An Entrepreneur’s Take on Creating During Crisis

Luke Dooley

Luke is President at OCEAN Programs.

We’re living in an unprecedentedly unique time for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. We’ll never forget the days we’re currently living, and I do not minimize the hardship and stress. But as the president of a business accelerator for start-up companies, I can’t help but notice the innate wiring God has designed in us for moments just like this.

We’ve created new terms like social distancing and self-isolation. We’ve created new rhythms and patterns in our life. We’ve created new ways of staying fit. We’ve created new ways of worshiping. We’ve created new ways of doing our work and connecting with people. I gathered with nine of my close friends last night for a bourbon tasting—in front of my computer on a Zoom call. Oh, and the memes. We’ve created so many memes that have become a source of great levity in many group text threads in my house.

This is what we do. We create. We can’t help ourselves. We’re hardwired, hand-built, wonderfully created to create. It’s because we’re fashioned in the image of the Creator. The One who breathes new life into dust, speaks cosmos into existence, and never ceases in making all things new.

He created. He creates. We’re created. We create.

These days of tumult will be long remembered. Historians will write about the 2019/2020 pandemic. There will be books and articles and podcasts that catalog the highlights and the lowlights of this cultural moment.

Here’s my question:

What will mark our personal memories of this season? When we look back, will we have feelings of regret because our memories are marked by fear, anxiety, sloth, mis-living, ineffectiveness, gluttony, social media swamps, and Netflix binging?

Or—

Will we remember these days as ones we resolved to embrace the moment and extract from each day the unique blessing and opportunity this season brings?

“If only I could work from home where I could create my own pace.”
“If only I didn’t have a commute.”
“If only I could stop working so much on the daily work of my business so I could work on the underlying foundation and future strategy.”
“I wish I had more time at home with my kids.”
“I wish my spouse and I shared a common schedule.”
“I wish life would slow down so I could enjoy the little things more.”
“I wish I had more time for prayer, worship, scripture.”
“I wish buying toilet paper was more like a scavenger hunt.”

Not sure about you, but these are all things I’ve dreamed about as a husband, father, leader, and follower of Jesus. There will be much loss in this season we’re in, but I believe opportunity abounds.

Maybe you don’t feel much hope right now. Maybe the entrepreneur mindset of turning need into innovation doesn’t feel like your sweet spot. Wherever you are on the spectrum of wrecked to inspired, we will all have rough days. There is a tool each of us can tap into for help.

Last week, I could feel myself being pulled into the warp zone; fear, anxiety, loss, unproductive hours, woe are we. Then I looked at my bookshelf and saw a daily devotional focused on gratitude and the daily riches of God’s grace in our lives (One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp). I picked it up, started reading this morning, and found myself immediately rooted in gratitude and grace.

Our mindset matters now, maybe more than ever.

Gratitude is central to our ability to make the most of this moment. Find gratitude in the midst of the storm. As Ann reminds in the opening of her book: it is by leaning straight into the wind, we are able to take flight.

Waters rage. Uncertainty swells. The wind batters. The storm takes on the form of CNN, FoxNews, Twitter, Facebook, and empty grocery store shelves.

And in the midst of all those things, we have the ability to give thanks, to find hope, and to order our days. We can embrace our role as co-creators with the Author of all things as he makes all things new.

I saw these words this week and can’t escape them: “Old Keys Won’t Open New Doors.” As we pray and accept daily gratitude, may we fashion new keys and unlock love, grace, creativity, innovation, rhythms, neighboring, in ways unimaginable prior to thinking that Corona was anything other than a sub-standard, but well-marketed beer.

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