HOPING YOU’LL LEARN WHAT I’VE LEARNED
On January 22, 2020, less than a month after New Year’s Day, I delivered my last speech of that year. I would have never guessed that it would be my last, but that’s often how “lasts” work: they come without warning. Today you can remember the last day that you hopped on a subway without wearing a mask, the last time that you watched a movie in the theater with your sweetheart, or the day when you were excitedly pondering where to go for your summer getaway. But while it was happening, you didn’t know that it was going to be the last time for a long time.
I’ve been a motivational speaker for most of my adult life, but coronavirus rocked that life to its very foundation. In all that time, I had never taken a break for more than a week.
Even in the midst of natural disasters, I still gave speeches. But in 2020, for the first time, the professional-speaking industry came to a halt so completely that there was no restart in sight. Since then, I have felt helplessly stranded in the unknown.
In the beginning, I thought it was a simple virus that would soon pass. Then, at the beginning of February, I thought, “Oh, wow. This is serious. It seems to be lasting longer than expected.” I felt butterflies in my stomach. My morning routine used to begin with checking the day’s speaking schedule, but my schedule, my car, and even I all came to a screeching halt.
She said, “With the money reserved in our account, we might be able to hold out for a couple of months, but that’s it.”
My content-provider company was employing about twenty people. I also run a YouTube channel, MKTV, and an online college, MKYU(MK & You University), but the profits generated from these operations don’t cover all of our expenses. The most established and reliable source of profit has always been my speeches. The pause in my speaking meant that the company was in jeopardy. I was full of anxiety as the days since my last speech stacked up. Then, one morning, I blurted out, “Please help me this one time to retain them all. Please grant my wish just once so that I don’t have to let any of my employees go.”
I had to do something, anything, to find a way out of this crisis and keep all my employees. Something had to change. So from that day on, I have had a new morning routine. I focused my nervous energy on problem solving. I began to fully prepare myself to find the answer to a question that I had never had to ask myself in my fifty-seven years of life: What do you do when faced with a highly contagious virus?
First, I subscribed to the print copies of two newspapers. I combed through every article, looking for answers in a world that was changing on a daily basis. I also subscribed to two weekly magazines. I read in-depth articles in order to get a firm grip on the issue. I requested regular mail subscriptions from domestic and foreign business-consulting firms to receive their reports. I also reached out to my younger brother, who is a college professor in the United States, and asked him for updated references from America.
Determined not to miss even the smallest clue, I read through books on economics, business management, trends, technology, humanities, history, and pandemics. The more information and knowledge that I accumulated, the more “human” clues stood out. My brain and body became busier than ever. I spent all my time trying to find clues, stopping only briefly when I had to sleep. My entire day was devoted to writing down ideas and thinking about solutions. If I had four clones of myself, it would still not have been enough. It was my desperate struggle to find “ways to survive in the post-coronavirus world.”
About a month passed, and I started sensing that my search was going somewhere. My “coronavirus-solution notebook” was more than half filled. I found new clues each day, combined them with the ones I had found the previous day-disassembling and reassembling ideas with each piece of new information. Another month passed, and I started to see a glimmer of hope. I became convinced that the virus was not just a crisis but a door to another world.
And it all crystallized into this one mantra that kept rever-berating in my mind: order out of chaos.
That was the answer. The more I learned, the truer it became. Despite closed businesses and deserted streets, life was beginning again. The entire world was teeming with newly emerging signs and phenomena. Once I had sorted out all the small, yet clear, signals, an order emerged everywhere I looked. I had to tell my employees.
At dinner, I said, “Life after coronavirus will be a completely different world. The formula for living and making money will be completely new. I’ve identified four formulas that will bring our company back to life. To make it happen, however, there is something we must do first. We must completely reset the way we operate our businesses. Let’s reassess everything, removing anything unnecessary. We need to reboot!”
Over the next few months, our company charged ahead with rebooting all our business lines, clearing out anything that wouldn’t fit into the changed world. It all went according to the four rebooting formulas. Five months into the crisis and, fortunately, my company has continued to function. My prayers were answered. Not only did I not let go of any of my employees, but I was also able to grow new business and hire new employees each month. It is all because I found a different way to connect to the world.
With those closest to me taken care of, I could focus my attention on others, outside our business. I had 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube and 15,000 students at MKYU, who were all affected by the coronavirus in one way or another. While working from home, a single mom was notified that her job was gone; a month after a restaurant owner opened up, he lost all his customers; and the owner of a small travel agency was drowning in a flood of canceled bookings and refund requests. Countless people were losing their jobs or businesses. Even worse, nobody knew the way out of the situation. All they could do was hope for the coronavirus to disappear and life to get back to what it used to be.
Looking at the distressed people around me, I decided that I should write a book. I needed to share with others what I had learned and do it properly. I wanted to find solutions not just for my own situation, but for all the people I cared about and wanted to comfort so they could save their work and life.
