Strange Thing About Tough Times

By Chris Crouch

It was April 2011, the force of the storm was awesome, and the devastation was appalling. Everything in the path of the powerful twisting funnel of wind was almost completely destroyed.

In the aftermath of the violence, the people of the community worked together to pick up the pieces of their lives. Within a few short days, they mourned and buried the dead, cared for the injured, began clearing the debris and rebuilding their homes and businesses.

Petty differences and social status were temporarily unimportant. Racial, political and religious differences were temporarily unimportant. For a few short days, only working together to rebuild their lives was important.

Oddly, as time passed and the physical wounds of the storm healed, many people in the community looked back on April as one of their finest moments in life.

The whole town turned out to pitch in and help. Some people filled bags with sand; others quickly put the bags in place. It was inevitable that the levee was going to break if they could not hold back the rising water. It was amazing how such a life-giving force could turn on them so quickly. The rain so desperately needed just a few weeks ago was now threatening to destroy their community.

A few of the older citizens remembered the last time the levee broke many years before. They remembered the almost unimaginable destruction and the long painful road to recovery.

Every mind, every heart and every body in the community was totally focused on working together to shore up the levee. After days of intense activity, anxiety and prayer, the water finally subsided. Together they had succeeded. They felt fortunate, they felt relieved, they felt the joy of the spirit of cooperation – they felt it was one of their finest moments. And with the passage of time, they wondered why they had such fond memories of such tragic times.

What do these stories have in common? In each case, the circumstances were tragic and terrifying. In each case, the people had little time to focus on day-to-day issues and concerns that often consume our time and energy. And with the passage of time, something strange happened to many of the people involved in the events. Rather than remembering only the tragic circumstances of the ordeal, they also had deep-felt, positive feelings about being a part of a group of people working together to overcome diversity.

Running a business is certainly not the same as experiencing a tornado or flood. But it can feel much like such an ordeal at times and almost always requires that you become a part of a group of people working together to constantly overcome adversity.

Hopefully you will never have to experience dire tragic circumstances similar to a tornado or flood. But why not work toward adopting the same spirit of cooperation in your business that people use to recover from such circumstances? It may produce some of your finest moments in life.

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through