I find myself today feeling exceptionally drained; emotionally, physically, mentally... 2020 has been that word we keep hearing over and over again: UNPRECEDENTED. Today, in the midst of a presidential election waiting game, I am feeling extra raw. And with that rawness, I have found myself questioning how anyone is supposed to run a business during these times. Or be a good leader. Or act like everything is normal (what even IS normal in 2020??)
Studies show that the coronavirus pandemic is taking enough of a toll on all of us mentally. Add in civil unrest and a widely divided nation in the midst of a presidential election and I honestly don't know how anyone has any energy left to give. I've personally sat down at my laptop to work 5 times today, felt exhausted, and walked away.
There is a growing expectation for businesses to speak up in times like these, whether they are well-known national consumer products or local, small businesses in rural communities. And I can understand why. These times are so polarizing, that we as consumers want to feel secure in knowing we are supporting a business whose ideals align with our own. I totally get that. But are we always being fair with these expectations?
Small businesses have taken the brunt of the pandemic beating. Owners are worried about their own families and health, their bills and the wellbeing and financial security of their own employees. They're community members just like us who are emotionally, mentally and physically drained at the constant stress going on around us. That alone is a lot for someone to take on. Are we being fair by also asking them to take a political stand?
I, personally, am a very political person. I started my college career as a political science major, with plans to go pre-law and take on Washington. I didn't end up doing any of those things, but I also was never able to get past the part of me that gets fired up about these topics, have never been able to make myself NOT care. So on the one hand I can 100% agree with the mentality that businesses should stand for something and should be vocal about those beliefs, as pillars of the community.
On the other hand, I see small businesses suffering so much already. Without a doubt, coming forward about their beliefs will bring about backlash. They will lose customers, They will likely be harassed. Now we're talking about adding more stress to a business or individual who is already at their breaking point. And when more and more of these businesses continue to go under, we, as a community, are all losers.
I say all of this to remind us all to be a bit more human. Rally around your local businesses - they desperately need that support right now. And if you think you might not be able to stomach knowing how they voted this week? Then maybe just don't ask.