The Comeback Will Be Stronger Than The Setback

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We have come through a rough period. Whether you have had a setback in your business or personal life, 2020 could be a year of the drop to your knees; take the breath out of your misery.

Madeline Ngo, writing for Bloomberg News, pulled together partial business failure statistics for last year:

“More than 80,000 businesses permanently shuttered from March 1 to July 25. About 60,000 were local businesses or firms with fewer than five locations. About 800 small businesses filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy from mid-February to July 31, 2020.”

The definition of a small business isn’t what most of us think. According to the Small Business Association, a so-called small business can have up to 1,500 employees.

Of course, a “business” isn’t about bricks and mortar but people. For example, from March to July 2020, nearly 12,700 restaurants failed. This affected owners, managers, tens of thousands of servers, and many of their suppliers.

Here’s a sad relationship statistic.

In 2019, America enjoyed a record low divorce rate; in fact, the lowest since 1971. In 2020, there was a boomerang. We saw a 34 percent increase in divorce filings. The COVID-19 quarantine destroyed many marriages and often, within only three weeks.


Hold On; Help is Coming

If the news sounds depressing, I promise that things are getting better. Remember that the comeback is always more robust than the setback. I predict the big word for 2021 will be “resurgence.” I’m not alone.

NPR chief economic correspondent Scott Horsley stated that as of January 2020, the Federal Reserve predicts the U.S. economy will grow more than 4% in 2021, and unemployment will fall to around 5%.

The National Association for Business Economics stated that “Nearly 3 out of 4 business economists surveyed think the economy will have regained all the ground it lost in 2020 sometime by the second half of this coming year.”

Were these overly optimistic projections? Hardly. The U.S. economy is roaring back with a vengeance.

Business writer Jeff Cox wrote (March 2, 2021):

“The U.S. economy has roared back to life in 2021, with first-quarter growth set to defy even the rosiest expectations as another fresh influx of cash looms… the gross domestic product now is indicating a 10% gain for the first three months of the year.”

Why so much optimism after such a dismal last year? Some say “vaccines,” but I believe that no matter what some cynical people might think, America is a great nation, a decent and optimistic nation that meets its challenges head-on. The year 2020 brought out some raw facts many Americans may have avoided acknowledging, but we are a strong nation that is always at its best when we collectively realize we are all in this together.


Renewed Optimism

In late March 2021, the market research company McKinsey & Company released a report on American optimism. Included in their findings is that about 40 percent of us are very optimistic about economic recovery, 51 percent of us plan to splurge or treat ourselves soon, and nearly 30 percent of us are making home improvements.

That leads me to talk about our personal lives. People are more optimistic now than they have been since before the pandemic began.

Though we all know people who purposely used the lockdown as an excuse to avoid any socializing, writer Scott Rasmussen for the Deseret News asked readers, “Does this mean Americans will be pruning their social calendars when the pandemic is over?”

Here again, our need for one another will once again shine. Rasmussen found, “Twenty-nine percent (29%) expect to do more socializing, and 47% expect it won’t be all that different than before.”

In my lifetime, I have had businesses and relationships fail that I hoped would last forever. I, too, was brought to my knees. If you have suffered a tragedy financially or personally, I don’t want you to lose hope because I have learned that great triumphs can arise from the ashes of despair.

2021 will be the year that all of us, no matter our circumstances, will be one where we learn to walk again. We will rise, and with faith and hope, the most unsteady of us will put one foot in front of the other and walk into the light. Indeed, the comeback will be stronger than the setback.


For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland and the Gilliland Foundation, please contact steve@stevegilliland.com / 724-540-5019 / www.stevegilliland.com.