This is the longer version of a post I made on Instagram not too long ago..
The week of October 19th was a rough one, to say the least
For a little context, in March, due to COVID, we were inspired to start doing home delivery throughout Northeast Florida. For the first few weeks, I joined the team as we hired people on and did deliveries on Monday and Thursday. Now that delivery is a regular operation for us, I will jump in from time to time to help out. Because we had some new delivery drivers that I hadn’t met personally, I decided that the morning of the 19th I would show up, meet them, and do some deliveries
When I showed up, there were thousands of meals still out, when at this point, they should be bagged up in these cooler bags and ready to pack in the driver vehicles. I looked at our few staff members that were there, which were all management, and I said, “what’s going on?”. From each of them, I got a blank, ghost stare and a “it’s not good”.
I’m extremely literal and of course, very concerned at this point, so I pressed the matter… “what do you mean, ‘it’s not good?’”
To make a long story short, on Sunday afternoon at the Superfit Foods kitchen, an AC unit went out in one of the prep rooms. Once our team moved all ops to a different, smaller room, the new label printer we just bought began malfunctioning. Once they figured that out, which took hours, they began trying to load up one of our refrigerated vans, and it wouldn’t start. We own 2 of those vans, but a tire blew on the other one the week prior, so it was still in the shop. Basically, we had a perfect storm of complications. Everything bad that could happen, did happen. This all led to having to throw out close to 2500 meals and refund +/- 250 clients for their orders – which is a 25-30K loss for the company, not to mention the labor and strategy required to address the problem ASAP, communicate with the team and our clients, and make sure our brand was virtually unharmed.
It took a few days for the dust to settle, and for our team to catch a breath. Fortunately, we made our Thursday deliveries successfully and despite all the refunds, we only lost 1 or 2 clients from the incident, which is really amazing when you think about it
I took some time the Saturday after all this happened to really just sit and think about it… and that’s what led me to write this..
Life is challenging, regardless of the route you take. I’d argue that the more fulfillment you pursue and the more impact you desire, the greater the potential challenge of life. Much like developing your investment portfolio, you have to define what type of risk vs reward you’re comfortable with
Choosing to be a business owner /entrepreneur (like a real one with risk, employee, overhead, etc) can potentially provide a lot of freedom, leverage and a greater perception of control compared to working for others – but it can be equally as challenging and risky
For example, this past week was one of the most challenging and stressful of my entire career. It serves as the 6th largest loss I’ve taken financially over a 24-hour period
I’ve thought a lot about this, like how someone can manage such volatility without just digging a hole and hiding in it, and I’ve come up with 5 things:
1. My faith
As a Christian, this means a few things. First, my faith in Christ, in the fact that everything I have is already a gift from God so losing a portion of it doesn’t define me as any better or worse of a person.
And faith in our mission at Superfit Foods. I believe so much in our mission of empowering others to live happier, healthier lives – that I know as long as we do good, only good will come of it. Even if it looks like adversity in the short term
2. My fitness
Just being generally healthy from regular exercise and a good diet of course helps with things like stress management and clear thinking, but also physically venting my frustrations for +/- 2 hours a day in the gym is a game changer for me. I’m not sure how people vent their stress in a healthy way without a tough workout every now and then. Not to mention the chemical benefits (released endorphins, serotonin, etc)
3. My friends
Just being able to talk to a few of my close friends, tell them how I’m processing in real-time, what happened, knowing they don’t necessarily have a solution.. but just that I could be heard and there would be empathy. A few of my best friends live in different places across the country, so we all stay in touch pretty much daily on an app called Marco Polo, so I just jump in there, tell the guys I am basically falling apart mentally and feel like giving up. Then after I brain dump my feelings, I feel a bit better – even before they’ve had the time to respond. But the best part is knowing that despite my perceived level of success, if everything fails tomorrow, these guys will still be in my corner, rooting me on.. that’s one of the things that keeps me going
For many people, your family does this. My upbringing is a little different than most, so since childhood I have always relied heavily on a strong brotherhood – and I wouldn’t still be here grinding away without them
4. My experience
Drawing on past, painful and arguably harder experiences that I’ve gotten through in my life, from childhood until know. I read a few of my values to myself every day, and one of them is, “remember your testimony”. I have a picture in my iPhone notes of some of the places I grew up at, and I’m quickly reminded of how far I’ve come. Also, reminding myself of all the things I have overcome, with the help of a strong team, during my career – which helps affirm that I must have some level of business competence if I’ve gotten this far, so I will most likely figure this out
5. Other companies experience
For example, any great company you know of and admire has encountered some massive obstacles that may not have been within their control (chipotle & ecoli, J & J Tylenol, Snapchat & Kylie)
The truth is: if you are pursuing a life of meaning, whether that’s being a business owner or entrepreneur, or even working for someone else, you’re going to encounter some high level of adversity at some point. Like me, you will need something to keep you going, and it most likely won’t be material things like money or reputation. These 5 things served as proverbial pillars that kept everything in my mind and life from falling apart this last week, and I hope they will for you if and when that time comes