In my last article about standing out from the crowd, I mention that even when I’m shark diving, I cannot stop thinking about my blog (because something is wrong with me). Well, this is another thought that ran through my head while I was riding on the boat off the coast of Rhode Island.
We were headed out for our second day of sharky adventures, and the water was a nightmare compared to the blessing of day we had the first day. On day one, we had calm seas, flat as glass, no wind, sunshine, and tons of sharks to play with in the water. Day two, however, started out to be a different story.
When we got onto the boat, ready to take on the day with our cameras in hand, the water was much, much choppier than I would have liked. This is probably something you should know about me before I continue with this story… although I’ve been diving and going out on boats for almost 13 years, I am ashamed to admit that I get seasick. My dad doesn’t understand it, so he tells people that I’m adopted. No daughter of his could ever get seasick! I can’t ride roller coasters, and I can barely ride in the backseat of a car without getting nauseous. Needless to say, I was nervous about all of the waves I was seeing and the high winds I was feeling on the windy Rhode Island morning!
I took this left photo of the nausea-inducing weather at 7:00 AM. I took this right photo at 7:10 AM. I didn’t move. I was sitting curled up on a pile of damp wetsuits throughout this entire transition. I couldn’t remove myself from the pile of wetsuits for fear that I would get sick, so I stayed still and endured my discomfort.
10 minutes is all it took for the skies to clear and the seas to calm. Just 10 minutes changed the outcome of the rest of the day. At 7:00 AM I was fully prepared to contribute to the amount of chum we were throwing into the water by vomiting over the side (are you turned on right now?), and by 7:10 AM, I was feeling like a champion and happy and healthy as ever.
Like the weather, your business can change in the blink of an eye. You can’t stop change. You can only adapt to it. [Tweet this]
Social media is a perfect example. New platforms are popping up left and right every single day… Twitter is changing its rules, Facebook is constantly updating something that will send users into a frenzy (yet again), Pinterest is still growing rapidly, Google+ may or may not stand the tests of time. It all changes, and it all happens quickly. All we can do is be prepared for the best and be prepared for the worst.
A new friend of mine whom I met on this trip, Jupp Kerckerinck, told me a story about a river in the Northern part of the United States that was once great for musky fishing. People would come from all over the world to fish in this river because it had always been known for the ample amounts of musky for the taking. A good majority of the towns surrounding this river depended on the musky fishing industry for their own businesses to succeed… fisherman, restaurants, and tackle and bait shops… they all thrived because of the amount of musky in this murky, dirty river. Much to the town’s dismay, a certain species of mussel called a zebra mussel somehow got introduced into this river. Being an invasive species (and a pesky one at that), the town knew that this was going to change and be detrimental to the lifestyle of the river.
The musky slowly but surely disappeared, and the tourists slowly but surely stopped showing up.
However, while these mussels took away the musky from the river, thus ruining a good part of the fishing industry and a lot of the local culture and businesses, the people of the towns soon discovered that their once-murky and disgusting river was miraculously clearing up. Day by day, this river turned into a crystal clear body of water in which people could see all the way to the bottom (something previously unheard of).
The towns changed. The industries in the area changed. The job market changed. Fishing boats morphed into scuba diving boats and glass bottom boat tours. Tourists began returning to the towns, but for different reasons than before.
These towns faced adversity (in this case, they faced the zebra mussel) square in the face, and conquered it. They grew. They adapted.
This is what we all need to do with our businesses. We need to be prepared for the best, but also prepared for the worst. We need to be able to adapt when problems come our way.
I knew that the boat would not take me back to shore if I were to get sick. That’s just the way things work on a dive boat. I luckily didn’t have this problem this time, thanks to the 10-minute rapid weather change, but I know myself and I know it will certainly be a problem in the future.
Is that going to stop me from going diving and doing what I love? Absolutely not! It has taught me to accept the fact that I’m a seasick scuba diving weirdo, and it has taught me that I can get through the misery as soon as I jump in the water.
Did those towns give up as soon as they realized that the prized musky were gone? Nope. They changed and grew with the ecosystem, and they created something amazing all over again.
Many times, you’ll encounter a problem that you may never in a million years have been able to predict. How could these people have known that this invasive species would destroy what they’ve worked so hard to build up? They couldn’t. But once it came, they took advantage of the new opportunities. While you can’t predict everything, you certainly can prepare for a lot. [Tweet this]
Make a list of all the potential problems you may encounter with your business in the next year. Write it all down, and keep it some place safe. Go through your list, and think of solutions for each problem… just in case!
Again, you can’t prepare for everything, but you can prepare for a lot.
Group photo from our shark trip with Pelagic Expeditions
From left to right: Jupp Kerckerinck, Hector Salgado, Dianna Sansotta (this lovely lady provided this photo), my pops Paul Spielvogel, yours truly, Joe Romeiro, Kaz, El Capitán Art (bottom left), Brian Raymond (bottom right)