By Karlene Sinclair-Robinson
New years are always met with ringing in the ‘new’ and leaving behind the ‘old:’ whether bad habits, unpleasant situations, negative people, or need a change. 2021 might have ended on a good or sour note for many of you. Others might have experienced the ebb and flow of changes, upheavals, or other significant shifts.
To say the past two years have been a challenge is, simply, an understatement. 2020 saw a shock wave to the system like no other, from governments to business sectors across the globe, and individuals alike experienced it. 2021 saw many of us learning to adapt to our new norm. We lived through an environment that kept many of us on tethers trying to figure out when this pandemic would end. Or is this truly our new way of life?
Did we pass the test? Were we able to shift, adjust, and deal with the situation we find ourselves in now?
I am not sure yet if we can say we have passed the test, as we are still weathering the gigantic tsunami called ‘COVID-19.’ We are still learning to live with it, wading through the highs and lows of each variant finding its way across cities, towns, countries, and continents. When we think we have reached a key milestone, we are hit a significant setback like the OMICRON variant.
However, is it the virus, or us ‘humans?’ Is it that we are not paying enough attention to the health and welfare of ourselves and that of our fellow man, that we ignore or believe this crisis is just not what it is? One thing I have learned over the years through my love for history: is that ‘history’ is bound to repeat itself when we humans do not learn from the past, listen, and make appropriate changes.
The Impact of COVD-19 on Entrepreneurship
The crisis, and yes, I am calling it that, has hit many micro-enterprises and small businesses devastatingly! Some entrepreneurs have seen their life’s hard work in building their companies dissipate. Some buckled under the pressures and challenges of limited personnel, reduced client base, the lack of access to capital, and so much more.
What does this ongoing situation mean for struggling business owners? Is their client base still solid or fizzled out to where it makes no sense to keep those doors open? Too many have had to ask these very questions. The recovery for micro-enterprises will be a long one. However, one thing I know is that this group represents a level of resiliency that will see the rise of many to greater success in their endeavors.
The Toll on Our Healthcare Workers
I remember my days working in the healthcare sector across multiple disciplines. Though I was not a clinician, I worked closely with many licensed practitioners (nurses, doctors, therapists), and I always remember their dedication to their craft. Their steadfast and diligent toll to help us during some of the most challenging times in our lives were often the guiding light we needed to help us get through our medical challenges. They help us recover from our illnesses, share our triumphs, and hold our hands during those last minutes when that is all we have left.
Here is the thing, folks: my big worry is that the health care system, the very clinicians we so badly need to serve us during our darkest moments, might not be able to be in the room. They might not be able to show up for us as we have overworked, underpaid, and ill-treated them. Some of us might have done so directly, or maybe, we did so indirectly. We are tethering on a breaking point wherein these very workers that we need now and, in the future, might not have the strength, health, or mental well-being to be our ‘Florence Nightingale.’ (See below)
Stupidity, Change, or Steadfastness? Which one will it be?
The challenge for this new year, and for years to come, is this: are we willing to stay in our lane, minding our business, doing selfishly just for ‘me,’ versus ‘us?’
Are we willing to finally realize that we will not survive this pandemic until we accept that we are our ‘brother’s and sister’s keepers?’
It is important that we never lose sight of the fundamental framework that we humans are ‘pack animals,’ and so, we need each other!
At no point did we arrive where we are today alone or solely on our efforts. We all had help! We got support, directly and indirectly! Some supports were tangible, while others were a kind word or prayer said on our behalf.
It is time to look at our actions – are we traveling in the lane of stupidity, shortsightedness, and just complete and utter inability to have empathy? Are we so unwilling to change, even though our new norm is here to stay?
It doesn’t matter whether you dislike virtual access to whatever you might need, or you cannot do something you love. For now, it is essential to realize that short-term gain could lead to long-term peril.
So, as we think through the challenges we have experienced in the past two years, remember that stupidity or insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Is change so bad we cannot adapt? Should we really believe that after two long years of this pandemic we can go back to what we considered normal? I think not! Remember, change can be the catalyst necessary to advance us to the next level in our lives, businesses, or any other endeavors.
Being steadfast in our belief that ‘better must come,’ we must never lose sight of the fact that it is through our good and honest deeds that we change this world. It is my hope that we do so to the betterment of our families, friends, and neighbors, near and far!
It is crucial that we self-reflect and define our individual stupidity through our actions or inactions, our unwillingness to change or adapt, and our steadfast approach to life: is it working?
Essentially, what we do for others will define our just reward.
Just a thought!
Happy New Year to you!
(Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), known as “The Lady With the Lamp,” was a British nurse, social reformer and statistician best known as the founder of modern nursing. Source: https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/florence-nightingale-1)
Article originally published in The Voice of Africa_USA February Edition. View here: TVOA_USA
Karlene Sinclair-Robinson is the Founder and Managing Member of KSR Solutions, LLC, a business consulting, and entrepreneurial coaching firm. Karlene has been dubbed a ‘Business Knowledge Superstar,’ and “The Queen of Business Financing.” She is considered a foremost expert in ‘Alternative Business Financing,’ business development, growth strategies, credit management, small business, and start-up management for success. Karlene has been an entrepreneurial educator and trainer for over 13 years, and is the author of: ‘Spank The Bank: THE Guide To Alternative Business Financing.’ She is also the Assistant Director of the Business Finance Center at Community Business Partnership, a non-profit organization supporting small businesses based in Northern Virginia. Karlene is originally from sunny Montego Bay, Jamaica. Connect with Karlene via email at info@KSRSolutionsLLC.com or her website: https://ksrsolutionsllc.com/