Looking back on the past year, do you feel like Katniss Everdeen, an unwitting tribute in a deadly game of survival?
Each morning I leash my four-legged companion, Ella, and we welcome the day with a meditative and cleansing walk through the woods. It is one of my favorite rituals. One recent morning, this analogy of the challenges we've faced as small business owners and the Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins, 2008) captured my thoughts.
Challenges of the arena
ONE. Helplessness—thrust into a life or death game for which she had little preparation and no knowledge of the trials and dangers awaiting them.
TWO. Isolation—left to her own devices and cut-off from community or support.
THREE. Operating in the dark—blind to the new terrain without any map or guide about the safe path.
FOUR. Under constant threat and fear—stripped of the most basic physiological and safety needs defined in Maslow's hierarchy.
Indeed, much writing about the experiences we've shared in the past year confirms the parallels between our situations. In fact, if you've not experienced each of these four things in the past year, please reply in the comments as I'd love to meet you and learn more about your experience and resilience.
Given the apparent similarities, my thoughts turned to the strategies and actions that enabled Katniss to survive. I wondered if there were insights and lessons to be learned. Here are the seven that struck me.
Katniss' Survival Playbook
ONE. Collaboration—Katniss formed alliances to solve problems, share resources, and increase strength.
TWO. Cunning—a sideways approach and use of unexpected tactics lowered risk and improved likelihood of success.
THREE. Outside assistance—Katniss received gifts that strengthened her chances of success from sponsors who emerged after being impressed by her actions in the arena.
FOUR. Grit and determination—her unfailing belief in the possibility she'd be the last tribute standing and a willingness to persevere despite the challenges.
FIVE. Calculated risk-taking—access to weapons, survival gear, and food required Katniss to step out of hiding, stop playing defense, and take action that put her at risk.
SIX. Evolution—Katniss was in a completely new situation in which old rules and self-identity no longer had meaning. To survive, she had to adapt and evolve, taking actions that would have been inconceivable before this situation.
SEVEN. Integrity—Katniss refused to turn on Peeta and claim the victory for herself. She stayed true to her deepest values and honored her commitment to their alliance, and refused to allow the Capitol to turn her into a murderer.
Whether or not you find my analogy entirely on point, there is no denying that tapping into your inner Katniss and following her map to success in the hunger games arena is a path to triumph worth replicating.
Survival in the small business community continues to be in jeopardy. Although our battle against the COVID-19 virus is accumulating points in the win column, we are far from hanging our victory banners. The situation continues to evolve, and many important questions remain unanswered. We know with certainty that we can't be paralyzed by fear, and we can't wait for a rescue that isn't coming.
Success in weathering this tumultuous time and emerging victorious is hard work. If you've not already done so, you need to let go of the idea that you can do the same things you've always done and continue to survive. You also need to stop going it alone and connect with a community that understands and provides inspiration and support (I recommend your Local Independent Business Alliance).
Remember, we are all in this together. Please reach out for your FREE coaching session if I can help, and may the odds be ever in your favor.