Preparing for the Things that Will Be Different

My wife and I were watching the last 20 minutes of Angel Has Fallen on Netflix. We hardly ever watch full movies. We just pick the last part of a movie and watch the end. Go figure.

In it, Morgan Freeman (the President) says this –

It’s our moments of struggle that define us.

I believe this is true. It’s in times like this that we show our true selves.


I have to be honest. I have been on Facebook more in last three weeks. I know, I’m not proud of myself. Shame on me.

Outside of the quizzes where people give all their personal information to Facebook (which I totally hate and will never do), there are two camps evolving when it comes to the lockdown and productivity.

The first camp goes something like this –

Be calm and just make it through this however you can. It doesn’t matter how you get through it, just make it through, day by day. If you have to drink chocolate syrup out of the bottle and wear the same underwear for four days straight, then do it. Surviving the lockdown is enough.

The second camp goes something like this –

Even though this is horrible, we have been given a chance to create or do something amazing. Have something on your bucket list? Now is the time. Don’t waste this amazing opportunity.

I’m sure you already know which camp I’m in. The second…but on steroids.

All you wonderful people that are just surviving…look, I get it. I have friends that are just trying to make it through the day. I can’t put myself in their shoes. Everyone has their own hardships. It’s fine…go find a show on Amazon Prime and grab the chips (and yes, I know this is mean…but picture me as Hulk Hogan as your teacher. “You got this brother”).

But here’s the truth. While you are just ‘maintaining,’ others are speeding past you in the left lane. You’re in the right lane with your hazards on.

I want you (and I) to come out of this depressing and horrible situation like frickin’ Superman.

Easier said than done…so let’s walk through how you can make it happen.

I’m reading a book by Jeremy Guthrie called Create the Future. This book clearly falls into the second camp, so I’m loving it.

Jeremy says, “If you want change to happen, you must begin by igniting a sense of urgency and purpose.”

You want to write a book? Then you have to schedule writing every day (no matter what) and set a crazy goal on when you are going to finish it.

You want to get healthy? Then you have to set aside 30 minutes every day to work out or walk or run and keep track of what you are eating.

You want better relationships with your kids? Then you get on your kids’ calendar every day and plan a game or event (even if they aren’t happy about it).

Content Marketing Institute would have never happened without the sheer desperation of the situation. Our biggest customer just left us and we were completely out of money. I hit rock bottom in almost every category. The idea of CMI unveiled itself because there was real urgency.

And our situation is not so unique. Some of greatest companies in the world, HP, Disney, CNN, and Burger King (yes, BK!) all started in a recession.

So to create some urgency for you (if the current situation isn’t enough), let’s start with these questions –

What’s one thing you can do that will make you much better at your current job?

For example, if you are a teacher, I’d be working on video teaching techniques and getting a real setup at home so you look like you know what you are doing.

What’s one thing you could do right now if you are out of a job in three months?

There are a million free classes on the Internet. Start learning something.

What’s one thing you can do that will help you live longer or, if for some reason this virus comes around, you’ll be healthy enough to outlast it?

Whatever you choose, it should be daily and somewhat challenging to do.

What’s one thing you can do that will help you in your relationships with others?

If you are at home with your family, focus on them. If you live alone, get Zoom meetings or catch-up phone calls on the calendar.

Who are the people around you that really need help right now? Do something consistently for them.

Now visualize yourself three months from today. What does the “new” you look like?

I believe in you. Make it happen.


Thinking about What Will Be Different

Physical Events in 2020

Last week, Microsoft cancelled all their in-person events until July, 2021. Since many of my close friends either run or speak at events, this is devastating news.

I believe in-person events will come back with a roar, but not until 2022.

The Rest of 2020

My friend and I were chatting about whether Cedar Point, our beloved amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, will open this summer. IMO, I don’t think it will.

I believe most concerts won’t go on this summer and MLB baseball games will have to find a solution. I hear they are considering playing games in Arizona for the time being and people can watch on TV.

From talking to people, most seem to think that after June we will start getting back to normal. I just don’t see it that way. This is going to be much longer than we think. I hope I’m wrong, but plan for the worst.

Rethinking Education

Many colleges are already preparing for online classes through 2020. Honestly, I can’t see sending kids back to school without having the virus under control. A vaccine probably won’t be available until next year (if that).

This event will reshape education as we know it. Many small, private high schools and universities will go out of business, as parents see less-and-less value in paying so much for an off-campus experience.

Hey teachers – start building an audience online and get good at remote teaching quickly.

Earth Is Healing

There are many signs that, with the lack of pollution-driven activities, the earth is healing itself. According to the New York Times, India has been reborn.

Starting a Business

This is the best time to start a business since the history of starting businesses.

Future Voting

My prediction is that in eight years very few of us will be going to an actual place to vote. This is a good thing, and will get more people actively involved in the vote.

How I Vote

I used to vote for the person and the issues they stand for as equal measures. I’ll never do that again. I will now vote for the character of the person first and foremost…everything else is secondary.

The following was an excerpt from Joe’s newsletter. Only subscribers receive the full version.

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