Embracing Uncertainty

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Umpqua Bank published their 2021 business barometer report this month.  They titled it “Embracing Uncertainty” and it’s a great recap of how we all feel. I recommend you check it out. The recap is on page 12 and there is a link to the full report. 

September marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I remember attending a CEO forum that day and struggling to focus on the future of my company while the unreal scenes in New York and Washington DC unfolded in front of us. It definitely felt like we were entering a period of uncertain times, yet my wife and I have been able to grow not only one company, but several since then. We learned how to be agile, nimble and responsive. 

Starting in March of 2020 all of humanity has had to deal with COVID. It made for more uncertain times. We retaught ourselves to be agile and nimble and we grew again. 

Then 1 year ago fires ripped through Southern Oregon and devastated our communities. The days that followed felt like very uncertain times. 

And Now… the Delta variant is here and taking its toll. I recently saw a social media post by a friend that said “Do you know anyone that has died from COVID?”. It was a statement she was making. It was a question about the reality of the severity of it. In my head I answered no. 

Every business and every person has been impacted by it, but I didn’t know anyone personally. Two weeks later I lost a dear friend to it. It became very real overnight in my life. 

Our emergency rooms are now over capacity and our hospital workers are overwhelmed. Southern Oregon went from “It’s not real” to “It’s very real” seemingly overnight. 

It’s easy to feel like we live in very uncertain times. The summer skies are filled with smoke, our hospitals are overwhelmed and we are more and more more divided as a country with each passing moment. Long standing businesses are shuttering forever and many citizens are very, very anxious about our future. 

Yet, the stock market is booming! Prices are at an all time high for goods and services and people are paying it. The banks are filled with cash. 

The smoke is filling our lungs and our hearts are heavy. We feel politically divided about every single topic out there. It feels like the most uncertain times in my life. Yet, I know the fires will stop, the smoke will clear, the rains will come, the crops will feed us and companies will continue to launch and the economy will grow.

I feel very certain about that.  


Stagflation is characterized by slow economic growth and relatively high unemployment—or economic stagnation—which is at the same time accompanied by rising prices (i.e. inflation).  People’s Bank published a report called “Is Stagflation Back?”. You can find it on page 22.  

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