Find a way forward, even if you have to crawl

It took Mark Cuban a few moments to realize the degree to which the coronavirus pandemic has changed our world.

When he first learned on the night of March 11 that the NBA season had been suspended indefinitely, his thoughts immediately turned to basketball. “This is crazy. This can’t be true. I mean, it’s not within the realm of possibility,” he said.

Given some time to process the news, the billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks understood why this stunning move had to be made — and the daunting challenge that lies ahead for us all.

“This isn’t about basketball, this isn’t about the Mavericks,” Cuban said later. “This is a pandemic, a global pandemic where people’s lives are at stake. I’m a lot more worried about my kids and my mom who is 82 years old and talking to her and telling her to stay in the house than when we play our next game.”

These are indeed uncertain and scary times for everyone. There were nearly 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of March 22, with thousands of new cases and hundreds of deaths each day, according to reports from the World Health Organization.

Each day brings a new round of closures and restrictions as additional “social distancing” measures are implemented. Business leaders are scrambling to find a way forward, and many have been forced to make difficult personnel decisions in an effort to keep their companies afloat. What makes this situation even harder is that no one knows how bad it will get or when it will be over.

As hard as it may be to find hope, however, we must not give up. We must not give in to our fears.

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward,” said Martin Luther King Jr.

Progress won’t be easy. A recession seems inevitable and there are likely many painful decisions to be made, even after the coronavirus pandemic is over. It’s easy to be a business leader when the times are good and money is flowing. These times now are when others rely on us to show leadership and create a pathway to a brighter future, as difficult as that may be to find. We must not give up.

“Everything passes. Joy, pain, the moment of triumph, the sigh of despair,” said author Paul Stewart. “Nothing lasts forever — not even this.”

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network