Accept What You Can’t Change . . . Change What You Can

Today I had a conversation with a close friend who is an entrepreneur. His business has multiple locations that provide services to children. We discussed the pandemic and how it’s affecting him (local stay-at-home orders forced him to close). He’s concerned, of course, about the well-being of his fifty employees and of his customers.

The biggest thing bothering him is the uncertainty. He doesn’t know how long he will have to be closed, which makes planning difficult. And he doesn’t know what to tell his team. He’s also not sure whose directives to follow. The city’s? The county’s? The state’s? The federal government’s? I sympathized with him and we decided to brainstorm about ideas to help him through this.

During our conversation, he settled on a strategy. He’s going to make contingency plans for closure lasting one, two, three, four, five, and six months—different plans for each scenario. And he’s going to communicate this approach to his team members, vendors, and customers. Proactively managing the situation is important to him.

I’ve never run a business like his, so I’m not familiar with its nuances. But the merits of his overall approach are obvious, and I give him a lot of credit for coming up with it. He isn’t worrying about things he can’t control. He’s accepting uncertainty, planning as best he can on the basis of the information at hand, and communicating his plans. They won’t be perfect, and things will likely change, but I’m confident that his employees, customers, and vendors will appreciate not being kept in the dark.