Hanging By A Thread: A Final Word

Mike Coval
January 5, 2021

The past 6+ months have been tough.  No doubt about it.

Going back to part 1 of this series, I mentioned how challenging it has been to see COVAL go from a thriving, growing company that helps over 140 people in-person each week to a faltering, downsizing company that helps less than 60 people.  Despite the challenge, I'm not mad or bitter about the situation.

It's interesting to me because I've had a few people irritated with me because I wasn't expressing the same hurt and anger they were regarding our situation. 

"How are you not pissed off right now?!?!"

"This is such bullshit!  I can't believe that Whitmer is doing this!"

Although I understand where those people are coming from (and I appreciate their passion and care for me and COVAL) what good does it do me to be angry about it? 

Was I pissed about the situation?  For sure!  But, only for a very short amount of time.  Then I let the feeling go.

"It is what it is" is a mantra I've come to live by.  It may sound a bit apathetic, but I can assure you it is not.  "It is what it is" to me means "here are the circumstances, now what are you going to do about it?"

Below is a list of setbacks that I've had over the past 6 months:

-I love all of the awesome people that I was able to see week in & week out pre-COVID.  The reality is that over 60 of them I haven't seen since March and it's unlikely with our new business model and limited capacity that I see them any time soon

-We're down 51% in revenue for 2020

-Between 6/26 - 9/10 my personal income was $0.  Even with money that I personally generated for the company (private online training sessions, in-person 1-on-1 sessions) that money all went back to the business to keep us afloat.

-I gave up a big piece of what is near & dear to me in order to keep COVAL going.  That big piece being the community of what COVAL was for clients, our team, and myself.  The people is what make a community and we had so many awesome people that we worked with.

I've chosen to live "it is what it is" by:

-transitioning our business online immediately when we were forced to closed indoors.  I knew that a lot of our clients could use us during this time, so this was not a question of "do we move online or not", but it really wasn't a question at all.  It was "we have to move online as quickly as possible and improve our service online day-by-day as we go"

-taking control of not being able to open indoors when I believed that we should be able to.  We went above and beyond protocol to make that happen.  The funny part is that back in June we reopened with procedures and guidelines that we're above and beyond what is recommended now by our government. 

-when we had to close again indoors, we moved the majority of the gym outdoors to 2 locations in less than 48 hours

-deciding to pivot the business in order to keep it afloat and give employees an opportunity to work for themselves and build a business and clients that are coming in to get adjusted to a "new normal" before we make this switch for the long haul next spring

All of these decisions that were made were because of undesirable circumstances.  I had a number of options that I could have went with such as:

-whining & complaining.  This does absolutely NOTHING, but create a terrible mindset for handling adversity.  Not only that, but at the end of the day, nobody is going to come wave a magic wand and change the situation for you if you whine & complain enough

-deflecting and blaming others and other external factors for MY problems.  Again, this does nothing but create an unhealthy cycle of a go-to strategy for when times get hard

-believing that there was nothing that I could do.  This is true about certain aspects of the situation, but I had a lot of control outside of that and accepting things for the way that they were and not doing anything wasn't even an option for me.

-quitting.  This is simply not an option.  I'd rather fall flat on my face and go broke trying rather than living with the pain of knowing that I quit on my people and quit on myself.

I do my best to live by "it is what it is" especially when I find myself in trying scenarios where I challenge and overcome my visceral reaction.  I know that based on my genetics and environment (especially right now) that I can be easily triggered to react without thinking.  There are things that I naturally have a gut reaction to like everyone does.

I do my best to challenge that reaction by reflecting on why I felt that reaction in the first place and then accumulating more information regarding the situation.  Then I can decide on how I truly feel about the situation and yet still have the mindset that I could change my stance if better information comes to light.

As I write this we are officially one week into COVAL 2.0.  I'm back to coaching full-time and to be quite honest, I absolutely love it.  To me, this isn't the end to COVAL, but an evolution and one that I'm excited for.

Times are tough for us all, but I encourage you all to live your best version of "it is what it is" as we continue to move through the thick of this pandemic and all of the chaos that has accompanied it. 

Avoid allowing the circumstances to take ownership of your health, your relationships, and your overall well-being.

Take ownership for you and your actions (or lack thereof) because at the end of the day, you and the relationship that you have with yourself is priority #1 and will influence every other aspect of your life and the people in it.

Much love.


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Mike Coval

Coval Fitness is a Personal Training Studio and Gym in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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