounts of how some used that time and their gifts to help others make it through troubling times.
When it was my turn, I told everyone we were moving and this was prompted by 3 signs from God that told me it was time to move. First was the story of 2019 when I almost died from Sepsis. The second was the 2020 disruption and changes of the almost 40-month plague. The third was August 25 at 9 PM CDT. That was the day our house was struck by lightning. You may see three very disconnected events, but it was clear to me that these were related… “DAMN? Is God trying to send me a message?”
So, eight months ago, we ventured into the desert (know as our wasteland of basement space) and began our journey to purge, clean, and repair our home to get ready for sale.
In February 2019, as I lay on the gurney in the Emergency Room (not knowing I was literally hours away from dying), I called the person I was interviewing for a project manager role to cancel the meeting we had planned for that day. I spent 5 days in the hospital. During that time, my team kept my business alive and afloat without missing a beat. All of that prep work that I did, laid the groundwork for the rogue wave of my being incapacitated.
When I got out, I was more determined to get a project manager than ever before. I actually went through a few before finally finding someone who is the perfect fit for me, my systems, and my team.
Lesson Learned: It's not whether a rogue wave will hit your business but when. Building lifeboats when you see the wave coming is just too late. Prepping for disaster helps you minimize the effects of when it happens – my team and my systems were my lifeboats.
The 40 Month Plague Disruption
In March of 2020, almost all of my customers said STOP (all work and projects). Talk about a rogue wave? A pandemic was not part of any of our business plans. I started out by telling you (my audience) and my clients, “Don't Panic… PIVOT!” What my customers and I needed to understand is that it's not how do we sell what we have, but what can we sell that can help our customers get through this disruption?
If you can't get products because of supply chain issues, maybe you can sell more services, repairs, and supplies to help keep your customers up and running. We had to communicate how and why we all have to wait for inventory to ease back to normal. This helped our clients flourish during trying times.
Lesson Learned: Diversification defies disruption. When you have multiple streams of income, you can find ways to increase some while others are slipping or going away. Also, personal communication and empathy are more important than ever before. Asking how people were doing helped them to feel like you cared. It also gave you insight as to how you can continue to be a resource to them.
A Bolt From The Sky
In August of 2021, I was in my family room watching TV when a bolt of lightning hit the front of my house. It popped the brick, bent metal, fried a tree, and poked a hole in my ceiling. Thank GOD it did not start a fire! It also fried almost every GFCI outlet and piece of electronic gear in my house. After the initial shock, fire department inspection, and calls to the insurance companies (YES, I had BOTH homeowners and business insurance,) it was time to get to work.
I started to reach out to my network and find contractors to repair the house. Then I started testing every piece of gear to see what I could salvage. That led us to speed up our plans to downsize and spruce up the house for sale. What else could the contractors do? What equipment was truly being used at this point in my business? Luckily, the house just needed a freshening up. And, my computers and hard drives survived (enclosures and many other things… not so much.)
Lesson Learned: Turn adversity into an opportunity to reinvent. That is what I did for both our home and my business. My business needed less to do more, and so did our home. We did not need all that room we built 20 years ago. It was a sign and time to downsize both!
As much as we want the ability to control our business and our destiny, change and disruption do not ask us what or tell us when. One of my favorite jokes is “How do you make God Laugh? Tell Him your plans!” I think any religious, agnostic, or atheist can agree that normal… is just a setting on a dryer… and now it's time for us to go shopping for a new one and the accompanying washer.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”
I would love to hear your thoughts on what signs you saw over the last 3 years. Did you have to overcome some adversity? What lessons learned did you have and how are those changes affecting your business today? Do you have a success or horror story to share?
Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about the signs you've seen in your business.
To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.