Celebrate the Gift You’ve Been Given

Greg's Race

This week I had lunch with a friend of mine who suffered a heart attack while only in his 50s. He then proceeded to have three more! He shouldn’t still be with us. He is because after his fourth heart attack he listened to what his doctor said (Some of us are more stubborn than others I guess!). What his doctor said to him that finally got his attention was this, “You have a choice, you can either choose to live or you can choose to die. What’s your choice?!” Thankfully this woke him up to the severity of his situation and he started making the lifestyle changes he should have made well before the first heart attack.

In 2008 Aquascape suffered a heart attack too. That year our sales suddenly dropped $12,000,000. Ouch! It came out of nowhere and was completely unexpected. You could say it was hereditary and out of our control as the economy gave many once healthy companies heart attacks that same year. That didn’t lessen any of the pain or the impact though. One moment Aquascape was like a world class athlete, tops in our field and suddenly we were flat on our backs fighting for our life. Scary is an understatement! But unlike my friend we listened to the business doctors right away and shed our extra weight. We dropped teammates and cut expenses. It was by far the hardest, and darkest time we’d ever had in business.

Since our business’ heart attack we’ve been exercising ourselves back into shape. First we started jogging, adding social media efforts and a YouTube channel to promote our business. We graduated to running 5ks by improving our programs to attract new customers while making our policies better for our old ones. We worked up to running 10Ks by revamping our product line with the singular goal to “provide the best value in the water garden business” with every product we produced. In 2014 all the pieces came together with our marketing, programs and product and we completed our first post-heart attack marathon! Damn it feels good! Running the marathon of business is quite an accomplishment. That’s how I’m feeling wrapping up 2014.

Aquascape is fully fit and healthy and for the first time in a long time entering a new year poised to get back to our old form.

In 2015 we don’t just want to run the marathon but rather win the race! We are quite literally going for gold! We have significant growth forecasted and a plan in place to get us there. It’s going to require the incredible effort of the whole team and all of our partners to realize this dream. In other words, it won’t be easy. Nothing worth having ever comes easy though.

Life is a marathon, and not a sprint. Success is a journey, not a destination. Everyday is a choice, to get busy living or get busy dying.

Everyday my friend said he wakes up feeling blessed to be here. “Every day is a gift” is his motto and his excuse to celebrate life. And it all started when he chose, like Aquascape chose, to do the work that needed to be done. Like my friend, I want Aquascape to “Celebrate Life” here on out. The last five years were a lot of pain but little gain as we did what it took to get healthy again. It’s been said “If you have your health you have everything.” I disagree. Aquascape was healthy until 2008 and I took it for granted. Most healthy people and corporations do. Every day in 2015 when I’m dealing with the pain of running a business, I’m going to remind myself to celebrate the gift I’ve been given to do it.

Here’s to you too, focusing on the gift you’ve been given, and maybe don’t realize, this New Year. Of course, the choice as always is yours. You can get busy living, or get busy dying. What’s your choice going be?!