To Our Beloved Mosaic and LEF Communities,
Woah, the last two weeks. Am I right? I don’t need to dwell on the impact to our lives, relationships, businesses. I am aware of economic crashes, natural disasters, revolutions. I can’t say I’ve ever mentally prepared myself for one. I never asked myself, “Self, what would you do if the entire landscape of your life was wiped, messily, jarringly, heartbreakingly?” I didn’t have the answer two weeks ago, and the clarity hasn’t really improved much since.
We just lost our jobs. We, at least temporarily, lost our businesses. We lost all sense of self. We lost our relationships with the people we, for better or for worse, walk through life with. That’s the reality of a business operator. Our time, our livelihood, our sense of purpose are so wrapped up in our productivity. We are laser focused on the people we are supporting, serving, employing. I know it sounds bad, I know it’s ‘wrong’, that we should have other support networks outside of our work, but right now we don’t other than our parents. As young business operators, we just haven’t found that elusive ‘balance’ and have placed too much emphasis on business success and contribution. We are what we produce, so we perceive.
The threat we’re under, of having nothing after shaking free from the debris of this thing, is absolutely nauseating. The humiliation of failing so tremendously, of wading through millions of dollars of debt, of damaging our reputation to the point of no return, of losing the community we have come to rely on, I cannot fathom. I do let my mind approach that fire just enough to feel the heat but not to burn. And we can count ourselves lucky. We’re young, healthy, and we WILL walk away from this as people, and our family will continue to love and encourage us.
The only way I know how to cope in situations like these is to ask, “What can I influence? How can I control my response? What must I set free in order to keep moving? How can I help?” And that led us to creating the LEF and Mosaic Support Network Task Force. I had to find a distraction, a direction for all of my energy, and a way to feel like a human again. I pinpointed a weakness, the lack of understanding of how to cultivate community, and decided to work on it. I can always work on being more compassionate, giving more, and clearing access to me as a living, feeling human. And this humanity is our saving grace. Not necessarily now more than ever, but it is certainly at the forefront of our minds in the present circumstances.
I really have no idea where this is going to go, whether it’ll work, whether it’ll be successful or impactful. I like the way I feel when I’m trying, though, and I choose to chase that feeling. Our communities, you guys, can teach us so much about serving, about compassion and kindness and grace. I’m seeking that guidance right now. It seems like every decision is a bad one. It all feels wrong, it all smells of failure, it all seems like we’re letting every person down that we’ve made promises to. And that’s exactly what it is. It’s the shittiest of circumstances.
I’m rambling and not sure I’m answering the call to action our customers are expecting. Here is the reality: we don’t really know anything yet. We don’t have any data that you don’t have other than our financial position. And to be completely transparent, this didn’t exactly fall at an opportune time. We’re in debt from opening Mosaic. LEF has reached a point of stability that has kept Mosaic moving for the last year. With a complete loss of revenue from both gyms, we don’t need a photographic depiction to imagine the predicament we’re in.
As soon as we recognized the impending threat of COVID-19 to both Mosaic and LEF operations, we began hitting the drawing board. We looked at our finances a dozen different ways, played through tens of scenarios, asked hundreds of ‘if that then what’ questions. We consulted with professional advisors, friends, and legal council. No matter how we played it, the options were limited and generally awful. Our first promise was to our staff, our second to our customers, and our third to ourselves, a functioning business. We wanted to know that our staff could stand up on their own two feet and suffer a minimal loss of income. We wanted to be able to do right by our customers and not steal their money in an effort to stay afloat. And we wanted to once again be able to create communal spaces of joy and exploration and encouragement.
After a lot of research and soul searching, we made the best decision we knew how with the negligible data we had. Based on the experience accumulated to this point, we have just the budget to cease operations for three months, reboot for three weeks in a reopening effort, and suffer through the bumpy first few months that come with the territory of starting a new business. We would have to let our entire staff go, acknowledging that the relief efforts provided by the states would mean far more consistent income than an empty promise from us that would likely tank us before the crisis ended.
We learned the heartbreak and selfishness during the opening trials at Mosaic of asking a person to wait in the balance while we figured things out. Never again. We’re not asking anyone to put their life on hold, jeopardizing their well-being, their opportunity, or their future. We’re not asking anyone to pay our bills ‘in good faith’ while we don’t have a value proposition or a product to offer. We have no idea what the economic landscape will look like once we’re permitted to resume operations, or when that might even be. Not a clue. We understand that our 3 month trajectory is based on a gross assumption following the council of every advisor we know to call on.
I can promise you that we’re doing our absolute, absolute best to honor you and our team. We walk into every decision with a goal, first and foremost, of respecting the people impacted and wanting to be able to look at each and every one of them and know we chose kindness and compassion over revenue and profit with the information we had at the time. Revisionist thinking can kill a man, but we do strive to make the right, fair, and just call when the call has to be made. We are young, dumb, naive, and ignorant at times, but I take solace in our hearts being in the right place. We care deeply about the people who give us so much.
We love our community, and even in this time of uncertainty, want to honor you, want to bring you joy, want to serve you, want to be a brightness for you to embrace. You have no idea how much it means to us when you slap us on the shoulder and tell us to ‘hang in there’, or when you express empathy or approval or appreciation. We’re all desperate to feel like, however transient, our presence mattered at some point to someone. The most special sensation in the entire world is knowing that you made a moment better for someone. That is our humanity.
I hope for your compassion through this time, but also understand that we may not be on the same page regarding our reaction to this situation. I fully respect your perspective regardless, and sincerely wish that everyone walks away from this with few wounds beyond a slightly depleted wallet. Let us know if we can help in any way, and I will do my darndest to be there.