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Controlling What You Can, During Any Challenging Time

“I can’t believe this damn pandemic happened.”

“Why me, why now and why my business?”

“How it’s impacting my business is not fair!”

And on and on.

As the pandemic shut down businesses, brought the economy to a halt and left many to panic, many of us probably allowed ourselves a quick pity party. It’s understandable – and OK – to wallow for a few days, but as a business owner, that’s all you get. Don’t feel so sorry for yourself that you waste time, energy and creativity you should be using to pull yourself up, rethinking your business, pivot as necessary and find new ways to be successful.

As a business owner, you have to be able to accept that you can’t control everything, especially in times like this, but you can control your mindset. So whether you are reading this in the spring of 2020 or five years later during your own personal crisis, here are four things to consider: (1) stop resisting against what is and accept this brutal reality, (2) acknowledge this crisis is not permanent, (3) view yourself and your business as your #1 client, and, (4) focus on the three things you can always control.

1. What You Resist…Persists

You can either make money or make excuses, but you can’t do both. As a business owner, you don’t have the time or luxury to procrastinate with on-going excuses. Raging against what is…is not helpful. After all, what you resist persists. Nothing good comes from banging your head against a wall over and over. Resisting truth just puts you in a perpetual downward emotional spiral. For your sake and your business, please stop. Instead, face reality and accept what is – brutal as it may be. Through acceptance, you can stand on the solid ground of truth and respond more productively and confidently from there.

2. Turbulent – Yet Temporary – Times

While you can’t change the external storm of a crisis – national or personal – you can change your internal world. During normal times, and especially during these crisis-management times, mindset is everything! The first healthy mindset you can adopt is that even though these are truly horrible and turbulent times, they are nonetheless temporary. In time, this too shall pass. It’s NOT permanent so don’t make it so in your head.

3. View Yourself and Your Business as Your #1 Client

It’s easy to give advice to others without taking it yourself. During challenging times, consider yourself your number one client. Take a step back, create a plan to getting through this, set goals and stick to it. Of course that sounds easy, but it requires one thing many of us struggle to do – emotionally distance yourself from your business. As you go through this exercise, you have to think of yourself and your business as a client – not as your own business – so that you can see things objectively and make the best decisions from a helicopter view rather than from in the weeds. Take time to consider your mindset here too – are you focused on gain or loss? Dreams or fears? Solutions or problems? Opportunities or crises/challenges? Goals or obstacles? You have to get your head in the game to overcome.

4. Control What You Can & Accept What You Can’t

As a business owner, realize there are only three things you can always control: (1) THOUGHTS (mindsets, beliefs and attitudes), FEELINGS (emotions, energy), and ACTIONS (hustle, work tasks, habits, strategies, work ethic, etc.). And it’s your thoughts that impact your feelings, and your feelings that truly drive your actions or inactions. It all begins with your thinking and mindset. So be sure to feed your mind positive words, images, self-talk and information. Associate with positive people. And remember, during these turbulent, yet temporary times, your positive mindset more than anything else will determine if you barely survive or thrive. It’s your choice. Decide to manage your mind and not let it manage you. You’ve gotten through tough times before; you can do it again.

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