"When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity" ~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959 Nearly a month ago a small tornado ripped through the sleepy town of Dexter, MI. As with most tornados, it arrived with little warning and plowed a path of destruction that stretched over 10 miles, upending trees, houses and the lives of the people who live and work there.
Dexter also happens to be the city just north west of where I live.
And its where I keep my horse.
By nothing short of a miracle, the tornado missed the barn by less than ¼ of a mile. The night the tornado unleashed its fury I got a text from the barn manager to say that despite the 135 mph winds, all people, animals and property were safe.
I happen to believe in miracles, and that was certainly one of them!
The next morning I yanked on my boots, hopped in my car and headed out there to double check on my horse.
As I approached the little town, the first sight of damage I saw was that it looked like someone had emptied 100 dumpsters worth of trash onto the branches of trees. The damage got worse as I drove on. It looked like a war zone and I felt like as if I was part of some kind of horror movie set on a Hollywood backlot.
King Kong had stepped on a car wash building and squashed it flat as a pancake.
A restaurant had its whole top floor ripped off.
Cars were overturned or wedged into the side of buildings. Homes destroyed beyond recognition.
A somber parade of more than 30 huge landscaping trucks shuddered past me to begin the mammoth clean up task.
As I sat in the traffic jam, I felt sick to my stomach thinking about the local business owners. Dexter has a thriving small business community, but how many would have planned for this kind of catastrophic event? Very few was my guess. Most would have woken up that day thinking it was just going to be a regular, old Thursday. Now, in one foul swoop their incomes had been severed, their homes damaged, and they had no idea when they’d next receive another paycheck ….
Except for one little business, that is.….
Which just so happens to be my favorite little coffee hut out there.
As I approached the lot where the coffee hut was located, I noticed that unlike the rest of Dexter (which understandably was in a total state of shock and mourning), the place was a hive of activity. The vibe, very upbeat. Everywhere I looked there were people – in cars, out of cars, directing traffic, talking to each other…there was laughter even - police officers, landscaping crews, rescue crews, locals, volunteers…
In fact, you could say the place was rocking.
I also noticed that everyone seemed to be drinking coffee!
Turns out the little hut had survived the tornado but had no power or water.
That would have been enough to keep most businesses shut.
Not this little business.
The owner had brought in a mobile truck complete with generator, a portable espresso machine and a cash register. And someone had been up baking carrot cake muffins that were being handed out left, right and center. Extra staff had been called in to help, and they were taking, and making coffee orders like crazy.
Never mind that the parking lot was strewn with debris, or had huge potholes which a mini could get lost in. The staff were running around, taking orders, bringing coffees, boosting morale.
Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!
On one day I’m sure that little business made more money in a 24 hour period then it did the whole month prior.
That takes some “hootzpah, and some fierce bulldog determination to succeed no matter what. I don’t know that owner, he isn’t part of any of my coaching groups at the Client Stampede, but I’m going to seek him out to hopefully interview him on how to thrive despite mountain sized obstacles
Reminds me of another favorite quote of mine…
"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of equal or greater opportunity" - Napolean Hill