Most of us find ourselves in something of a hole right now. The depth may vary, but whatever that may be, we want to get out.
At times like this, we need somebody to throw us a rope, but because there’s a temptation to accept any rope that comes our way, we need to take a moment to consider who is throwing the rope and why. Unless we’re in imminent danger, it is time well spent.
1. A sponsor. Someone who believes in you and what you’re doing, who wants to help, and is willing to take a personal risk to do so. They may expect some sort of return, but that is not their prime motive.
2. A peer group. Those who see the world in a similar way, with similar values and want to help each other. Shared ideas, maybe shared risk in pursuit of something deemed important.
3. The rent seekers. Those who see an opportunity to profit from the situation. Those who will throw you a rope, and charge you by the inch (and often will increase the charge the further up you get.
Finding the first is part serendipity, partly the investment you have made along the way in building real relationships.
The second is something you can create if you’re willing to invest time and effort. It’s mutuality in action. A source of help and inspiration, and a chance to give as well as receive.
The third is often the easiest to access if you have assets, as it’s those that comfort them.
I listened to a lender speaking on Radio 4 this morning. I’m in the business of staying calm, but he tested me to the limit. Full of how the Government should help and effectively guarantee him both safety and margin in the current situation. Not somebody I would ever want on the support end of my rope.
I do believe that the current situation will lead to new opportunities to leave behind the money above all else, “me first” paradigms that characterised where we were when this crisis kicked off.
We have seen, and are seeing ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The people who would throw you a rope and be happy when they get you out of the hole.
We are also seeing the others.
We can come out if this crisis in better shape than we went in, providing we choose carefully whose rope we grab onto.