During his Jedi Training, Master Yoda tells Luke Skywalker: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." If you are a general Star Wars fan, you were entertained, and allegorically, through the movie, you learned something about the nature of people.
Most geeky fans would argue fanatically about more esoterical issues. Issues such as: Why Star Trek is better than Star Wars? A geeky nerd like me would offer a deeply thoughtful explanation. Star Trek is better than Star Wars because Star Trek is real science fiction. The series uses science fiction in a metaphor based on human reality and possibility. The science-fiction concepts in Star Trek were grounded in the science of the NASA space program during the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast, Star Wars is an action-adventure set in space. Both are entertaining, and both are equally cool.
Interestingly, Yodas' line in the movie on fear and hate has been hyper analyzed by "The Experts" on how fear can lead to hatred in human beings. You don't need a degree in psychology or sociology to understand that negative emotions typically lead to negative emotions.
I have talked to many business owners who are just plain scared right now. Moreover, consistently we are bombarded with negative messages from the media and the government. So much so, that many of you have COVID Fatigue.
Yes, Virginia, you heard me right, I said, "COVID Fatigue." It is now a real thing, or so "they," say. According to Kay Hermanson, a UC Davis Health psychologist in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, it is real, and it is strong. She goes on to say: "We know there are two kinds of stress that have long-term effects on our mental well-being and physical health – intense stress and prolonged stress," Hermanson said. "We have both."
Hmmm, intense stress, and prolonged stress.
Forget COVID, let's face it, being an entrepreneur or a business owner is already a hard and lonely existence with short and long term stress. Those who know what it is like to start, own, and run a business, no explanation is necessary. Those who don't, no explanation will suffice.
Business owners often risk everything and lay it on the line for their passion. You cannot put into words what it is like to worry about not making payroll or what a gut-wrenching experience it is to let an employee go. Many people have no concept of what it is to mortgage your house, max your credit cards, or take out loans you personally guarantee to sustain your business.
It is lonely and isolating to make those kinds of decisions while putting your future in jeopardy. In many cases, if you have employees, your choices impact their lives and livelihoods.
No matter what anybody says: You built this, You Took the Risk, and You have the Consequences of every action you take, both good and bad. Right now, fear has you feeling like a bunch of things are out of your control.
But you do have control; you have to seize it!
One of the greatest Star Trek Movies of all time is Star Trek II – The Wrath of Kahn. It is also one of the saddest because Mr. Spock dies while saving the crew of the Enterprise from the Genesis Wave. (I cry every time I watch it!)
In typical Star Trek fashion, it leaves you with hope for a better future and renewed life. In the closing scene of the movie, after Mr. Spock's funeral service, Captain Kirk says:" All is well. And yet I can't help wondering about the friend I leave behind. "There are always possibilities," Spock said. And if Genesis is indeed life from death, I must return to this place again. "
At this moment, Captain Kirk is re-discovering his peace and purpose for his life. He uses words taken from the conclusion of A Tale of Two Cities (1935): "'It's a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done before.' A far better resting place I go to than I have ever known... Something Spock was trying to tell me on my birthday. " His longtime friend Dr. McCoy then asks: "You okay, Jim? How do you feel?" Captain Kirk replies: "Young. I feel young!"
Like Captain Kirk, as a business owner, you can cast your fear and worry aside and find peace in the reasons you started your business. Take control of your emotions and your fear! You always have control over how you respond. From Mr. Spock's wisdom, I always remember: There ARE always possibilities. Like Captain Kirk, I do not believe in the "No Win" Scenario. Nothing is as bad as it seems.
Consider this: Nowhere in the world, in the entire history of our planet, has there been more opportunity for any individual to create success and prosperity, than right here in the United States of America. America promises equality of opportunity. The measure of your success is dependent on how hard you are willing to work to achieve your ends. America does not guarantee outcomes. All you can do is make your decisions one decision at a time and deal with the consequences of those choices, both good and bad.
Most importantly, my fellow Chamber Members, You have chosen to join the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce. You are never alone. Your Chamber and the Chamber Staff are always here marketing and promoting your business. Within the Chamber, there is strength in a shared experience and a conduit for information and new ideas to help you.
Your membership provides fellowship and camaraderie. Many of your fellow business owners are experiencing similar issues. Seek out your fellow business owners and talk through your challenges. You never know what nugget of information might help you. No matter what, you will see that you are not alone. With that comes a measure of comfort to know that you can not only survive tough times, but you can also grow your business. Do not allow yourself to succumb to fear. Stay Strong, Okaloosa! Stay Chamber Strong!