You keep the phone down, and you are shaking.
Your biggest customer has just cancelled his contract with you and overnight you have lost 40% of your volumes. To top it, Your tech head told you there is a serious bug in the new module, and you have to schedule a serious down time for your App while it gets resolved.
You call up your lead investor, and he tells you “Fix it now else it will start a downward spiral we won’t be able to come out of it.”
A Bad Day.
Can there be anything worse than this? Are your dreams of being next unicorn over? As you grip the handles of your chair tightly and look out of the window over dull, grey sky, You feel like giving it all up.
All businesses, literally all, have gone through this stage when the option of closing down was staring at them. The unstoppable Apple which you see, today had come to the point of bankruptcy before Steve Jobs rallied the troops.
“I am not Steve Jobs,” you may say. You are right. But you are the same person who celebrated with your team when your product moved from Proof to Concept to a Live stage. You are the same person who got your company off the ground when everyone told you “it's too risky.”
All that seems so far away. What should you do next to get out of this funk?
Here are 7 steps to shift from despair to being victorious in your battle.
#1 Step Out
For now, just get out of your office.
Go for a walk. Maybe a Jog through your favorite park. Breathe the outside air.
The feeling of space will help in driving away the boxed in feeling you have right now. The fresh air and the walk will help in activating endorphins in your brain which fight stress and create a “feel good” feeling.
#2 Not Yet!
A friend of mine once said shared how when she got an F in her college exams, she felt F meant Failure. But, then she wrote “Not Yet!” next to it.
Whatever you are feeling right now, feel it and then say “Not Yet!”
If your thoughts are “I have lost 40% of the business. There is no way I can recoup this loss. I am finished.” then say “Not Yet!”
“This tech goof-up will seriously erode my UX, and I am going to lose all my customers” then say “Not Yet!”
#3 Break the mountain into small pieces
Often problems seem to come all at the same time at us.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Focus only on the next step.
First is crisis management. Then Problem resolution. Then Growth opportunities. "Growth? You must be kidding” you say.
Take my word. Every crisis is a growth situation. If nothing else, it will help you in growing into a person who can handle crisis.
Focus on the most important thing right now. Solve it, then move to the next one. This sequence will make sure that you are not overwhelmed.
Marie Forleo says “The Secret to Staying Motivated: Focus on What You’re doing, not what you’re trying to achieve.”
#4 Call up someone who will listen to you
Call up your mentor. Your first investor. Someone who believes in you. Most importantly, someone who will listen to you.
Someone who will playback their confidence in you.
Often an overwhelming situation is just our lack of confidence in handling the situation. The situation is outside your comfort zone. Before you generate a belief that “I cannot handle this situation” speak to someone who can create that belief that “Yes, You can.”
#5 Read up or watch inspiring real stories of people who have come back from pits
Once you have spoken to your mentor or focused on the next step, read or watch stories of individuals who have come back from the dumps.
Learn how Steve Jobs turned around Apple from near bankruptcy. How Michael Phelps came back from the wilderness to create a new record in 2016 Olympics.
#6 Think of all those times when you have fought back
We get beset with thoughts that “this is the end of the line” or “my goal seems so distant now.”
Stop. Look behind.
Look at how far you have come ahead!
You crossed so many personal and professional milestones to come here.
Go back to your school, college and early days in your startup. How you have fought your battles to come out of it winning. Some may have been personal, some professional.
If you came out then, then you will come out of this too.
#7 Be tuned into your team’s feelings
Know that just like you feel like it is the end of the world, your team is also feeling like that.
Some of them may have mortgages to pay or are already have their finances stretched.
Be tuned to their feelings. Acknowledge their feelings and your own.
The next day, when you are back, revived. Call them all in the room and lay it out exactly as it is. Then say “Not Yet!”
Outline the next steps which you have thought out. Ask for their help.
Remember the Apple Campaign “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”? You have to be a bit crazy to be an entrepreneur. You are here despite people telling you are crazy or risky.
What matters is not how many successes you got. What really matters is how well you get back when all the chips were down.
Be a Gladiator.
Rise from the dust. Take a firm grip on your sword.
Look around at the baying crowds cheering for you.
Dig your heels in.
Be ready for whatever comes out of the gates.
Because Today, Nothing can stop you.