Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

7 Ways to Overcome Adversity: Don’t Let Fear Stop You or Force Impulsive Decisions

7 Ways to Overcome Adversity: Don’t Let Fear Stop You or Force Impulsive Decisions 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

At his 1932 inaugural address, deep in the Great Depression, FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It’s only natural to feel uncertain, anxious, and apprehensive when you think about possible negative outcomes of any business venture. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest initiative, worry about sales, or freak out about the growing pile of bills. So why should we relax in the face of these constant threats to your enterprise. The main reason is survival.

A consciousness of fear tends to create tunnel vision when our fight-or-flight response takes over. The obvious path to the best solution can disappear when we’re blinded by negative emotion. In our anxiety to solve a problem quickly and move on, we can easily make the wrong decision. Many of our worst decisions were made in a state of distress.

If you’re in business, doubts and threats to your success are everywhere. And they won’t go away. Absolute catastrophes will happen now and then. Your financial survival is on the line. In business, sudden problems are the norm. The sooner you understand this, the quicker you can develop a “bulletproof” approach necessary to contain, cope, and crush these challenges.

1. It’s difficult, especially when the solution isn’t visible. We know. But take a break, take a deep breath, or take a walk. Give yourself the time to calm down. Your brain will operate better. You’ll be more aware of choices that are easily missed when you’re uptight.

2. Believe that there is a solution, even though you can’t see it yet. Better yet, believe there are multiple solutions for you to choose from. This way, you won’t be as likely to pick the first one you see, which would solve the immediate problem, but could lead to bigger issues down the line.

3. An elegant solution solves many problems. To find the elegant solution, set all your problems out in front of you. Examine them, and see how they’re related. Is there a solution that solves more than one of your problems? With an open mind, and without preconceptions, search for the clues.

4. How do you know who your allies are? Focus on who benefits (besides you) when the problem is solved. They could be associates, buyers, suppliers, investors, employees, or even competitors! Can you solve their problem at the same time as your own? Think about how you can recruit their support in solving your problem, and how they would benefit.

5. It takes time to cool down, evaluate your options, consider the consequences, and receive good guidance. It takes time to recognize your allies and earn their support. And it takes time to think about the results and make compromises. Just be patient.

6. Ask for help from those with diverse experience, or more experience, than your own. Consult people who work in different areas of your industry. Ask for help from those at the highest and lowest levels. Consider other industries, and how they approach similar problems. Maybe their solution could be useful in solving your problem. Most people will be honored and flattered that you asked for their advice.

7. The quickest way out of a box is straight up. Evaluate your problem from all sides—over, under, left, and right. Ask yourself: “Am I even framing the problem correctly? Can I redefine the situation?” Many times, your best solution is inside your best statement of the problem.

Knowing that you have a process in place to tackle your intimidating challenges will give you the confidence you need. Fear can blind you when you need your foresight, vision, and focus the most.

When we freaked out about the latest emergency, we all had to laugh when Bonnie screamed, “For God’s sake, DON’T PANIC!

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