here are days when it all feels hopeless.

I get that; it happens to all of us. The question is: how do you know when to pull the plug entirely, rather than just suck it up?

Here’s where you want to start:

First, step away from the disaster. Your emotions are exploding, and that’s going to keep you from looking at things in a balanced way.

Next, think through what the problem REALLY is. Sure, your biggest customer just cancelled the contract. But it’s unlikely that means you’ll have to shut down tomorrow. It may just mean that you’ll have to get everyone focused on signing up new business.

Look for where some opportunities might be. Perhaps you were too reliant on that single customer, so this gives you the chance to diversify your customer base a bit. Maybe a lost key employee gives you the opportunity to replace them with someone even better.

Take a few moments to get grounded in your foundation: that mission, values, and vision. That will often give you valuable guidance for how to think through serious issues.

Then, take inventory of all the resources you have at hand: money, relationships, knowledge, assets, and so on. It’s quite likely that your fear was based on thinking you had only two alternatives: fight or flight.

Now, you can develop your plan of action. Especially after your fear has subsided along with your blood pressure.

Don’t think that I’m recommending you take a week to ponder about responding to a true emergency. In some cases you can go through these steps in a manner of minutes if you have to.

But in business, you’re likely to have more time than that. And you’ll come up with a much more balanced response.

Which is, by the way, what coaches help their clients with in times of stress.