What if We Rethink “Essential”?

I’ve seen this posted on social media lately… “The word ‘essential’ implies that my goals, dreams, ambitions… that my purpose is not ‘essential’ which basically means I have no value.”

Now before you jump on the whole bandwagon of “what you do doesn’t determine your worth” try to see the truth in that statement. I doubt the powers that be could have come up with better terminology to describe those life-sustaining businesses that supply food, cleaning products and toilet paper and separate out the businesses that don’t offer those things. But at any rate, the adoption of that term has re-defined for many people what has value and what does not.

And since it only takes 21 days to create a new habit, now it’s become “normal” for consumers to easily identify “essential” vs. “non-essential” goods, and easier for them to choose not to invest in anything in the new “non-essential” category.

Which will ruin millions of lives… and here’s why.

Unfortunately many small businesses that have found themselves “unessential” have started to question their value. As a business owner myself, I understand how integrated our personal self-worth is in what we do. We’re not “worker bees.” We are ingrained in every aspect of our businesses.

Your businesses is the outside representation of your heart and soul. And for someone to basically call your business “worthless,” well, it’s no wonder business owners are ready to throw in the towel, give up and close their doors forever.

But what if we rethink what’s “essential?”

Consider these scenarios…

What if that pair of earrings you saw in that boutique matched the eyes of a dear friend and made her feel beautiful, when her abusive husband is calling her ugly day in and day out that she’s trapped with him? Could the truth those earrings represent actually save her life?

What if that collectible figure represents a favorite character the nerd identifies with and signifies he’s not alone in this world… that someone understands him? Could that build his self-confidence to apply for that new job?

What if the fidget toy given to a child offers his exhausted mother a much-needed break, when she’s on her last nerve and poised to do something she will regret? Will it keep her from hitting her child out of desperation?

What if the dress hanging in the boutique window reminded that teen of a special event in the future that’s something worth looking forward to, and pushes back her depression one more day? Would it be worth it to see her smile?

What if that ice cream treat encouraged the worn-out parent’s kids to behave during his work conference call? Would it be worth risking a drive-thru and letting the kid run off steam in the local park… if it meant dad got to keep his job?

What if those dance shoes encouraged the little girl to not give up on her dreams, when all she sees right now is despair and lack of hope for ever getting back to “normal” life? Would that give her something to aspire to and help her develop goals?

What if that game brings your family together and gets their noses out of their phones? Would the resulting conversation and building of your relationships be worth the investment?

What if that puzzle challenges the Alzheimer’s patient and helps her brain develop new pathways that gives her a longer, more vibrant life? Would it be worth it to her to see her great-grandkids smile one more time… and know who they are?

What if the craft kit and supplies gives your entire family something to do together, stimulates your creativity and helps your kids with basic life skills like problem solving? Would that investment in their education be worthwhile?

What if that candle gives your friend’s home a peaceful atmosphere and offers comfort when her world was just turned upside down? Would the newfound clarity and strength she embraces be worth it?

What if that novelty makes your best friend smile and laugh for the first time this week? Would it be worth the expense to offer a light in the midst of her anxiety and break her downward spiral of depression?

What if that unusual gift showed how thoughtful you are and let your loved one know they’re special, you care about them, and they can get through this? Would giving them hope to continue on bring you joy?

What if we’ve had “essential” wrong all this time?

Right now small businesses that offer these “essential” goods that benefit our lives in so many creative ways are quickly becoming an endangered species. Show your support beyond liking their social media posts or sharing on Facebook. Show your support by making a small purchase from a small business you admire.

You have no idea how many lives you may save with your small purchases at your local businesses.


If you own a small business, please put a link to your website and/or social media in the comments below so others may find you and support you… and so they can help you remain in business through this extremely difficult time.


Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Leave a Comment

  • CJ Preston
    May 7, 2020

    Thank you for this from my entire heart thank you so much!