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These are the words I used when emailing an old conference friend. He was diagnosed with the big C about a year ago and told he only had about 3 years.

I first met him at a tax conference in 1992 and we met up every 6 months at conferences after that. I have not seen him for a couple of years, as he was pretty much retired anyway, but as anyone who attends conferences regularly will know you get to know people quite well, that you only see once or twice a year.

These were weekend tax conferences, so the social side was usually pretty good. My table football is now getting a bit rusty and I have not had a Guinness for quite a while. These conferences went online from spring last year.

I had not heard from him for a while, so I emailed him earlier today. I was a little anxious about what I might find.

What I discovered was that his condition is stable and he is getting on with his life. He is a great cricket fan and so there is plenty to watch online. In his words “I am now sitting in front of a game from the Pakistan Super League. Also managed to wrangle my way into a number of cricket themed Zoom meetings”.

He goes on “I am trying to limit myself to red wine, malt whisky and Brew Dog ale”. The whole tone of his reply was really very positive (grandchild number 8 has just arrived) and really quite uplifting.

The good stuff keeps on coming! I have also been hearing more stories from people reacting to my earlier posts about Covid and in particular to my story about Ruby Rendall. This is part of one that I received. 

“We have seen our best year ever in about 10 years, I have gone from working towards my retirement fund to looking at regenerating the business.”

This is someone who downsized a few years ago and was getting ready to retire. He has now taken on his son and another and is working on major contracts again, worth 6 figure sums. They used the bounce back loan to re-equip.

In his own words “the future is looking bright despite COVID and I have now changed our business aims to include preparing it for my son to take over when I finally do hang up my boots. Much of this success has come on the back end of many years trialling and testing solutions and ideas to the point where one idea just happened to click with a local client and fitted exactly what they had been looking for. This should lead to about another 4-5 similar projects in the next 2-3 years. The aim is to get this into the wider marketplace and develop it at a controlled pace”. He finished by saying “Life is good at the moment, long may it continue”.

Sounds to me as if it took COVID to spur him on to doing what he could probably have done previously. He was ready and just waiting for the opportunity. The opportunity only presented itself during COVID, but he was ready to take it despite COVID.

So here we have two people about 300 miles apart, each finding themselves in an adverse environment but determined to make the most of the opportunities in front of them. They have swept aside the doom merchants and any negative thoughts and are carrying on regardless.

I think we can all identify with them. We can all adapt. We all see the opportunities that adversity has presented. But, the opportunities were probably always there just waiting. Adversity shook us out of our comfort zones so that not only could we identify the opportunities, but we understood the possibilities and were ready to act to take advantage of this moment in time despite COVID.

At the end of the day we are not just battening down the hatches and waiting for the storm to pass, we are ready to take action and are ready to move forward.

Keep your stories coming in . We love to hear them.

Alan Long

The Long Partnership.

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