I have the honor and opportuntity to write for and work with other commercial printers across the country. These quick reminders come from time-tested quotes as well as other leaders in print. Let’s look at five lessons that apply in the best of times and the worst of times, via a few popular quotes and how they apply to us in this and all times.

One) On Starting

“Swallow a toad in the morning if you want to encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day.” – Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794)

“Something I’ve learned early that has stuck with me about managing your day: Eat a live frog first thing in the morning. Basically, do the task you dread the most first thing. In the past I’ve put off doing the things I don’t want to do because I avoid conflict. What that does is add additional stress because it’s always on the back of my mind. If I just do it, then it’s done. Then I can go on to the more enjoyable tasks and actually enjoy them because I don’t have that nagging task still bothering me.”   – Michelle Maynor, Interior Graphics

The sentiment is said in many ways, here are a few more:

‪“The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.” – Chris Guillebeau


“A bad day doesn’t happen at 4:55! A bad week doesn’t happen on Friday! A bad month doesn’t happen on the 30th! A bad year doesn’t happen on New Year’s Eve! A bad career doesn’t happen on your retirement! A bad life doesn’t happen on your death bed!  All of that brings us back to this moment, right now and what we choose to do with it!”  – Paul Castain

“The important thing is just get started which is something most of us have a problem doing.” Shared by Rita Siprak-Weill, Minuteman Press, Annapolis, MD

The point is, it takes action to move forward. What should you start today? Only you know. You know the big picture and small tasks that will lead to the mountaintop. Is today the day you start taking a long walk every morning to improve your health? Is it time to research the next market you believe can be a growth point for your business? Is it reaching out to…? (You know…start.)

Two) On Change

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Dan Millman

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

We have each pivoted our businesses to meet new needs. Lots of change came at us and we adapted fast. Now that we’ve reacted, we need to look again, change again, and asses the next best set of actions. How will these changes improve you and your business?

Three) On Using Time We Have

“Being poor is hard.  Getting rich is hard.  Choose your hard.”   – Tony Robbins

To me, this isn’t specifically about wealth, but about time management. We all have the same number of hours in a day, but how we manage that time makes all the difference. I see people spinning in circles, focusing on matters that are inconsequential, and delivering absolutely no results. They simply chase their own tail. We had an employee that was extremely unproductive. When we would address it with him, his response was always “What do you mean?! I’m staying busy.” And he was absolutely right. The problem was he was staying busy with everything except those tasks that create a return. So many people these days are stressed out because they’re so busy, but they confuse movement with accomplishment. Choose your hard.” – Don Blais, Accuprint

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin. Shared from Scott Schoppert, Printing Impressions WV

“It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” – Henry Ford

Each business (and person) has been uniquely affected in this current crisis. So, I daren’t speak for anyone but myself. These last 6 months have been like running with the bulls, but in the ocean, with my nose just above water. I admit I look around and often think of what I should be doing, while actually scraping by in the attempt to accomplish only the basics of what must be done.

That said, now and then, I get a good gulp of air (instead of sea water) and in those moments I work on preparation and foundation for what’s next. I expect hindsight will show me a lot of “should’ves” on this period of my life, but I’m trying to also be forgiving of my present-self and just keep swimming

Four) On Stumbling

“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” – Eloise Ristad

There are failure points right now that sting for everyone. Take the failures with your eyes open. Learn and grow. It stings, like saltwater in your eyes (to continue the metaphor), its initial shock is tough, but you can get tougher and then your view of the horizon – it’s beauties and obstacles- become clearer.

Five) On Enduring

“It always seems impossible, until it is done.”  – Nelson Mandela

Row of stones in calm water in the wide ocean concept of meditation – 3D illustration