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How to Conquer Unexpected Business Disasters

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If you run a business, eventually something less than wonderful will happen. Degrees may vary. From a missing shipment to the unexpected departure of your key employee, they’re sure to happen. Knowing this, our best defence is a good recovery plan. I mean, if you can’t prevent it, know how to recoup.

Can I be honest with you? I hit a huge business hurdle lately. That’s what prompted me to share this with you. I use the same 5 steps each time I encounter a business disaster. I used them during this mess and I’ll use it during the next. Let me share them with you.

Step 1 – Stay Calm

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, for most, our instant reactions are not calm. We react with our emotions and instincts because that’s the way we’re designed.

The problem with reacting emotionally? It’s rarely helpful. It’s a fact that many make bad decisions when jacked-up on their emotions. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is consciously focus on remaining calm.

What I find helps me is a little emotion surfing. Something I learned in DBT. Notice the emotion and then let it go. After you’ve done that for a little bit, feel free to name the emotions and embrace them. They are all part of you and they are all valid. You feel the same way many others have before you. Once you’ve paid each emotion it’s dues, let it float away.

Now, you’re ready for the next step.

Step 2 –Business Disaster Assessment

Once you’ve regained control of your faculties, the next step is an assessment. I like to think of it as triage – asses the problem and figure out how to stop the proverbial bleeding. Take stock of what you’re dealing with, what resources are available, and try to list all options you can see.

(Remember, you always have choices, even when they suck.)

It’s easier to pull together a plan after you’ve listed out everything you have available. You will have kickstarted your mind and jogged your memory. Pretty slick, huh?

Which leads us to…

Step 3 – Make a Plan

With your head on straight, mind clear, and a list of available resources in front of you, available choices become clearer. You’re able to take the time to choose the most effective course of action during your business disaster.

Even if our plan is less than appealing, it will still help to restore our sense of control. That control is paramount to success. Reacting from a place of emotion, with no sense or time to pause, leads to making a mess larger. Enacting a well thought out plan is empowering because it restores control. There is power in control.

Step 4 – Buckle Down

My least favorite, but truly necessary step. Once you plan it, you’ll need to enact it. This means buckling down and pushing forward. Not all situation will require your greatest effort. Though, most business disasters come fully equipped with internal turmoil and resistance. Have a lot to get done? Sacrifice sleep or leisure activities to make that finish line. Need to apologize to a co-worker or supervisor? Suck it up and do it.

Only in committing to actions that will affect change are you going to shift to a resolution.

Step 5 – Celebrate EVERY Win

When you need to buckle down and push forward, it’s easy to start to feel drained and depressed. My trick to combat this? I celebrate EVERY win. No lie.

Stop focusing on what isn’t going well and shift your mindset to absorb and internalize your success. Hold on to it. Bad things happen – both business disasters and those in life. We need to take time to be grateful for what we do have and honor what we have done.

Business Disaster Conquered!

If you follow my steps, rinse repeat as needed, and  NEVER GIVE UP. No, I’m not saying it will be easy, I’m saying you CAN conquer your business disaster. Or any disaster for that matter. It’s always going to come down to how you handle it.

Do you want to move past the disaster? If the answer is yes then you must learn to step back, analyze the problem, create a plan and put that plan into action. Keep pushing forward until you break through the other end and always remember to celebrate each victory on the way.

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