We thought we weren’t gonna make it
With all of the economic uncertainty looming with today’s COVID craziness, I feel like I’m watching a tsunami approaching – it’s coming fast, and growing quickly. I have no idea when it will get here, how hard it will hit, or how long the flooding will last, and I have no way to escape. But wait … I’ve seen this movie before.
In 2007, Bryan and I had this crazy idea to change the world – well at least the world of corporate wellness. We would be the first to divert from the traditional programs that were comprised solely of biometrics, health assessments, and coaching, and we would focus on driving massive engagement by gamifying wellness, and creating social connectivity – we had a dream of creating programs people love and WANT to take part in. But we had no idea the economic tsunami of 2008 was looming.
Radical ideas and unbridled enthusiasm weren’t enough. We needed money – we had enough in the bank to get us by for a little while, but not nearly enough to form a legitimate company. We set out to get funding, but no one understood what we were trying to do. Door-after-door was slammed behind us with puzzled looks and remarks like, “Why don’t you just do biometrics, coaching, and a health assessment?”
And then they were there. Ten former NFL players who were looking for something innovative to invest in, and they “got us.” They really GOT us! Papers were signed, Bryan and I got married, and we snuck in a quick honeymoon at a cheap resort in Cancun before getting home to set our plan in action – and WHAM. In what seemed like seconds, the Great Recession of 2008 hit smack-dab in the middle of our honeymoon. We were no longer getting a term sheet – worse yet, we were in deep trouble.
No one was investing – no one was buying. We kept building – kept forging ahead – but for what? And for whom? We had two kids about to go to college, lost every investment we had, sold the “cool” car and bought a beater, and realized we had about 3 months’ worth of money in the bank before we’d be out. Completely broke with nothing left to sell, and still the economy grew worse. We were terrified.
I won’t take you step-by-step through the timeline like a slow, sappy movie might – but clearly, we made it. Never did take any investment money (a great thing now!), but grew organically to be one of the top players in our category.
This story isn’t to brag. It’s to tell you that YES – clearly the physical devastation of the COVID crisis is real – and we might be facing a tsunami of economic devastation as well – then again, we might not. It’s all the uncertainty wrapped around when, how much, and when it will be over that’s tough to take, for me at least. But I hope you’ll be inspired that as terrifying as 2008 was, we WILL make it through. It may not (probably won’t) look like the “normal” we had before all of this, but we will make it through. We’ll all know people affected in many ways. We’ll all feel loss, panic, grief, and devastation. But we’ll make it.
We’re in a world of “new normal” right now, but the “new-new normal” is ahead of us. Be safe. Try to stay positive and productive. Help anyone and everyone you can. The more we can try to continue with business as “usual” (ha), the better off we’ll all be.
See you in the new-new normal.
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