chameleon.jpg“An entrepreneur shows his true colors in a period of crisis, not in a period when everybody is having success.”
 — Giorgio Armani, New York Times, February 19, 2009

Armani is right. It is in times of crisis that our true nature is revealed. Or as Warren Buffet says, “When the tide goes out you find out who has been swimming without a swim suit.”

I’ve heard of people in my industry “reeling in shock” at the current market. Well, it is no cake walk, that’s for sure. Yet it also is an opportunity for us to show the world what we are made of, to display our true grit, our internal fortitude.

Most of us have depths of reserves we know not of. We are resilient beyond measure if we but have faith in ourselves and our abilities. There is always a dawn and this too shall pass. It is those who gird their loins, keep their balance, keep on keeping on, who will emerge on the far side in the best shape, with the least damage, and best positioned for the coming recovery. It is those who panic, who choose to lose faith, who choose to give up, who choose to surrender hope, who will fare the worst.

Life turns out best for those who make the best of how life turns out.

These are not empty words. In 1999 my business went through a horrendous crisis. We had a 240-apartment home construction project in Orlando that developed tremendous problems. I was liable personally on an 8-digit construction loan and the project was bleeding huge amounts of cash. It took 18 months to turn things around and every week was spent scrabbling for money to feed the monster. My CEO and I once even briefly spoke the “B” (bankruptcy) word before renewing our resolve and pressing forward. Eventually we worked our way through the crisis and better days came.

It was a forge of hot fire. The stress was incredible. I would not wish it on anyone. Yet I know that I am much stronger as a result. Having walked through the valley of fear once, it holds fewer demons, it has less power to intimidate.

Michael Jordan was once asked if the pressure of a must-win game in the NBA finals ever got to him. He replied that the questioner did not understand. It was for such moments that he lived, to show the world what he was made of, of what he was capable.

I sincerely hope that we, as a nation and as individuals, will find our “true colors” and rebuild a better and stronger economy, one with more accountability and transparency then ever before.

Closing Quotes (a Michael Jordan three-peat):

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”