Preparing for the Future Unknown
“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.” – J. Paul Getty
The landscape has changed. Many small business owners are feeling like the world turned upside down in a blink of an eye. Now tough decisions are being made daily. Some of those decisions were never considered to be a possibility.
We have been told by the experts to “hang in there.” Small business owners know that’s easier said than done. Especially, when your customers are canceling or putting projects on hold. To say stress and anxiety are part of the new normal, would be an understatement.
What to Do?
If you’re feeling powerless, you have company. Our country is fighting an unknown enemy and there’s not a lot we can do. Sure, practicing good hygiene and social distance is a must. That still leaves a gap. What about our businesses? When can we get back to the gym? How do we operate in a new world?
There’s a lot of advice in the air right now. Some of it is great and useful, some of it should be left in silence. My advice is based on my experience (15 years’ worth) and some neuroscience. Here you go:
- It always begins with you. My first brush with economic turmoil was during the financial crisis of 2008. Before the events associated with the crisis, I was overconfident. I felt my past successes were enough to take me to the next level. Think of the talented athlete who sees practice as a take it or leave it proposition. I got humbled.
I learned you need to be humble and you need to prepare even when times are great.
- Life (business and personal) has always been uncertain. A long time ago I thought I could manage out uncertainty. I gave it a shot and failed. It wasn’t until I leaned into the uncertainty that my business pursuits became as I dreamed. It’s a strange dichotomy that when you stop trying to control, you begin to find success showing up more and more.
I learned uncertainty is a place where I find my greatest growth and success.
- There’s more than one road to take. My first venture failed and failed miserably. One key reason was I fell in love with my idea and wasn’t willing to see alternative roads. I saw alternative roads as a form of admitting failure. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The reality was having an ability to pivot and be open to a new “way” could have led to a breakthrough. Fortunately, I lived to tell. Amazon has a saying that every day is day one. That’s a great way to look at business, and life too.
I learned success has many different routes if I’m open to them.
In the end, no one knows for sure how this COVID-19 world we’re in will play out. However, it doesn’t have to be our undoing. In the end, it begins with you and I. Will we choose to be humble, lean into uncertainty and be prepared for alternative paths?