Can’t fish? Mend your nets.

When storms come and fishermen can’t go out to sea, they don’t sleep in. They don’t wander the beach, skipping rocks into the surf. They mend their nets.

I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot the past week as many businesses either ground to a halt or slowed significantly as social distancing became the norm. Just like fishermen, we get hit by storms that are out of our control.

So, how do we respond? Destructively or constructively?

I know some people caught in a destructive response. They’re blaming this or that politician for bungling the crisis (victimization). They’re glued to 24 hour news. They’re spending hours on Facebook and Twitter (distraction). They’re paralyzed by the crisis and just hoping that it goes away before their business does (inaction).

That’s not how we want to act. We want to be constructive in at least one of the following ways:

  1. Develop your processes. Most businesses think they’re too busy to build out their systems and operating procedures. What’s your excuse now?
  2. Deep clean your business. If your restaurant is shut down, now’s the time to return it to what it looked like before you opened. Maybe even some maintenance?
  3. Train. On new or old skills. Brush up on the fundamentals. Learn something new. If you’re looking for suggestions, try the free Crisis Survival course that my company released.
  4. Read. It’s no secret that I like to read. On a typical week, I finish two books. Over the past three weeks, I’ve finished 13. Why? My nights are free from all of the family stuff in my normal schedule and I’m not filling it with Netflix.

What does “working on nets” look like for you? Go do that. And you’ll be ready to fish again when the storm ceases.

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