3 Tips For Embracing an Uncertain Future – Advice from an Intern

If a year ago someone told me the state of the world would be what it is right now, I would have thought they were crazy. This notion has crossed my mind – and probably yours – a thousand times over the last few months. 

This time last year, I was wrapping up my junior year at the University of Mary Washington, preparing for an internship, a summer soccer league and time spent with friends and family. Everything was going as planned. Not for a second did I think that a year later I’d be practicing social distancing, missing out on graduation and like the rest of the world, becoming best friends with a video streaming app. But, here we are. Life as we knew it and our plans for the future changed almost overnight.  

Fortunately, a few weeks prior to the start of the pandemic, I was welcomed to the Deaton Group as an intern. Going in, I was eager to learn from the team, a collection of professionals with various backgrounds and experiences, and also from the firm’s clients. With the entrance of COVID-19 and the massive impact it has had on small businesses I was unsure of what to expect. However, after only a month, I’ve been witness to three principles that have already proven essential in both business and life: 

  • Relationships Are Key – Throughout my lifetime, I have built relationships with some amazing people. I’ve learned that the relationships you keep can ultimately help shape your path no matter what scenario you are in, even during a global pandemic. This idea has been reaffirmed and then some in my internship for the Deaton Group. On every consultation or facilitation I’ve been a part of, a sense of care and trust is apparent. The clients believe in the service we offer not because of a flashy website or competitive price, but rather because of the personal relationships that have been developed over time. In times of uncertainty, both personal and professional relationships are extremely significant. 

  • Attitude is Everything – Industry landscapes and societal norms are shifting at an incredible rate, creating a blurry picture for the near future. In the past month as an intern I have been exposed to the economic hardships endured by some of Charlottesville’s small businesses. Being present during client conversations and facilitations has emphasized the importance of having a positive attitude and being open to change. Sticking to what has worked in the past may not be beneficial in the current setting. Intentionally having a positive attitude in times of change can make a difficult time enjoyable, and even open doors that you never thought could be walked through. 

  • Embrace Life’s Unpredictability – Life is unpredictable. That’s a known fact. But, it’s been eye opening to see everyone in society be affected by the pandemic in various ways. No matter  your generation, line of work, or geographic location – all of our lives have changed in one way or another. With that being said, unforeseen events, especially those of this magnitude, often elicit a negative response. But with the Deaton Group and its clients, I’ve seen the opposite. Rather than fearing what’s to come, they’ve embraced it through capitalizing on what they can do, instead of spending time on what is out of their control. 

Thinking back to how different the world was a year ago may be frustrating, and quite honestly, an inefficient use of time. Instead, valuing your relationships, possessing a positive attitude and embracing life’s unpredictability is a better approach to facing what’s in front of us. I’ve been lucky enough to learn this in my time at the Deaton Group and will carry it with me into the next phase of my career. 

Jake Lovinger – 2020 graduate from the University of Mary Washington where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He is seeking opportunities both in the soccer world and business consulting.