As we begin to emerge from the whole COVID-19 malaise, it seems that a quick look back over the past few months is in order. For us, a tiny itty bitty company, the quarantine was everything from scary to frustrating and from paralyzing, to invigorating. While we address a sizable global market, it is a very specialized and niche market that few outside of it understand well, or well enough to take a risk. And for all the talk of minorities and continued VC activity, I believe that the activity is mainly in existing investments, or to BLM types,, and that for those of us not in those categories, the COVID lull is real.
The shutdown was frustrating and truly worrisome. Thankfully we were able to get some PPP funding and have managed well. We were also able to get some movement and positive momentum (yay for us), but it took some time and it was not without some trepidation. In the end, for us, COVID ended up being the same for a start up as, well being a start up. Business as usual- e.g. looking for cash, focused for traction, long days, etc.- except everyone was in our shoes for a few months (and many still are).
On a personal level, for me (co-founder and patent holder), this period has proven, and not for the first time, that we make our own luck and that hard work often pays off at the strangest of times. Some background may be in order. While it has been some time, it is only in the past year that I have fully recovered from losing my eldest son and wife (as in Rest In Peace). That family drama has taken years to go its full course. I am not sure that I could have done much differently, or healed faster, due to the severity of the loss. This was one of those body blows that life hands you every so often that bring you to your knees and that take time and a lot of purposeful action to recover from. Getting up this time was by no means guaranteed or easy.
As part of my overall recovery I have been staying fit and last year decided to simplify my life and focus on my big three areas- my family, my businesses, and my health. As an ex-NCAA runner (in a galaxy far far away), I started with what I know for sure works for me- racing. It has been over a quarter century since I ran my last competitive triathlon and I do not look like a runner today- maybe more like a half back in the NFL. So a straight foot race was not something I could be competitive in, even for my age group, or challenging enough. I have already run almost every distance, except an ultra, and that seems a bit of a reach for me at this stage. I settled on a Spartan Beast (half marathon) and have that coming up in Seattle this September. While I have never done an OCR before, based on my personal experience and my current training, I believe that I will make a strong run for my age group. Big goals, big miles.
As mentioned before, my days are currently simply three things. I exercise a lot, and by a lot I mean hours per day, I work a ton and I spend time with my family. Family time is so important especially after all that we have been through. My son and I are both training so it is nice to be able to do cool things like go climb a fourteener because, hey we both can, and can do it anytime since we are both very fit. The hours spent exercising have been incredibly good for the business for many reasons, but the main two are that my overall health and energy is through the roof. My focus is very clear as well and running / exercising at the levels that I am are allowing me to think about the priorities for the business more and in a more focused manner. No distractions- no email, no calls, just you and your planning. I am then able to process the ideas and plan through priorities while exercising and then execute efficiently as strategies are clear and well thought through.
I believe everyone has a core, a process. The times in life when I have been excellent at my work is when I obey my core. I believe that to be true for everyone and that when you obey your inner self, you have great success. You have to honor the process, whatever that may be for you. It’s how I get back to 4:30 am wake up times, personal growth, and business excellence. As bad as CVOID 19 has been, I am grateful it has forced me back to my core. I am very hopeful for the future.