Looking Down The Track: A Letter From Meghan Gardner

I was interviewed by a reporter from Thrive Global this week. He emailed me an interesting question about my current Life Lesson and I wanted to share my response with you:
My current Life Lesson Quote is “Crash looking down the racetrack”. This comes from way back when my husband and children gave me a Mother’s Day gift of all expenses paid to get my motorcycle racing license (I used to be an adrenaline junky). In the classroom, I remember the instructor saying very clearly to the class before we hit the track: “If you miss your apex on the turn and you realize you are going to crash, then crash looking at where you want to go… which is down the track.”
Sure enough, I missed my apex on one particular turn and my bike and I were headed for the bleachers. Immediately, I heard the instructor’s voice in my head and fighting all of my instincts, I turned my head and threw my body in the direction of the track that stretched out to my left. My bike leaned heavily and with my body hanging off, I somehow miraculously managed to make that late apex into a turn as my tire missed the edge of the asphalt by what was likely scant inches (I don’t know because I was busy looking down the track).
This has served me well in my business life… not in the single-minded hyper-focus that you might expect the analogy to refer to… but in this simple concept that if my business is going to fail, it is going to fail doing the right thing. My mission is my steering wheel even if I go careening into the bleachers.
With this in mind during this pandemic, I have managed to keep every one of my employees gainfully employed except for me. I filed for unemployment so that my salary could go into cash reserves for keeping my staff employed. We have moved all of our programs into an online environment and are running adventures via video conferencing. If families are laid off and can’t pay, we stop their billing but ask them to keep coming to the online class. We are also creating free programming for the general public. Yes, we are suffering financially. We have no new revenue and we are still (virtually) open for business. It’s scary. And it’s a lot of work trying to figure out how to keep going. But at least if we crash, we crash doing the right thing. This doesn’t make it easier. Just a whole lot clearer.
A number of our hero parents (and that’s exactly what they are – heroes) have reached out and are donating their vacation credits and unused tuition to other parents who are unable to pay for classes or camp. This is dearly appreciated. We are a small for-profit benefit company so we cannot apply for grants to help our families who cannot afford our services. We just absorb the cost. So every time one of you dedicates your credit or tuition to our other families, you aren’t just helping that family, you are also helping keep our small business alive.
So I thank you – each of you – who are helping out others and who are helping us in this difficult time. You are truly the definition of a community in how you reach out to help people (some of whom you have never met) out of kindness and compassion.
If you are a family who wishes to donate your credit or unused tuition – or if you are a family that needs help with your tuition – please reach out.
Thank you so much for your support.
Meghan Gardner
Guardian Adventures

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