“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
The first sentence of Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis, a series of 13 pamphlets – think of them as 18th century blog posts – published soon after the Declaration of Independence. During periods of prosperity those eight words rest in quiet slumber. Then when the next disruption arises, they awaken to remind us to remain strong.
The War of 1812. The Civil War. World War I. The Great Depression. World War II. Vietnam. Watergate. October 1987 crash. September 11. The Great Recession. Traumatic events in our history. Yet, we made it through these darkest of days.
Now we’re faced with the uncertainty of the Coronavirus. People are sick and dying. The stock market is in Bear territory. The Saudis and Russia engaged in a standoff that sent oil prices plunging. A global recession could be on the horizon.
While it’s time to take smart health and financial action, it is not time to lose hope. Talk with your customers and employees. Adjust where you need. Keep the faith.
And consider the next sentence of Paine’s first missive… one you may have never heard: “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”