Several books had already been published that offered a macro view of the post-coronavirus world, but I wanted to write a book that addressed how the life and growth of individuals would unfold in this changed world. I wanted to address the question, “What does it mean to me personally? What should I do?”
In this book, I answer that question in five parts.
The key takeaway in Part 1 of this book is that hidden behind all chaos is order. If we see only chaos in the coronavirusinduced confusion and fail to see the order of the future, we will fail before we even start. The first key to overcoming this crisis is to find the order.
In Part 2, I present four Reboot Formulas that will change your life. The Reboot Formulas will help you identify the order necessary to move into the new world. The four formulas are what we use in my businesses whenever we plan for the future. They serve as the standards for evaluating risks and decisions. I’ll outline each formula and offer ideas for applying them to your life or business in order to maximize your chances of thriving in the post-coronavirus world.
In Part 3, I will walk you through the process of writing a Reboot Scenario. If you’re like me, you probably don’t have the money or resources to commission a team of experts to come up with and evaluate all possible scenarios in the post-coronavirus world. Most of us have to come up with our own plan, based on what’s most important to us. This practice will help you understand the specific obstacles that you face and plan for how you will address each in your own way.
Part 4 emphasizes the importance of becoming a “new learner” in order to keep your job in this period of digital transition. It is easy to degenerate into a “useless old-timer,” whose college degree ensured a comfortable life. But in this fast-changing time, you need “just-in-time education” that you acquire quickly and apply immediately. In this section, I will share what I know about renewing yourself as an engaged learner.
Finally, in Part 5, I will address various questions that anyone who wants to succeed in this new world should ask themselves: “How can I survive in the post-pandemic world?” and “What is the underlying cause of the coronavirus pandemic?” I have concluded that this disastrous pandemic came about because of the indiscriminate exploitation of the environment our generation has been engaging in. In effect, we have been handing down heavier burdens on the future generation in order to satisfy our destructive greed. We must stand up and act if we want to prevent the next generation from living with a constant virus. I’m not an ecologist or environmental activist, but I have been deeply impressed by the people in these fields who have pointed out that we must make every possible effort to save the environment so that our children will have a better future. I will also try to answer the question, “How should we pull together to find courage and hope for ourselves as we stand amid this disaster?” I will talk about the “survival through relationships” that allows us to encourage, be considerate, and trust each other, and how to build a mental immunity that matters just as much as physical immunity at a time when the corona blues are consuming our hearts.
I wrote this book with a mindset completely different from the one that I had when I wrote my previous books. In those books, I primarily summarized what I had previously learned from personal experience. For this book, I wrote almost in real time, as I studied and gained insights into the ways in which I, myself, could survive. Never have I so desperately indulged in seeking answers and solutions for myself. Each time I found one, I cried out, “Eureka!”
It is my hope that readers will realize and experience everything that I have learned and experienced: the sense of relief that I felt when I found the order from this chaos, the thrill that I felt when I discovered the four formulas to beat this confusion, and the confidence that overtook me when I found the answer to surviving.
We’ve lost a lot in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. We can no longer use public transportation without wearing a mask and children are not allowed to play as they wish. We make less money than before, and worse, many people have lost their jobs entirely, overnight. But just because we have lost so much doesn’t mean that we cannot survive. We may have to put up with the loss of many things but not our survival. We must endure and survive no matter in what world we find ourselves.
Now is the time to end the “pause” and start to “reboot.” Let’s reboot ourselves instead of lying low-frustrated, worried, wounded, and defeated. Hope is still with us.
- MK Kim, June 2020
The #1 Bestseller in Korea Out of 500 COVID-19 Related Books
The Post-COVID Manual Presented to
1.3 Million YouTube Subscribers
In 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, MK Kim’s Reboot caused a “reboot wave” across Korea. This book topped the bestseller list among more than 500 COVID-related books published in Korean.
MK Kim, widely known as the top motivational speaker in Korea after reaching millions in her twenty-eight-year career, watched her income drop to 0 with the coronavirus pandemic. Desperate to save her employees, she aggressively studied the impact of the pandemic and ultimately found the survival manual. Kim wrote Reboot to share the formula she found with many who suffered just like she did in the past year.
Even with twenty-two published books—many of them national bestsellers—this book is uniquely special. After applying the survival manual written in Reboot, MK pivoted from her decades-long offline career to an online educational business through a digital tranformation. The fifteen employees she fought to save soon became one hundred; this book marked the turning point of MK’s identity from speaker to CEO.
Most surprisingly, this transformation took less than 12 months. MK proved the “fast follower” strategy. Her strong message is setting an example for both setting the right mindset to survive in this new era, as well as finding a new economic model to sustain your livelihood.
If you still feel restrained by the pandemic, if you are worried about losing your job, if you are debating whether to shut down your business… this book is for you. This book shares realistic solutions to surviving the crisis and beyond. Join MK Kim to find your unique path to survive and thrive.