Pandemic Lessons from Two French Grandmothers and a Roman Philosopher

Did you know? The etymology of the word entrepreneur comes from the French “to undertake”, which originates from 19th-century creations of theatrical productions. Ironic, as the life of an entrepreneur can be quite theatrical, with surprising drama and challenges.

But this is not just true for entrepreneurs. For all of us, each new life challenge might feel like a setback but also presents itself with opportunities in some form or shape. And in the process, it changes our outlook. It changes us.

It makes us grow… if we let it.

Often these setbacks attack us like a Corona Virus pandemic; unplanned, unpredicted, vastly disruptive, difficult to control, and with no foreseeable end. Entire nations of people are forced to reevaluate their most fundamental activities. How we eat, how we socialize, how we hug, how we are led, how we lead our lives.

I live in Silicon Valley, California, a metropolitan the size of a small State with normally intensely bustling activities and where traffic congestion is a daily norm. But these days, life is eerily quiet here. A few days ago, we were required to observe “shelter in place” quarantining ourselves at home. Streets are empty. Restaurants are closed. No one is driving to work in the “High-Tech Mecca” of the world. Everything’s at a standstill.

Going to the grocery store was an existential experience. As I contemplated buying a 20-pound bag of flour (I didn’t, and now wondering if I should have…) it reminded me of my two French grandmothers who, as girls and young ladies, suffered from two World Wars and the Great Depression. Decades after these tragic events had passed, these wise women still stocked 20 kilos of sugar, of flour and other essentials at a time. Their cellars and pantries could withstand 6 months of famine. I used to tease them for this, as the child who had never known the meaning of scarcity.

But now, in a few short weeks, and as our world is suddenly upside down, the voices of my grandmothers each replay their crackling whispers in my ears:

“You can laugh all you want but if we had a war, you wouldn’t be laughing… I am prepared for the future.

What these two great ladies ultimately taught me is that this too shall pass… and with it, our outlook will change and might improve, if we take this opportunity to observe, reevaluate, re-appreciate, adapt and prepare for the future. We might even dare to dream of a better future or at least one with some improvements from what we learned.

At times like today, we are inclined to reevaluate the meaning of our lives. With questions like:

  • What can I learn from this?
  • What should I change?
  • What use can I make of this teachable moment?
  • What could I do now that I have been putting off for too long?

Certainly, in the next few weeks, our routines will continue to be disrupted beginning with being stuck at home with, for many of us, time on our hands since we are not commuting to work. But once that is passed, there will be a new normal. My question is: “Will your life be a better normal?” If you are part of my community of aspiring business owners, I know what’s on your mind:

“What about starting a business? How in the world, do I start a business now? “

I agree that today might not be the right day to start a business. But since we know this shall pass, today is the perfect day to explore what business ownership might be like for you. Today you might discover new options in your life and be prepared for when this pandemic dust settled. While you might be stuck in “shelter in place” why not begin your research and learn a few things about exercising the right small business due-diligence? If you value your time, hence your life, between binging on your favorite TV show and preparing for the future of a possible life with more freedom, better lifestyle, which will you not regret spending time on later? (OK a little TV show won’t hurt.)

You are in good company if you think like my grandmothers “to prepare for the future” as did the Roman philosopher Seneca:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

This too shall pass… and when it does you could either have caught up on your favorite distractions. Or you could have explored how to start a business you own, tried it on for size on paper, and be prepared to meet opportunities as they reveal themselves to you in your explorations. Today, you could prepare to build a life you’ll love more tomorrow.

Invite to book a call

Getting started.

If this is you…
Do you want greater freedom & income
from a business you own?
If so, you probably have a question or two about
starting a business from an idea or buying one.
A critical step is to build a business foundation for
success BEFORE you invest greatly.
I’m happy to offer a few tips.
Click here to book a no-cost consultation.

Invite to book a call

Getting started.

If this is you…
Do you want greater freedom & income
from a business you own?
If so, you probably have a question or two about
starting a business from an idea or buying one.
A critical step is to build a business foundation for
success BEFORE you invest greatly.
I’m happy to offer a few tips.
Click here to book a no-cost consultation.