If the time comes that you find your business in a crisis, it is a time that really tests your leadership skills. You will lead, battle through and you may surprise yourself with all sorts of skills and resilience you didn’t even know you had.
With the world in the grip of the Corona Virus crisis, here are some tips to stay calm, when your business needs you more than ever.
Acknowledge your feelings
You may be feeling scared, anxious, angry or a combination of all of these and it’s important that instead of seeing this as a weakness, you acknowledge your feelings and work through them. They are still there even if you repress them and this could do all levels of damage. Welcome your feelings, work through them but do not let them spiral out of control. It’s perfectly normal to be feeling scared for example but address the here and now, don’t let your fear send you off imagining further consequences to the crisis that haven’t happened and may never happen. Often, as time goes on, we find that things are not the catastrophe we were imagining. Gaining your composure and keeping your emotions in check is essential during this time.
If you feel yourself losing control and over thinking things, stop and ask yourself ‘Is this true?’ This is great for breaking your chain of thoughts heading for an imagined disaster and to bring you back to a realistic outlook.
Take a step back
Before diving in headfirst and firefighting, take the time to really look at what has happened in order to come up with solutions. As an entrepreneur, problem solving is what you do best and now is the time to put your skills into action.
Start by looking at your business and the situation from a distance. You will have a lot emotionally invested in it, so try and look at it all from the perspective of an outsider for clarity and to remove the feeling of attachment you have which may cloud your vision. If it was a friend or fellow business owner going through this, what advice would you give them?
Make a plan
Plans and strategies exist so that they give us structure and direction. They also remove uncertainty to a degree. In such an uncertain time, you need to have a plan going forward. This may be a big plan encompassing a wide range of elements if that makes you feel stronger, or it may be a small day to day plan that allows you to cope with the current situation in the short time until you are clearer on how the crisis will affect you.
Focus only on what you can control
Think hard about what you can control and try not to dwell on what you can’t control. We know the phrase ‘where focus goes energy flows’, and this is a prime reason why you must only focus on the things you can change. Don’t give your energy and focus to things that are not in your control.
Take some time to examine the things that you do have control over. In the height of a crisis, it may be that all you can control his how you react to a situation, but that is all important. How you react and lead things forward is everything.
Think of the positives
It may seem that there are not many positives in the midst of a crisis but there are always some if you look for them. Showing gratitude will help keep you calm and grounded. It’s certainly not easy when you feel like you are losing everything you’ve worked for but if you can muster it, it goes a long way.
Another way to focus on the positives is to think about times in the past that you have achieved all that you need to call on now. When have you been a great leader? When have you worked through a difficult time and come out stronger? Replace any thought of ‘I can’t do this’ with a memory of when you have done it in the past. Use this to build your confidence and belief in yourself. Gove yourself the pep talk that you would give a colleague, friend or employee.
Yes you need to take stock of what has happened and give it thought, yes you need to plan, but don’t dwell on things for too long. Too much planning takes away from action and it is action that is going to make the difference. The best laid plans amount to nothing if you don’t follow them through with action. Do something, check the results and work on how you can continue to move forward. Just be sure to do something. Action is the only way that change will occur.
You are a business owner. You built your business; you grew your business and you have put your heart and soul into your business. Take time for you, do all you need to do to stay calm and remember that you have done this before, and you can do it again. Focus on what you have and what you’ve done not what you have lost.
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