I’ve sort of been avoiding writing this post. While I want to address my blog followers, friends and clients here in South Louisiana, I also want to be sure that what I write is encouraging and useful for everyone. I confess that I’ve had a tough time getting to that point. The Great Flood of 2016 is an unprecedented time in our marketplace. I personally didn’t flood, but many friends and relatives did. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hope I never will again.
So, how do I put on my marketing face and post something about business, leadership, or marketing when many of us are just trying to figure out what to do next? I don’t know the right answer to that for everyone, but I think I have “backed into” my answer: I’m going to do the next thing. That’s all I know to do.
Like thousands of others, (depending on what you read anywhere from 40,000 to 110,000 homes are flooded) my friend had 4 feet of water in his suburban Baton Rouge home. He’s not in a flood zone, and nothing has ever come close to flooding within 5 miles of his home in, well, ever. I couldn’t talk to him for several days during the worst of the storm due to cell towers being flooded. When I finally did, I asked him what he was going to do. “I guess I’ll just do whatever comes next,” he said. For him, that meant ripping out the furniture, cabinets, drywall, carpet, flooring, and anything else lower than about 5 feet and dumping it at the curb for trash. After that, who knew. He would deal with “after” when it came.
The intelligent human in us wants answers. Where will I live? How will I get back to work? How will I afford to rebuild? Unfortunately, we don’t have the benefit of knowing all those answers in advance. If you’ve lost a home, an office, or a business, or everything, you know what I mean. Sometimes the best strategy is simply to do the next thing, and deal with questions as they come. We simply do the next thing, then the next thing after that, then the next thing, and so on.
So for me, the next thing was to get on my neighbor’s boat and join the “Cajun Navy.” Then it was to volunteer in a shelter filled with 4000 people. Then it was to bring some evacuees home with me. Then it was to swing a hammer and pry bar and load swollen, waterlogged furniture onto a dolly in homes of people I had never met just 48 hours before.
Our hope is that eventually, the questions will come in less rapid succession, answers will be a little more plentiful, and we will soon have a chance to breathe, think, and pray. Most of us haven’t really begun thinking about business just yet. My friend Tim Stoll has some great thoughts on that here.
Nobody really knows what things will look like business-wise in South La over the next year or so. But that’s OK. We can’t foretell the future, but there is a chance we can build it together.