Humility, Not Guilt

Image by Bluehouse Skis from Pixabay

Over the past few days, I have talked to many business owners whose business is either stable, or even growing.  Many express a sense of guilt over their current success. I get it. The news is full of small businesses failing, and yet they are lucky enough to have a business that is doing okay.

A Sense of Guilt

The coronavirus has not impacted all small businesses in the same way.  Certainly many have been decimated by the sudden shock of the virus to our daily lives.  Here in Franklin, TN, where Mrs. C and I call home, restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, and other “non-essential” businesses have been ordered to close their doors. The owners of these businesses struggle to make it through by offering carryout, delivery, and/or going online.  Anything to keep the lifeblood, that is cash, flowing into their businesses.

On the other hand, some small businesses are holding their own. For various reasons, their business models help insulate them from the ravages of the current economic chaos.  

I would urge these business owners to save their feelings of guilt for things that they have consciously done that are wrong. You did not cause these crises.  You have done nothing wrong.  We need your businesses to succeed. Your businesses will be the foundation of economic growth once we get through the immediate crisis.  Your businesses will help reignite the economy, helping to create jobs and spawn entrepreneurs to create new businesses out of the ashes of this economic disaster.

Be Humble

A good way to frame this is to think of the impact of a tornado. One house can be completely wiped out by the storm, and yet the house next door is completely intact.  Is it because the one whose home was spared had some great foresight to pick their lot over the one next to theirs? Of course not! It is a result of the randomness that is a part of our lives.

So what should these business owners be feeling right now? How should they psychologically process the seemingly randomness of their good fortune while seeing others fail?

I would urge business owners whose businesses are still operational to turn any guilt they have into humility.

Feel humble that out of events that no one could have predicted, you are fortunate enough to have a business model that allows your business to continue.

Remember those entrepreneurs less fortunate than you.  Be humble, feel grateful, and keep moving forward. We need you!