Friday Sabbatical

I hereby invite you to take a mini-sabbatical from your hectic Friday, and the hectic world around #COVID19.

Especially in times like these, when everyone is nervous and nobody knows quite what to do, it’s important to take a moment, or two, and breathe. Look out the window, take a deep breath, and notice the space around you.

Here are six things I explored this week. I usually aim for five, but I needed to include #6, as I hope it’s the most impactful one:

  1. Gary Vaynerchuck doesn’t mean as much to me as he might to some, but he posted a profound lesson on LinkedIn this week that has me thinking: “I’ve realized that I’m okay with ‘steps back,’ ‘micro losses’ and even sometimes failure. I don’t over judge myself and am ok winning ‘121-98’ instead of trying to win ‘1-0’ like most do.” I’m trying to take this to heart, as I think being willing to win 121-98 is a good start toward building a company without burning through your humanity.
  2. We voted in Michigan this week in the democratic primary. I will admit to being torn between the two candidates, but this article in the New York Times summarized my thoughts well. The reality is that Every. Single. Candidate. in the Democratic primary is left of Obama. So while the revolution may or may not happen this cycle (and some will scream in fury if it does not, no doubt), the world is definitively progressing in a progressive direction.
  3. One of my favorite newsletters is from OnBeing, and this week they called out a line from a poem by Tracy K Smith, responding to the photo at the top of this post of a protestor in Baton Rouge: “Is it strange to say love is a language / Few practice, but all, or near all speak?” I don’t think it’s strange. Amazing relationships have come into my life and deepened since I started openly discussing my human vulnerability. I was so scared to open up at first, but I’ve found nothing but deep human connection as a result.
  4. Here are two of my favorite business books from the past year: Brave New Work, by Aaron Dignan, was a great analysis of how letting go of your (perceived) control of your company can be the key to unlocking great results, a lesson I’ve learned first hand at VNN, and The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni defines organizational health as the key to sustainable success in rapidly changing markets. Both of them, and many other thought leaders, are coalescing around the idea that “context>control” in business.
  5. Talking to people about COVID19 is a lot like talking to people about politics. People have their ideas about what it is and how worried to be about it, and only listen to information that supports those beliefs. At the risk of some people not listening, one of the consistent themes has also been a misunderstanding of how exponential growth works, and how small differences in case #s can carry huge implications. Thanks to Brad Feld for putting together a simple summary about this.
  6. The financial impact of COVID19 is just getting started, I fear. I am fortunately in a position to have a steady paycheck which is unlikely to be disrupted by all this. Many are not. Many people have lost significant income already, and will be adding “making ends meet” to the already long list of pressing issues. If you are in a position to do so, I hope you will consider visiting, where you can help people who lost their income due to COVID19. They do diligence on each person who applies, and each person provides Venmo/Cash etc so you can donate directly. I just sent a donation to a bartender who has lost many of her shifts due to the cancellation of SXSW. We will get through this together, and I think that helping those in need is a big part of that. It doesn’t have to be a lot, everything counts.

Let me know what you think in the comments, or if you stumble upon something excellent I should be aware of let me know that as well.

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Ryan H VaughnJohn Rumery Recent comment authors
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John Rumery
John Rumery

Thanks Ryan. So far I find that staying in touch (in person/virtual) with positive, forward-looking people greatly reduces my anxiety level. Constant reminder(s) that we are in this together.

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