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11 methods to beat concern in a disaster

30, 2020

Read for 12 min

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "We have nothing to fear but fear ourselves," he wasn't just making a catchy statement to get support for his policies. He spoke to a nation struggling with what was just the beginning of what we know today as the Great Depression. The statement is not entirely correct, as there are many other things to fear, including sharks, taxes, and global pandemics. However, this is an absolute fact – especially for entrepreneurs – that fear can lead to unwise decisions that can have the very negative consequences that we want to avoid. Indeed, there is much to fear about fear itself. Here are 11 ways to overcome fear during the current or the next crisis.

1. Name the fear

When faced with a crisis and paralyzing fear, the most difficult obstacle on your way may be admitting that you are afraid. Only when we recognize the reality of the situation can we deal with it.

One way to better identify your fear is to imagine the worst that can happen. In her bestseller Insight of the New York Times, the author Tasha Eurich shares a recommendation from decision-making psychologist Gary Klein, who advocates a "pre-mortem" for important decisions. The idea is to imagine a year in the future and that everything went wrong. Your plans are a total disaster. Then write what it would look like. You may find that the worst thing that can happen is not that bad or that you can identify steps to avoid the pitfalls that would lead to disaster.

In search of the meaning of man, Viktor Frankl quoted Spinoza's ethics, which says: "Emotions that suffer stop suffering as soon as we get a clear and precise picture of them." In other words, Mr. Rogers said: "Everything that is human is worth mentioning, and everything that is worth mentioning can be easier to handle. If we can talk about our feelings, they will become less overwhelming, less disturbing and less scary. The people to whom we entrust this important conversation can help us to know that we are not alone. ”

Dr. Benjamin Hardy, an organizational psychologist and author of Personality Isn & # 39; t Permanent, shared these quotes with me and then said to me, "The key to overcoming fear is to give it form." Hardy says that this can be done through journaling and open conversation. "Daily journaling about how you feel and sharing your feelings with key people in your life makes your emotions manageable."

Hardy says, "Does it take courage? Absolutely. But it's worth it. It is worth not to let fear and unnecessary suffering hold you down. If you are open and honest as a person, life becomes much more manageable. You stop internally suffering unnecessarily from unfulfilled dreams or past injuries. They are moving forward. And that's the damn key! Forward! Progress as powerfully and authentically as possible. "

Related: 8 powerful phrases that leaders have to say in a time of crisis

2. Use fear to strengthen your courage

The Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa said: "We have to accept the pain and consume it as fuel on our journey." During a crisis, you can hear others saying, "Nobody can be financed at the moment" or "It is time to survive, to grow to forget." Instead, entrepreneurs like Bryan Brandenburg, founder and chief scientist of the visualization company Zenerchi say: “Then I go into warrior mode. Don't follow traditional wisdom. It comes from people who are afraid to act or act from a place of fear. Instead, look for opportunities that arise from the fear of others. "Or, as Warren Buffet says, how to invest successfully:" Be anxious when others are greedy and only be greedy when others are anxious. "

3. Remember the past

In a worrying future, it is often worth thinking about how we have overcome challenges in the past. When Melinda Dransfield thinks about what could be lost, VP of Sales Performance Elevation at Prudential Retirement asks, “Have I ever lost this or something similar? How did I deal with it before? “And then remembers:" I've been through difficult things before. "

I started my business in 1999, just before the dotcom bubble burst. Less than two years later, the economy slowed again after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Then there was the real estate crisis in 2008. Whenever business is facing difficult circumstances, I say to myself: "You have been here before", and even if I am not sure how, I know that we will make it.

4. Think beyond the crisis

Imagining a terrible future can help us avoid that future, but what if things go well? In an April 2020 article in the Harvard Business Review, Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz share the perspectives of their book Lead from the Future. They say that although we have to take care of the here and now, we cannot lose sight of the big picture. Whatever the future brings, they say, “You have to prepare now. And to do this correctly, you need to have a longer-term vision of what you want to become in five or even ten years – a Nordstern that focuses and helps shape your short- and medium-term thinking. "

I remember learning how to mow straight lines across a large lawn by focusing on a point in the distance, not the ground in front of me. Even if I encountered bumps along the way, I could look back and see a straight path as long as I kept that point in mind. Take care of yourself for a short time, but pay attention to what comes, otherwise you will find it difficult not to be pulled in several directions.

Related: You can't do everything, and if you try, you will do even less

5. Invest in "living time"

Your company may not be in danger of going under, but you may have a lot of free time. Ryan Holiday, author of several bestsellers like The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy, recalls advice he received from another bestselling author at the time, Robert Green (The 48 Laws of Power). "He told me there are two types of time: live time and dead time," Holiday wrote in a recent blog post. “One is when you sit around, when you wait for something to happen to you. The other is when you are in control, when you count every second, when you learn, improve and grow. "

Could you use the extra time your company needs to upgrade your systems, train your team, or develop new products and services?

