Every Adversity Brings With It A Seed of Equivalent Opportunity

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     Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” which was published almost 100 years ago, had a son, Blair, who was born without the ability to hear. Blair wasn’t just deaf; he was born without ears and the physical equipment needed to hear.

Most parents would be devastated to hear their child would never hear but not Hill. He made a silent vow to find a way for Blair to hear and speak. For years Napoleon Hill held the desire in his heart that his son would hear.

     As the boy grew, it was obvious that he had some degree of hearing. Hill would instill in the boy the idea that his affliction would provide him with a distinct advantage. Teachers and others would give him more attention. By the time Blair was 4 years old he had developed 65% of his hearing capacity through chiropractic adjustments. At the age of 7, Blair snuck out of the kitchen window, borrowed 6 cents from a local businessman, invested in newspapers, sold them, reinvested the earnings until he made a net profit of $.42 after paying back the $.06 loan. This is approximately $100 in today’s dollars. Even though the boy risked his life to earn money, Napoleon Hill has proud of the son’s resourcefulness and determination in business.

     Blair tried hearing aids but none that would have any meaningful affect until his last year of college. He tested a hearing aid called an Acousticon that improved his hearing to 100%. Following this discovery, Blair began to plan a means by which he could convert is former handicap into a valuable asset to others who were hearing impaired. He reached out to the manufacturers of the Acousticon and devised a 2 plan to help the hearing impaired around the world. The company would hire him and implement this 2 year plan to reach the masses proving that Desire Outwits Mother Nature. Napoleon Hill devoted a chapter in his book with this title.

     Let me tell you my personal story of finding some opportunity in the midst of sudden adversity. It’s not unlike my colleagues in the business but still worth noting.

     When things are tough, when you feel like nothing is going right, it’s hard to see the positives in whatever you’re going through. Some super positive people can remain upbeat and not let the struggle affect them too much. There is a difference between being positive and being able to recognize hidden opportunities in whatever struggle you’re going through.

     In January 2020, I experienced something I had been working towards for the previous 2 years, the massive grand opening of my gym. I envisioned and manifested the dream of having 300 people join my gym even before it opened. In fact, it was 320. For 6 weeks, we would bring an amazing experience to the community and many sessions were filled to capacity. It was exciting. It was fun. Every day we were growing. I was projected to reach my goal by the end of March. For many other gyms, it would have taken 2 years. It was a dream come true.

Then the unthinkable happened. As we were approaching the end of the first 6 weeks, the specter of the COVID-19 pandemic appeared. There were indications of something looming when we first opened but no one really took it seriously. By March 2020, there was widespread fear and panic. The news of a worldwide pandemic had spread, and attendance dramatically decreased in the first week of March. Clients were quiet, where previously, there was amazing energy. Clients stopped talking to each other and kept their distance where previously we had an amazing community atmosphere, and the culture was that of a family. It was uncomfortable to be in the studio with this type of ambient fear.

     President Trump declared a national emergency and a travel ban. In New York, local schools, bars, restaurants, gyms, and theatres are to be shut down. Governor Cuomo issues a “Stay at Home” order. It was full on Quarantine 2020 and by Monday, March 16 we were closed to the public.

     Here’s the thing. I still had over 300 members. Quarantine or not, they still wanted to exercise and stay fit. Well, most of them did anyway. So, we did the one thing we could do. We immediately went online and began doing virtual training sessions. I learned how to do Facebook lives in about 5 mins. Technology is amazing. I was grateful that I could still service the clients virtually. My coach, Roland, and I worked on programming to bring the best virtual sessions possible. It wasn’t easy because clients did not have much equipment but together, we managed to keep the clients going through daily online training.

     We didn’t know how long this shut down would last so we had to keep evolving and making our online session better. We moved from Facebook to another platform called Zoom. We had to modify the audio and the video. We added more equipment, changed angles, distance, and added studio lighting to make the experience better. Unfortunately, there was still this problem of equipment. Most clients didn’t have much more than a couple of light dumbbells at home. Doing virtual session with limited equipment meant that we were repeating many exercises. Too much repetition can cause boredom. One thing you can say about our service is that we are not boring, but this circumstance was unusual indeed. Then, I had an idea. I had all this great equipment in the studio, but we could not use them. Right away, I went live on Facebook to announce that we will be loaning out all the equipment to anyone that needs them. I had no fears of clients not returning them because I knew my clients. They were good people. I also knew where they lived. The response was amazing. They were grateful. We kept track of who had what equipment and in one afternoon we loaned out almost all our equipment. With this, we were able to take our virtual training to the next level. It was another facet of the business that would serve us well for the next 2 years.

     The Pandemic was one of the craziest and difficult times I’ve ever been through but going through it trained me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I knew, if can get through that, I can get through just about anything.  

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