What a Difference a Year Makes

David L. Johanson |

A year ago, I was sitting in our comfortable conference room, meeting with clients, as they sipped on a hot cup of coffee out of fine china.  Fresh baked cookies were sitting in our reception area for clients to enjoy, as soft music filled the office.

This week, we did not see a single client in person.  Along with conference call meetings, we communicate virtually via FaceTime, Zoom, Cisco Webex, Skype, Jive, GoToMeeting, amongst other methods.  With change, we have had to adapt and find new methods to stay close to clients and share information.

COVID-19 has also profoundly impacted our personal lives.  What seemed like mundane daily activities now causes concern and worry.  Just like you, we are also adapting.  As staff enter our office, we check temperatures, require masks, build out protected work areas, and take special care in cleaning regularly.  My natural inclination is to greet someone with a hug or handshake to show genuine affection.  I can’t do that right now.

Change is hard.  But without it, we ultimately stagnate.  Without change, there is no adventure in life.  It takes a lot of effort to resist change, so for now, we try to embrace it.

Years ago, we set out a corporate plan to explore continuity planning in case of an emergency.  We identified an earthquake as a possible disruption.  We never considered a variable such as a quarantine, but we were prepared for short-term interruption by having a strategy in place.  The established infrastructure and technology allowed us to work as seamlessly as possible from an alternative location.

This pandemic has pushed us all to accept things beyond what we are comfortable with.  Everything from going to the doctor, store, or school will be different for a while.  We will have to adapt and manage our lives until vaccines and/or therapeutics work.

In the meantime, during this change, it is a great opportunity to find ourselves.  A few years ago, I had an opportunity to listen to New York Times Bestselling author, Greg McKeown, who wrote Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  In his book, he writes about a vital mission in life, each of us has.  He encourages us to do what we can to find the mission and fulfill the measure of that creation. 

With the luxury of a little more down-time, it is a great opportunity to meditate and explore what matters most in life.  Our hope, at JFA, is to prudently affix your financial affairs around what matters most to you, and to enjoy one another at a safe social distance.