For most of us, we have been there, but for now, I am not talking hangovers. However, the feeling of working through rough times of crisis in any business can, at times, feel like the worst headache and hangover in the world. We often hear of old wives tales when it comes to that all-important cure to get us kickstarted “the day after the night before”, we may even have our own “cocktail cure” but ultimately, in life or business, we are left having to struggle and work through the fog.
Unlike a hangover, when it comes to a rough time in business, we often have far more skills and attributes that we can draw upon to see us through. If we use these enough and consistently, we can push beyond the actual limiting beliefs and hurdles that were there in the first place.
However, what I have tended to find whilst working with clients in this area of rough terrain, is that they are often in a paralysis of thought. They aren’t experiencing fight or flight, but frozen to the spot, stuck in a fixed mindset of fear, panic, and looking up at the escalation of problems are on the horizon.
So, what do we do when our mindset is impacting our business to a point of wanting to run to the big white telephone?
James Baldwin, American novelist, playwright, poet, and activist once wrote “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”. The first step out of paralysis is to bring awareness to what our fears our, the understand what the rough terrain is. I often explain this to my clients in terms of a rough stream that we are trying to cross. There is the option that we could run and hop stone to stone in “hope” that we get to the other side, knowing that we face the hurdles of slipping, being smashed by the stream or worse still, stuck in no-mans-land.
Or, we could simply look at the stone in front of us and those that may be around to figure out the best route, the one with a stronger footing, the one that might have some supporting rails nearby to grab on to.
Business and life are like that stream. We can assess where we are going, understand the aim to get to the other side, lean on those around us, but most importantly….
Put one foot in front of the other – make that step!
Our paralysis of mind and freeze state is already no-mans-land and we can either retreat back and stay in the shadows waiting for the storm to pass, or we can head into it, knowing that we will learn such attributes as courage, fortitude, resilience, and more.
To get you moving to that next step here are four key points to keep in mind:
With paralysis or mind and retreat and freeze comes reduced communication OR miscommunication. Consumed by thought, we often speak to quickly, lash out, or withhold key information for progress in hope that those around us have taken upon the skills of Derren Brown and become mind-readers. We have a responsibility through this time to take ownership of our communication – to speak with clarity and explain to those around us our fears, objectives, and actions. This is one sure sign of great leadership and simply through talking, I have seen clients move to the next step in the rough stream.
It goes without saying, ACTION CURES ALL, it really does. Doing something is better than nothing. Even if that something is linking back to number 1 and communicating with those around you to ask for advice and guidance. By creating clear action targets each day, we get clear on the direction that we want to go, we redevelop our passion and hang up any beliefs that are holding us back. Read any business book or follow any inspirational leader and you will see that one of there steps to success is ACTION – create CLEAR targets – a to-do-list if you wish and get MOVING. At the end of each day, reflect how far you have come. Being able to SEE PROGRESS reignites your mailable brain to realise – this feels good – let’s do that again.
Add the word “yet” to any inadequacy that you are telling yourself and watch how your mind and physiology literally changes. In the rough times, the amount of negative narration in our mind’s doubles, if not triples. Have an awareness of this with the aim to shift your mind to being focus and action based for 80% of the day, allowing 20% of those fears and uncertainties to come up (because there is learning in either side of the coin), The easiest way to do this is to start using the word “yet”. Here is an example – “I am not good enough, yet!” “I am not progressing, yet!”. It reaffirms to your brain to keep focus on movement and action and not in the paralysis of negative thought.
These are changing times and we all feel safe when we know we have a level of control. Firstly, if you feel safe in a level of control, you are already a step behind in complacency and moving your business and life forward. Yes, when things are tough, our primitive “fixed” mindset will often lead us down a rabbit hole of who to look for to blame. Here is the kicker – YOU are to blame. Yep, take ownership of that bad boy. Yes, you may not have started a financial crash, or spread a worldwide virus, or lost your biggest client. But somewhere along that line or your business and life getting to a state of halt is an image of you – that YOU and ONLY YOU put you there. This is the toughest of the three to swallow – but ultimately, the biggest game changer. Once we realise that WE can change the landscape, we regain our power to act with more strength than ever. Think outside the box, take the time to SEE what skills you need and where the gaps are in your life and business, work on those and develop further. The reason that we take OWNERSHIP is so that we can learn from the mistakes and grow in a new direction of what you value yourself and your business on, reinforcing a LEARNERS mindset every step of the way. I will leave the final words to the somewhat cheesy words of Henry Ford “Whether you THINK you CAN or THINK you CAN’T – you’re RIGHT!”. What he says is totally true in its simplest forms. The number one thing that holds people back in business and life, in their mindset. It is your job to change that! It’s your job to cross that stream. GO DO IT one step at a time!