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Will You Make It or Will It Make You?

By Jillian Broaddus and Chuck Cusumano

In late September of 2018, my family and I visited Mexico Beach, Florida. For one long weekend, we put our jobs, worries, and responsibilities aside, allowing the only major decision of the day to be where to go for each night’s crab legs.

Within one week, Mexico Beach was ravaged by Hurricane Michael. The restaurants that we’d frequented – listening to beach bands, watching the UGA versus Tennessee football game, and dipping lobster gluttonously into bowls of melted butter – were now in ruins. The pastel-painted house we’d called home was gone. Certain buildings were decimated, others were severely damaged, and a few stood remarkably unharmed.

Thinking about this scene now, it is not entirely dissimilar to the post-coronavirus environment. The world has been rocked by a “natural disaster” none of us saw coming, and the weeks, months, and years to follow will require a sense of rebuilding.

So, where do you see yourself in this scene? Do you feel like you are the last house standing? If you are, does that make you fortunate or unfortunate? Perhaps you work in an industry – the home improvement sector, the teleconferencing software business, the toilet paper manufacturers! – that is thriving, or maybe you were fortunate enough to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program.

If you are the last house standing in the neighborhood, after the storms of life come rolling through, is that something to be thankful for or to be cursed? Here’s the truth: it is all about how you react to the situation.

You don’t get to decide a lot of things during this time: The power is out of your hands regarding whether or not you qualify for the stimulus check, the PPP, or unemployment compensation. You don’t get to decide whether you keep your job. For a while, you probably didn’t get to decide whether you could even leave your home. However, you DO get to decide whether you will make it, or whether it will make you!

Many of our best lessons and character traits are forged during the most difficult times. Like a diamond is forged when the heat and pressure are applied, you too can come out of the fire shining!

Make the decision today to not allow COVID-19 to define who you are, but to allow it to make you better! If you are working from home and you have extra time on your hands, be productive with that time. If you are still out there punching the clock and making a living, ask yourself: what are you doing differently now, that you can continue to do even when the situation starts to normalize?

It will never be as it was, but you get to create what that new normal will be. Choose wisely!

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