The only thing that is predictable through 2020 is exactly how unpredictable the year was. Two months later, the courts closed and many law firms stalled as the Covid-19 pandemic struck an unprepared nation. At the time, many of us believed the closings were short-term and that we would be working on Memorial Day, then Labor Day, and now back to normal. Your guess is as good as mine. There was another surprise last week: even though polls predict comfortable leads for the Biden / Harris ticket three days before the election, we still don’t fully know the results. And even if Biden emerges victorious, we can’t even rely on the peaceful change of power that we Americans have unquestionably expected.
Uncertainty can take a toll on a sole proprietorship or a small law firm in many ways. Most obviously, uncertainty distracts us from our work while we wait for the dust to settle. And uncertainty can make planning difficult because we don’t know what will happen and when.
To deal with uncertainty, most of us focus on its transitory nature. We grit our teeth and try to get through, remembering that this too will pass and eventually return to normal. But we don’t really know that either.
In dealing with the uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis, Nina Riggs, author of The Bright Hour: A Memory of Living and Dying, wrote:
“I have to love these days as much as anyone else. From here on there could be no more “normal”. “
Likewise, we don’t know if we will ever go back to normal or if this uncertain time will become our new reality. And we don’t have to find out. Sometimes the best way to deal with uncertainty is to focus on the now – the days that we have ahead of us and get as much life out of them as possible. Because tomorrow is not a promise.