Owners Corner: 1st Quarter 2021
There is no doubt 2020 was filled with challenges… just check out 2020’s own Wikipedia page (it’s all itemized by month and day). Log into your favorite social media outlet of choice - within seconds you see a meme, a video, a friend’s “vent”, an article, an advertisement – all taking you down the rabbit hole of “holy crow… is there any light at the end of this 2020 tunnel?”.
This feeling even crept its way into our holiday cards from friends and family. There were humorously staged pictures, kitschy tag lines, and even thoughtful “year in recap” notes that all played on the negative events and feelings that seemingly defined 2020. Until January 2nd, 2021. That’s when I received my last and final holiday card, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.
The words printed on the back of the card caught my breath and changed my perspective as I trudge into 2021:
“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
~Excerpt from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
I am going to take from 2020 the lessons of good that rose from the times of challenge. Especially in the core parts of Jim’s and my world:
- Family: Our kids are growing so fast. We had a chance to slow down, spend time together – not in separate cars racing to the next sporting event. We ate dinner at the SAME table and at the SAME time. We got to talk – really talk – with our kids and watch their personalities grow. And speaking of grow… our 12-year-old grew 6 inches in 2020 all in front of our eyes (not amid the chaos where we had been so accustomed to residing). Being present and not distracted was one of the greatest blessings of 2020 and one I hope we can hold onto in the coming years.
- SERVPRO: Humility is an ongoing lesson, but it was kicked into high gear for us in 2020. We can plan, strategize, and control as much as we are able, but we are ultimately vulnerable to circumstances that will always lie out of our jurisdiction:
- 1St Quarter 2020: A large geographic expansion of our business in October 2019 followed by the warmest winter on record in 125 years. A halt in business occurred, sweat on our brows accumulated, and the very real conversation of layoffs began. It was a kick in the gut. But, ultimately, reminded us the world does not revolve around our plans… we revolve our plans around the world. It was the first of many times the word “pivot” would be used this year.
- 2nd Quarter 2020: I probably do not even need to say it. Shutdowns, fear, anxiety, and COVID-19. Our business and our team became “essential”. Within days our core service lines flipped. Restoration took a back seat as we focused on doing our part to “flatten the curve” through viral pathogen cleaning. We worked with the intent to keep businesses open, bring peace of mind to our communities, and do our part to slow the economic effects of prolonged shutdowns. This was a time we will never forget as entrepreneurs. Of course, the fear of all the unknown resonated, but surpassing that fear, was the pride we felt watching our team come together, accept our new circumstances, and utilize our synergies to live up to the “Here to Help” tag line.
- 3rd Quarter 2020: It started with Arthur and ended with Iota. The 2020 hurricane season was a record breaker in so many ways. We got back to basics for a few months sending our Storm Response teams to Philadelphia, Delaware, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida in the wake of Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, and Sally. One of our favorite projects is detailed in our “Job of the Quarter”. Not because it highlighted the capabilities of our team alone, but because it showed the strength of our SERVPRO franchise system and our “One Team” mentality. As with 2nd quarter, our takeaway in humility mirrors the age-old proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
- 4th Quarter 2020: Dolly Parton’s “Here you come again” started echoing in the back of my mind. The dichotomy in temperature from winter 2019 to winter 2020 is large. It has been a cold one and for the curbing of COVID-19… not helpful. A surge in cases returned in late October and our team was back to full throttle completing well over 400 COVID-19 related cleanings this quarter. The presence of the virus had resurged and so had our focus to help our communities. It was a blessing and a relief to know that we did not have to pave a new path as we did in the spring. Our team knew the ropes and all we had to do was refine the process to make our service capabilities that much better.
There is a lot of good that sprouted out of the challenges of 2020 and I urge you all to recognize it and celebrate it. Life’s too short to wrap yourself around and around again with the disappointments.
“…it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” How fitting for those to be the last and final words I would hear from 2020? I’m folding those sentences up, putting them in my pocket, and living them fully for 2021. I hope you will too.
Stay well and be happy,
Trish and Jim Wall