On May 27, 1997 an off the charts tornado with winds well in excess of 200 mph, and gusts of 261 mph - 318 mph, wiped Jarrell, Texas off the map. 

The destruction was unfathomable. There are few pictures, but this one illustrates the depth of the devastation.

What’s missing from this picture?

Debris. There is no debris. The tornado even ripped flooring off of foundations.

NOAA Storm Prediction Center described the Jarrell tornado this way:

“This tornado blew some houses completely off the foundations and swept away the disintegrated remains. It also scoured asphalt from roads, killed and dismembered hundreds of cattle, stripped bark from trees and uprooted them, and bounced vehicles for up to half a mile from their parking places.”


Sadly, 27 people lost their lives. This storm was very rare and one of the most destructive in U.S. history. (You can google search ‘Jarrell Tornado’ for more details.)

This is Colossal Disruption on an unimaginable scale. And that is why I bring it up.

Not to compare to our own Coronavirus Colossal Disruption, but to illustrate and ask:

What path now?

In my book, The Next Level Entrepreneur, Max, a young entrepreneur, is about to return home from World War ll. Mr. A, the entrepreneurial sage, writes to him about levels of disruptions: gentle, harsh and colossal. 

He explains that the war has been for Max: a Colossal Disruption. For it completely disrupted Max’s life keeping him from his entrepreneurial journey that he began 4 years before.

From Mr. A’s letter to Max called "Creativity from Disruption":

“Well first, please know that it is human nature after disruptions to ask: "why?". 

I can assure you from my personal experiences that this question will never lead you to creative choices. Even if the question were completely answered, it will lead nowhere, not even to more understanding.

Instead, ask yourself this question: "what now?" or more precisely, “what path now?”. It will begin releasing great creativity.” ~ from page 70

Your response to this question could be life changing! Ushering in new freedoms, fresh creativity, and a great future! But first…

What is Colossal Disruption?

Mr. A describes it this way to Max:

“For the sake of comparison, let us say that a massive tornado swept through Salina [Kansas] obliterating not only your home, but the entire neighborhood and most of the town. Nothing is recognizable, even whole streets are either ripped up or covered over by dirt and debris. Even though no life was lost, this is devastation on an unimaginable scale. 

Any possible reference points are gone, except map coordinates that can identify where the town was once located.

Colossal disruptions offer the opportunity for the greatest creativity because there are no reference points. 

However, the greater the disruption the more difficult it is to choose a creative response, as it is human nature to succumb to such extreme, heartbreaking loss and devastation.

One must battle to create after disruption.” ~ from page 68

The old reference points in Jarrell, Texas were obliterated. 

Certainly, the survivors would have to fight their natural tendencies to despair, but they  were also free to create a new Jarrell, Texas any way they desired.

So you might be thinking: “Oh, you mean think outside the box?”

Not really. You see the box is a reference point. In Colossal Disruption even the box has been swept away. So, this creativity goes far beyond thinking outside the box.

The Coronavirus Colossal Disruption:

Never before in our history has the country been intentionally shut down. The disruption and devastation of this one act will be immense. And that is on top of the pain and loss caused by the disease itself.

Consequently, as a society we are quickly losing many familiar reference points.

As entrepreneurs we, too, are losing our reference points: 

Our old ways of doing things may not be working, so we must innovate and create new ways, quickly.

I don’t know what the future holds, but it will be different. 

But, I do know that if we battle to create,

life can be better than we ever imagined!

Mr. A offers Max a 2 prong strategy:

“For this question [What path now?] begs one to look up and outward towards the horizon of their desires which begins to release one’s imagination

The question “why?” turns one inward seeking explanations that they incorrectly hope will heal.

Such are my words to you, Max: embrace the pain, seek healing, and begin asking: “what path now?”. ~ page 71

1. Embrace the reality your situation and pursue healing.

Don’t pretend everything’s ok, when it’s not. Yes, that means embrace the pain of your situation. And, I can tell you from personal experience that’s not natural nor easy.

But only then, can you pursue healing for the pain you are experiencing.

Obviously those who get the virus need physical healing. But so do those us who don’t get the virus. We need other kinds of healing.

Some healing may be in the form of immediate “financial triage”.

But, there is also a need for healing of our souls. Just the barrage of fear and isolation can take a huge toll.

2. Use this time to lift your eyes up towards the horizon of your desires and ask “What path now?”.

Go back to your deepest desires in life and begin to reignite your imagination. Now, start to release your creativity.

At the same time begin to ask: “What path now?”

Begin to map a fresh direction sourced in your passions.

My encouragement to you:

“…battle to create” free from reference points!

And, please, please, please do not “…succumb to such extreme, heartbreaking loss and devastation” as Mr. A describes.

I beg you to reject the rampant attitudes of Fear, Despair, and even Death.

Instead begin to ask: “What Path Now?”

Create with Abandon,

and Map new Directions!

All for your future and for your souls!

P.S. Please share this blog with anyone you know who is pinned down by this crisis and in need of encouragement.

There is hope! Here is what the Jarrell, Texas area of greatest devastation looks like today. It has been completely recreated.

About the author 

George Black

George Black is the author of "The Next Level Entrepreneur" and a business expert who guides "stuck" entrepreneurs. He draws on more than 25 years of working with businesses of all sizes across 16+ industries. Using his know-how of building great companies, he guides business owners to experience greater fulfillment and sustainable, profitable growth.

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