It was March 16, 2020 and I had just decided to truncate the backend of my business trip to LA after accompanying my sister to the grocery store. She said that she had received “insider information” about an imminent lockdown due to what the news was calling the novel coronavirus, and she asked me to help her stock up on food before there was a pandemic feeding frenzy. Well, it seemed that just about everyone had gotten the same insider memo–the shelves were bare and the aisles were littered with leftovers. I thought it best to make haste back to NorCal and be near my parents with the advent of The Rona. I stopped by to see my nephew and we snapped a quick, lighthearted IG pic that we joked was a “social-distance selfie”. In jest, I tagged it with #LoveFromADistance.
Back in Northern California, the coronavirus jokes had worn off, and the weight of reality was setting in: the reality that the current administration had not taken seriously the warnings of the scientific community; the reality that millions of people were going to be infected by this aggressive disease; the reality that hundreds of thousands if not millions of people were going to die! Earlier this year, in February, I had spent a week in Sydney, Australia with the beautiful woman in my life. On the fourteen-hour flight back to California, I missed her but I had no idea how profoundly I would pine for her in the months to come. International borders were closing and I quickly realized it might be a year – or longer – before I could see the woman that I cared so deeply for.
As the cloud of COVID-19 began to sweep across the globe like The Nothing in Neverending Story, I watched as my business and everything orbiting around it literally froze in space and time. Over the past 4+ years, my business partner James Artis and I had built a successful public speaking firm from the ground up. We had gone from one $10,000 check to doing 100x that in revenues since inception, and we were supposed to have our best year yet…in 2020. Ha! By March 18, a few of our client’s public speaking events had cancelled.