Way back at the start of the pandemic (it feels like years ago) a colleague clued me into a story related to Prince’s epic halftime show at Super Bowl XLI:
Prince is set to perform the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show in Miami. He uses like four electric guitars on a glass-covered stage, has dancers wearing 8-inch heels, and likes to dance himself.
One problem: it is absolutely pouring out. Biblical.
No surprise, the producers are freaking out. No idea what to do, just losing it. They call Prince in whatever room he’s waiting, they tell him it’s raining, say they can just play the pre-recorded version, does he want to do that and not risk disaster in the rain?
“Can you make it rain harder?”Source: Kip McDaniel, Institutional Investor
How did the performance go? Amazing. It is widely considered one of the best, if not the best, Super Bowl halftime performances in history. The rain made the performance more memorable – I mean, what could be better than playing Purple Rain during a rain storm?
What did Prince mean by “make it rain harder?” According to Rolling Stone, “Prince knew that the horrid weather would only add to the drama of his show, which he packed with surprise covers like We Will Rock You, All Along the Watchtower and Best of You by the Foo Fighters.” He didn’t mope, get upset and hope that the weather would clear. Instead, he turned the bad weather to his advantage.
Making It Rain Harder In Our Own Lives
In so many respects, the pandemic sucks (I don’t need to list out all the reasons). However, silver lining opportunities abound both personally and in our businesses. While all this disruption and change due to Covid-19 has been distressing, or even devastating, it may also give us cover to make big changes that may not have seemed possible previously.
As consultant and author Keith Farrazzi said on a webinar recently (I’m paraphrasing): “about a decade of change has happened over the past 6 months – the disruption and acceleration of change the pandemic has caused creates a window for you to make big changes as well.” Accelerated change has occurred in videoconferencing, online education, remote work, mobile payments, e-commerce, and grocery and food delivery, just to name a few. As former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said at a Wall Street Journal conference of CEOs in the thick of the 2008 financial crisis, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
So, what sort of opportunities exist for you during this pandemic?
How can you make it rain harder in your own life? Move to your dream location now that WFH is ubiquitous? Move out of the U.S.? Get married? Get divorced? Get in the best shape of your life? Become a better cook? Stop drinking? Change careers? Start a business? Go back to school? Offer a new line of business to your customers? Sell your company? Acquire another company? Shake up (or blow up) your firm’s org chart? Write a book? Read Infinite Jest? Adopt a child or become a foster parent? Put your own children up for adoption (JK)? Learn a new language? Start a blog or a podcast?Start a blog or a podcast? Begin a meditation practice? Start a non-profit? Become an artist (at whatever you do)? Learn to play chess or go? Use the time you’d otherwise be commuting to do something amazing? Begin a new hobby? Learn to become more comfortable with uncertainty? Volunteer more (especially outdoors!)? Start a garden? Brad Feld, who has a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states, is training to run a marathon around his property in Colorado (27 laps) – of all the marathons he runs I bet that one will be the most talked about. Here’s his blog post about it: Feld Thoughts.
It isn’t very productive to be spending our time grieving over the fact that our lives have changed and wanting things to go back to normal. Things may never go back to normal. We can still move forward. In fact, we might be able to move in a better direction than we were heading previously
Here’s a short (8:12 minute) documentary about the performance: SB41 halftime (it’s fantastic).