I Did It!

By: John Hotson,
Business Transition Alliance Co-Founder

In the pre-COVIDian times of January of this year, my family and I regaled ourselves by playing back the video of our 18 month-old granddaughter’s first-ever full sentence.

“I Did It” – accompanied by raising her arms like a champion – was her realization that she could achieve something on her own – her first encounter with independence. In her case it was putting on her coat by herself and taking wobbly steps to put some trash in the kitchen garbage pail.

We laughed and celebrated together the joys of a young person feeling the pride of exercising their self-determination and enjoying the accomplishment of doing something they had set their mind to in the big world they were now a part of.

If we only knew what was coming.

About this same time I was going through my annual routine of setting my goals for the year. The Cooper River Bridge Run is a very special 10Km run in Charleston, South Carolina that every year sees 40,000 runners traverse the Cooper river bridge (an amazing cable stayed structure). It is the third largest 10Km race in the U.S. and the bridge’s steep incline challenges runners to “Get Over It” – a dare no ardent road warrior can resist.

It had been five years since I’d done this run, so in January I tasked myself to begin training and my wife Barb and I put April 4th in the calendar and started to plan the trek to Charleston.

I Never Saw That Coming

The rapid advancement of the COVID-19 outbreak has brought an unprecedented upheaval to all of our lives. It has caused us to change how we interact with friends and family, forced us to rethink our professional and financial plans and impacted life’s simplest decisions – like stepping outside of our house or having coffee with a friend. It has forced us all to examine what we have taken for granted all our lives and reconsider the independence we have become accustomed to.

“I Did It” has been replaced with “You Can’t Do That”.

In March travel was banned to the U.S. and, like most gatherings, the Cooper River Bridge Run was cancelled. One of the things I was most excited about was training for the run with my daughter. She too was looking forward to the running as a stress reliever for balancing a new job and the responsibility for an 18 month-old in her life. But the challenges of getting together in a self-isolating, social distancing world made training together impossible.

Get Over It

When life changes as dramatically as it has for all of us this year, it robs us of many of the things we have taken for granted. It begs the question, “Will we ever get back to where we were or is this the way it is from now on?”

With so much being beyond what we can personally influence right now, we need to find ways to take charge of the small things that will enable us to take back some control in our lives – those wobbly steps that we all took pride in when we were first learning about how we manage in this world.

For me the one thing I could do for myself was to continue to train for a 10Km run. My training included Barb cheering me on from her bike and my daughter and I running independently, me in the country, her in the city – comparing our time and distance via text.

My “Get Over It” moment came on April 4th on a country road, celebrating with two friends with a sign and a cowbell – instead of on a suspension bridge in Charleston with 40,000 other runners. But for me it was the point in time when I took back from this horrid, world changing event my own personal independence, as I raised my arms and shouted – “I Did It!”

About John Hotson:

John is a founding partner of Business Transition Alliance, a seasoned marketing and communications professional and running addict. He has worked as both a business owner/operator, and advisor to owners who are committed to improving the value of their business.

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