What will happen once we get out of this Pandemic…. It is something which is lingering in all of our minds. Upon reasoning I have been able to put matters into perspective in two different ways: there are nature- and man-made crises.
Let’s face it, what we are living today seems rather unique! We have all heard of the Black Death (also known as The Plague), which killed an estimated 75–200 million people in the 14th century. The Plague, as well as Corona today are not manmade but rather an effect of nature. Still, people can try to prevent expansion by behaving responsibly, and most of our governments are urging us to take our responsibility.
However, the Plague was such a long time ago, and fortunately our medical knowledge has come so far since that we do not have to fear a similar devastating number of victims. We now have great hospitals, doctors, scientists and medical care working 24/7 trying to limit the effects of such disaster.
Now I’d like to talk about a different type of crisis that has strongly affected the world and its economy. I’m referring to the type created by man, such as the world wars, which also led to millions of victims, disrupted families, poverty and loss of businesses.
When looking at that part of history, there’s one thing that strikes me most: the resilience of people. Through this resilience people have gotten back on their feet and businesses have been able to deal with these crises too!
I’m a second generation child of holocaust survivors and living proof of my parents’ and grandparents’ resilience. My mother’s parents fought very hard until the very end, but did not survive the war. My grandmother passed away one day after having been liberated, exhausted with nothing left to give. My father and his parents hid in Amsterdam, and fortunately they did survive.
The crisis that we are living today is a very different one. We are indeed in confinement, but we are not hiding, most of us are healthy and safe, we are eating well, can go outside every now and then, have the tools to continuously communicate with the outside world and we know that there will be an end in sight.
I’m writing this because before the war my grandparents had a successful wholesale company in chocolate, hence my love for that delicious food. In 1941 they were forced to sell it, as Jews were not Aryan and were no longer allowed to keep a business. However, after the war my grandparents built up a company again from scratch despite all the horrors they survived, purely through their resilience.
Only one month before Amsterdam was liberated, my grandfather Eduard Sajet wrote a new business plan whilst still in hiding. He started this plan on April 3rd 1945 when he felt that liberation was getting closer. He literally wrote: ‘For a long time I have been doubting whether I wanted to write about what happened to our firm that was forced to be given to Aryans. And about whether I can use the experiences that I obtained to write my plan for our new firm today’.
He did not yet realise then that most of his family would never return, and in what state he would be once the war ended. Which actually happened on my father’s 12th birthday, May 5th 1945. But what he did know was that he had to start planning for the future of his family! He built a new business that allowed him to take care of his family, and even the biggest crisis that no one could have ever imagined did not prevent him from becoming successful again!
This is only one of many stories of people and businesses that have survived a major crisis.
So let’s get back to where we are today. Most of our businesses are likely to be suffering from the current Corona crisis. Resilience means that you can be strong and have the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Nothing is stopping you from writing a new chapter! “Never waste a good crisis”, boost your creativity, write down all your ideas, create plans and follow your dreams…. And most important: ‘Keep looking up… That’s the secret of life’!
We are of course very interested to hear your thoughts on this subject. React through LinkedIn or send us a mail so that we can start the conversation!
Stay safe and healthy at home!