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Jaw dropping times. Not much more needs to be said regarding the virus and steps taken, changes made. It is watch and wait, behave and contribute, and I will add one more phrase to the parting statement “be safe” and for business owners or those losing income that is, “be solvent”.

History is being made in a way no one has experienced thus far. For most, the health and economic impact is a wake-up call to all of us who took the way things ‘have always been’ for granted. The world is a bit more fragile. As my military son says, “Freedom is not free”, I will again, add another short statement, “Safety is not a sure thing”.

There is so much to learn, even at 60 ¾! I feel with every challenge business throws at me; I acquire a little more wisdom. Sometimes I handle events well, other times I experience heaping amounts of humility after questioning how I could have handled these ‘growth opportunities’ better. Certainly, life is not boring. As I ran with the Gear West trail gang the previous week, we were talking about the amazing adventure Kari Gibbons completed last week (she is an ex GW employee and now a rep for Altra shoes among other outdoor lines). Kari completed (!) the 350-mile Iditarod trail, hiking to the finish in the wilds of Alaska. My visualization of her ‘in the moment’ Alaska challenge combined with this shakedown of life as we knew it, plus my lack of a fun 60 birthday celebration (that dang- unexpected- bike crash) … are all signs telling me to reprioritize adventure. Running retail will always demand my time; yet it will be the lack making time for new experiences I will regret, especially as life throws these curveballs.

What I DO know for certain is quality leadership is crucial now, and it is within each of us to access. It is up to us to decide whether we transform our current personal / business anxieties and fear into productive steps. Just like a steep hill which separates racers in a ski, run or bike event, the positive change we must make (or not) in our mindset and actions is the key to finding diamonds within the rubble

- Jan Guenther

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