After a miserable February in Michigan, I felt like all of us at Greenleaf Trust needed some acknowledgement of where we have been and some encouragement regarding the way forward. Below is an excerpt from what I wrote to our team and I am sharing it here with the idea that we can all benefit from a little reset.

When I first started at Greenleaf Trust (Greenleaf Asset Management) in 1999, I was training for the Cincinnati marathon – my first and only. Training took discipline and commitment. There definitely was the fear of the unknown. One unknown in particular. For those that have run a marathon, you consistently read about and hear from other runners about the dreaded “Wall.”

For most, the wall typically occurs at mile 20 of the 26.2-mile race. It is the point in the marathon where you begin to wonder about finishing and your body breaking down. Your legs feel heavier, your stride slows, your breathing becomes labored, and feelings of negativity slip into your psyche. In short, it’s the exhaustion of mind, body, and soul.

I feel like we are at a point in the pandemic where we could “bonk” (technical term for hitting the wall). We have been running extremely hard for almost a year now. Our Business as Unusual mantra has helped us be successful, but it’s hard work serving our clients at the level of excellence for which we strive. We know the finish line is up ahead with vaccines getting rolled out, but still can’t see it. Although March has been sunny, the end of February was draining. And, we have all been apart.

What do we do?

In short, my recommendation was exactly what the experts would tell us if we were actually running a marathon – slow down, think positively, and breathe. So, that is what we are doing as we work towards business as usual.

We are focused on the important tasks at hand, instead of worrying about the next 6.2 miles. It takes a lot of focused execution of the little things to finish a marathon. Positivity is a multiplier. Our outlook remains constructive and bright spots can be found in many different places around our business. Our 2021 strategic initiatives are robust and focused on our culture, the client experience, scalability, and purposeful growth. We also recognize we have the advantage of running this race together and are continuing to make sure all our teammates are supported. If our teammates are supported then we know our clients will be supported.

Finally, we continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Michigan’s guidelines on safety and working remotely. We will open our offices for in person meetings as soon as those guidelines allow. Until then it’s Business as Unusual.