I was gratified to receive such an enthusiastic response to my editorial of Jan. 19, “It Can’t Rain Forever.” I was also surprised. There were two reasons for that. First, people are not prone to write to editors, or to publications in general, and if they do, they are more inclined to toss brick bats than bouquets. Secondly, the editorial was not complimentary; it took to task the weak, faint-hearted, the whiner, those who believe the sky is falling. Not surprising was that all the mail came from people who acknowledged our plight, believed in our eventual recovery and let circumstances change them from spectator to participant. They refuse to be devoured in a vortex of a collapsing economy and continue to withstand the assault of business failures, job losses, home foreclosures and the myriad of other critical underpinnings of the nation’s fiscal structure.
I said a major component of resistance to adversity is courage. Throughout history, so many remarkable achievements would not have occurred without the dogged persistence, or raw courage, of the author. “I am a great believer that courage is what sees us through, and when times get tough it shows us what we are made of,” wrote Valerie Luckner of Barrington Carpet & Flooring Design, a builder and retail sales business in Ohio. She is indomitable, takes no prisoners.
“Every day I talk to clients who are concerned about he economy because of the news. Every day I tell them I refuse to believe it, to accept it or to let it beat me. I will not let it ruin my day, the job I am hired to do or the clients who are walking through my door.” This is innovation, dedication, determination and, finally, exhilaration.
The writer is tough and persevering and knows how to survive, even thrive, in difficult times. Failure is simply not an option. She says today you have to think outside the box. Look at how you are doing things and see if there is something you can do differently.
“It means treating everyone like they are the most important and only client you have. It takes great courage to stand for something you believe in, but never is our courage tested so greatly until those times we stand alone.”
She believes some of the greatest achievements are the offspring of adversity and she refuses to sit around and bemoan the plunging economy and wait to be swallowed up in the maelstrom of confusion and desperation. “Carpe diem,” she urges. Seize the day, indeed. Bravo Valerie Luckner.
Jim Aaron, vice president of marketing for Carpet One Floor & Home, says he subscribes to the tenets of the editorial. It appears that most responders agree with the concept of treating adversity with contempt and confronting disaster with courage. The consensus is there is nothing worse than doing nothing, and the corollary is: don’t just stand there, do something, anything. If there is a paucity of customers, go out there and bring them in. Focus your advertising, pinpoint your promotions and get aggressive in your marketing. You can make it happen and profit in the effort.
Helen Marcus of Zenith International informed her cadre of agents that she is sending each a copy of the editorial to read and heed, along with a note: “The editorial says it all—don’t quit.” She has been in the floor covering industry a long, long time and the vagaries of business do not intimidate her. She is unflappable and undaunted, and she’s more than equal to the leading economic indicators. Like all of us who will not be held hostage by a recession, she is forging ahead to the high ground until she hears the clarion call of the bugler— then she’ll wait for the cavalry.