This week I had the awesome opportunity to hear a keynote speech from Jason Redman. Jason is a retired U.S. Navy Seal. On September 13, 2007, during a special operations mission, Redman was struck by machine gun fire. It first hit him in the left elbow, then in the right side of his face, entering his jaw and exiting through his nose. At the time he was acting as the Assault Force Commander. Their mission was to capture a "high-value Al-Qaeda operative”. In all, Redman was shot seven times to the face and arms. Over the course of the next 5 years Jason underwent 37 surgeries.
While Redman was recovering, he hung up a sign on his hospital door. It read:
Attention to all who enter here. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.
It was signed, "The Management." The sign attracted then-President George W. Bush, and Redman had the chance to meet him in the Oval Office. Jason is now a published author and public speaker.
In Jason’s keynote he told us that life ambushes happen to us all, it’s how we handle it that matters. He encouraged us to use his letter as inspiration and write our own declaration. We cannot control the progression of COVID-19, but we can control how we react to it. So, here’s my declaration, inspired by Jason’s letter:
Attention All: If you are feeling sorry for our business during this difficult time, please don’t. Yes, we have been facing heartbreak and disappointment recently, but only because we have the incredible blessing of having a job we love, serving people we love, in a community we love. We are incredibly tough and we will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute, utmost, that we have the ability to recover. Then we will push about 20% further through perseverance and faith. This studio is a place of resilience, fun, optimism, and intense growth. If you are not prepared for that, then this isn’t the place for you.
The Expressions Dance Staff
I encourage each of you to write a declaration of resilience for your own business. Yes, this is hard, but we get to decide whether we give up or press forward. Stay strong friends, no storm ever lasted forever.