Many years ago, I introduced a new format that alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life…. even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of Lessons for Hannah, I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
Lessons for Hannah are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
Ok, so here goes…this week’s Lesson for Hannah.
As this is the last Lessons for Hannah of 2021, I wanted to share the 3 biggest lessons I am taking away from this past year. First, I have to say, the last two years have been incredibly eye-opening, awe-inspiring, humbling, and scary and exciting at the same time. Thinking about it. It is truly amazing how much has transpired. We entered 2020 like any other year with plans and goals for life and business and just a few months later everything was thrown upside down and seemingly overnight fear gripped the world and life as we knew it stopped. For entrepreneurs like me who have different businesses in addition to my family responsibilities, it was a rollercoaster as we literally overnight had to change our businesses to keep them going and for many, find ways to even stay in business. Our employees depended on us to help them in the time of crisis and we had to step up. Additionally, our family life changed with restrictions, mandates, and a general fear of the unknown.
But, we made it through 2020 and for the most part we were able to keep our businesses and lives going as close to normal as possible. As I think about, it is funny and not funny, how much “normal” has changed for the world in just a couple years.
We then came into 2021 and the world seemed to perpetuate many of the things we were originally supposed to do for the short term in fighting the virus. I know for me, it seemed like things waned on a lot longer than they should have and as I write this, in many places things lockdowns, restrictions, and mandates are all still going on. In fact, Australia literally has camps people are having to stay in if they are not vaccinated or test positive. They are literally going into communities and rounding people up against their will. And that is not the only place things like this are happening. We have been fortunate that we live in a place where we have been able to get back to do things mostly the way we did before the virus, and I thank God for that. I thank God for a lot of things, and I pray the blessings given to us are given to others who need them more.
As I have reflected on all of this, I have found many lessons to take away or that were confirmed for me over the last year or so. Here are the 3 most important for me.
Lesson #1: Press On.
I’ve always been one to push through and keep going. To find a way and make a way. I think any entrepreneur who has been at it long enough and found success has to do so. There have been so many times over the years building businesses where failure and losing it all was seemingly one day away. But through tremendous effort, ingenuity, a little luck, and a lot of miracles, my business partners and I have been able to make it. Being an entrepreneur will teach you what it means to endure. The big thing about the last year or so was that we had to endure in all areas of our lives. It wasn’t just one area – but every aspect. We had to do in business, in our families, relationships, health – everywhere. That is truly something.
As I thought about this and gained a sincere appreciation for what people around the world have had to press on through and endure, it crystalized for me. I am not sure I ever understood what it truly means to do this. What true difficulty and sacrifice on a grand scale looks like.
Many people have probably seen the poster of Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during WWII, that says “Keep calm and carry on.” A lot of people use the phrase or hang the poster up. But, now after seeing what the world had gone through and done to itself over the last two years, I can better understand how important that phrase was. Think about, when this was being said, Britain was being bombed almost every day by the German Luftwaffe, essentially the German air force. The whole country was burning for years, and things were destroyed everywhere, not to mention all of the death. In fact, when it was all over, much of the countries of Europe were in rubble with millions upon millions dead. Keep calm and carry on. Through it all, the people of these countries pressed on.
I don’t believe what we have gone through with the virus is comparable to the devastation and death of World Wars – but then I think the small business, the local gym, restaurant, or haircut shop that was shut down for months on end and many had to close their doors for good. It may not have been a physical bomb that dropped from a plane that blew up their building and business, but the result was the same. Yet, people press on. We endure and we continue to. Hannah after having gone through this experience, I am more confident now that you and our fellow man can handle anything that comes our way.
Lesson #2: The Truth is Precious.
I think we take the truth for granted. We assume people and groups are truthful, when they may not be, or they take a piece of the truth and mix it with untruth. It is important for us to seek the real truth and not just believe what we see in a headline, a twitter post, from the media, or even people who are “in charge” telling us something. We must ask further questions and do research diligently to find the truth – and it’s worth it to do the work.
We have so many examples from this year in which snap judgements were made without the truth or evidence or perpetuating a narrative was more important than the truth. We’ve had top medical experts flip-flop many times on what to do for our health – almost weekly in a lot of cases. We’ve had people that the media had deemed completely guilty totally exonerated when they went to trial and the evidence was finally revealed. And conversely, we’ve had people that the media and even politicians stood behind and said they were victims, only to find when the evidence came out that they were the ones perpetuating the crime against themselves for publicity- creating a hoax.
We must not take things for granted and ask “What is the truth.” Because the truth seems harder to come by and is precious and there is only one version of it. There is no such thing as “your truth” or “their truth,” there is only one truth. And we must, must be truthful not just in our lives with others, but to ourselves. It not only helps us live a better life, but to be better in all areas of life.
That brings me to my last lesson.
Lesson #3: Know Your Principles and What You Stand For. Do Not Sacrifice Them.
There is not much more I should have to say on that point. Do you know what you stand for? Do you know what your principles are? For context, here is the definition of Principles - a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. So, what is your foundation? What is it that you truly will not sacrifice even if not doing so brings pain, loss, or causes trouble in your life? Hannah, I hope by growing up with your mother and I, you have developed solid principles that you know in your heart and will not give up for anything. Please do the deep work to ask yourself what yours are and know them – because over the last year or so, I have seen many sacrifice what they said were core principles in the lives and on the world stage for personal gain or power. It is not worth it, it never is. And sacrificing these in your life will create much bigger problems than if you had endured and stuck to them in the moment they were challenged.
Hannah, while we are still going through these challenging times, I see more potential and opportunity for people than ever before. People are waking up to finding their principles and seeking the real truth as a bedrock to build from – and they are pressing on and creating a better life for themselves and a better world for all of us. Even at 9 years old, you are doing this in your own way – in fact, it was during this time that you pressed on, endured, and overcame many challenges to get your black belt in Tai Kwan Do. I could not be prouder of you and I hope you put these lessons to work throughout your life.
I love you,
Best Quote: Hannah after having gone through this experience, I am more confident now that you and our fellow man can handle anything that comes our way.