6. Build your anxiety muscle

Think about fear like gravity: with the right equipment, it can help you get stronger. Noah Kagan, "Chief Sumo" at, likes the "Coffee Challenge" where you ask for a 10 percent discount on your next purchase. Embarrassing? Heavy? Creepy? That is the point. Doing this repeatedly will make it easier, not because the task itself is easier, but because you have become stronger.

Jia Jiang brought this to the ultimate level when he decided to be rejected intentionally 100 times in 100 days. He was thrilled after his first attempt at entrepreneurship ended in rejection and Jia was emotionally depressed. However, after realizing that his fear of rejection hurt him more than the actual rejection, he decided to accept the rejection to better understand it. His experience has not only helped him become almost immune to rejection, but has also led to a TED lecture on rejection and the bestselling rejection proof, viewed over 6 million times.

7. Re-evaluate what makes you unique

In a crisis, it can easily happen that you lose focus on your business and its existence and instead have concerns about next week's payroll. Of course, short-term concerns are important, but if we focus too much on them, we may miss opportunities. "Make your point of view clear," advises Steve Watt, Vice President Marketing at Grapevine6. "Find out why (and for whom) your approach offers a way forward in difficult times." You may have a new customer segment that suddenly takes care of your company's offering as before.

This happened in the early months of 2020 with Zoom, the video conferencing service. When the Covid-19 virus sent tens of millions of students and workers home, Zoom was perfectly positioned to help them stay connected. The reach (and a healthy dose of word of mouth) increased Zoom from 10 million daily users in December 2019 to over 300 million daily users by April 2020.

In a crisis, you can fight fear by finding your new niche and letting others know how to solve your problems.

Related: How entrepreneurs can find clarity in uncertain times

8. Identify what you can and cannot control

"Fear isn't bad. It's the debilitating insecurity that goes with it that eats us," says Zachary Zimmerman, senior account manager at marketing agency number six. To counteract this insecurity, Zimmerman sorts out which aspects of a challenge he controls and which ones not, which reduces uncertainty and allows him to focus on what he can change without wasting time on what he can't.

9. See fear positively

Fear is not all bad – sometimes fear protects us from real harm. Fear can also motivate us. "Fear can be a very positive emotion if it triggers the behavior to be overcome in us and if we are confident where we are going," said Andy Cindrich, Senior Consultant at FranklinCovey.

10. Find the opportunity

Marcus Sheridan's experience shows why it is so important to see every moment, including a crisis, as an opportunity. The real estate crisis hit in 2008 and Sheridan was active in the swimming pool business. Although Sheridan occupied a market where many people were concerned about losing their homes (not buying new pools), he found that pool builders were not using the Internet to answer buyers' questions. He started answering these questions online, and his company's website went to Wikipedia with information about swimming pools. Now his company is the fastest growing fiber pool manufacturer in the world.

"When Covid-19 met and I realized it was going to be ugly, my mind immediately changed," says Sheridan. "I said to myself: & # 39; Marcus, now commit to finding the opportunity right now."

In just a few months, Sheridan's company introduced a virtual sales method to its team of dealers across the country and had tremendous success. Despite the pandemic economic downturn, Sheridan's company broke every sales record it ever had in April 2020.

Related topics: How three different technology companies are fighting the common fight against corona virus

11. Don't give up

As a senior sales representative, Hunter Sebresos was present at a meeting where investors were preparing to close the company he was working for. However, he knew that their customers had a need, and instead of raising his hands and trying to find a new job, he developed a new business model locally, made it available to investors immediately, and won the funding to create Bacon, a mobile app that allows companies to post details of their temporary jobs directly from their phone and quickly fill positions, instead of spending days or weeks with a recruitment agency.

Your company is about to go out, but is there a way to pan that gives you a second chance?

There is always hope

No matter how bad things get, there is always hope for a better future. Even at the height of the Great Depression, the unemployment rate was 24.9 percent – alarming, but it means that 75.1 percent was still employed. Many of the largest companies of all time were founded in times of great economic challenges. A short list includes Procter & Gamble, IBM, General Electric, General Motors, FedEx, Hyatt, IHOP, Disney, HP, Microsoft, Burger King, CNN, and Apple (twice, first during the 1975 downturn and then when it revived from near-death during the 2001 dot-com crash).

There may be a global crisis at the moment and others are certainly brewing together, but even in a crisis – especially during a crisis – there are people out there who need what you have and there may not be a better time to do so to be busy giving it to them.


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