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How It Started vs. How It's Going

In 2020, a Twitter user posted two images of their relationship side by side - the first from when their girlfriend first reached out to them through a private message, and the second of the two of them embracing in front of a mirror.


The images were labelled "How It Started" and "How It Ended," but the trend quickly went viral with people using two sequential images labelled 'How It Started' and 'How It's Going.'


For the most part these images illustrated a funny contrast - most users turned the second image into a self-deprecating joke about a relationship ending. Others made the trend more wholesome, showing a younger photograph of themselves at the start of their dream career, and a more recent 'how it's going' photograph after reaching a huge accomplishment.


It may seem like a silly internet trend, but when it comes to business ownership there's a wisdom here that's worth noting.


Entrepreneurs have spent the past two years now weathering an impossibly difficult storm. Closures, restrictions, and cautious spending have forced business owners to pivot repeatedly just to stay afloat, let alone achieve any sort of success in this time.


Simply put, if your business has managed to survive this pandemic at all, it's an accomplishment to be proud of. If you've had any sort of success or growth in the last 2 years, all the more so.


If you're out of gas, and exhausted by the prospect of goal setting for 2022, take a step back, then another step, and then another after that.


Look at how your business started. Perhaps it was the spark of an idea, or a suggestion from a friend or loved one. Maybe it was the culmination of a lifelong dream, or maybe it started out of necessity after finishing school. You may have started with a loan, or it might have been an investment of your savings.


No matter how it started, that's likely a very different look from how it's going today. If your business has grown at all from those early days, even if the past two years have been more stagnant, take a moment to appreciate how it's going.


Then, if you're in a better mindset for goal setting, turn today into your new 'how it started.' Someday the worst of this pandemic will be over, and when businesses can grow without the constant threat of shutdowns and restrictions, you can look back on today as another "how it started" and realize with tremendous pride 'how it's going.'


And now, if you'll indulge me for a moment...


How It Started (c. 1992)

1990s reporters notebook with Shaun Bernstein in childhood scrawl writing on the front cover

How It's Going (2022)

A look at Shaun's current website for The Write Stuff Agency