To paraphrase AC/DC, If you want adversity, you've got it. Businesses have closed, both temporarily and permanently. Employees laid off, both temporarily and permanently. Investment and retirement accounts have lost significant value.
As for the future? At best, uncertain. All we do know is that certain things have and will continue to change, some of them forever.
And maybe that can turn out to be, if not a good thing, then something you can at least look back on and remember as a turning point in your professional and personal life -- depending on what you do in the days to come.
As Steve Jobs once said:
Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.
It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
Of course Jobs didn't want to get fired. But he couldn't control that. The only thing he could control was how he responded.
(If that sounds Marcus Aurelius-like, it is. Stoicism has nothing to do with being stone-faced and never showing emotion. Stoicism is a practical philosophy based on the idea that while you cannot control everything that happens, you can always control how you respond.)
We can't control the coronavirus; we can only control how we respond. We can't control some of the impacts on our business and personal lives; we can only control how we respond. We can't control what others in our communities do; we can only control what we do.
We can only control whether or not we do everything we can to make the best of what happens around, and to, us.
That's what Jobs did:
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife.
Repercussions from the coronavirus -- both professional and personal -- will force many of us to make changes. Most of those changes we won't want. Some we'll hate. Some will feel devastating.
But life is what you make of it. Looking back, Jobs saw getting fired as the best thing that could have happened to him -- because he made it the best thing that could have happened to him.
As Jobs said:
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.
Don't lose faith.
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
If you find yourself on the downside of advantage, take a little time to process. Take a little time to grieve. Take a little time to vent your frustration, and even anger.
Then decide to control what you can control: How you respond. Helping the people you can help. Supporting the businesses you can support.
Doing the right thing, for yourself and for others.
Things will never turn out for the better -- much less the best -- unless you do what you can to make them work out that way.
While none of us chose this moment, fate will still be what we choose to make it.