Many of my readers are really struggling right now. Loss of work, lack of direction, confusion.

I had a chance to coach someone recently who was sensing this quite profoundly. Confined to his house, without work prospects, he’s finding it hard to move forward in any useful direction.

But here’s the thing: he’s actually been given a gift.

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This is a very stressful time, so we’re all doing it.

Making mistakes.

That’s just par for the course, really. And it doesn’t help that information and advice is constantly changing. Something which seemed right yesterday may feel like totally the wrong thing today.

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Last week I talked about asking for and getting help when you really need it. And right now, a lot of people need help.

So it’s also a time of giving – which may feel silly when you yourself are struggling. But there are some solid reasons why this can be so powerful.

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It seems like the sand is constantly shifting. Whatever assumptions we thought were valid are up for grabs. We don’t know what our customers are going to do, nor the government, nor suppliers.

So how do you know what to do? 

This is the time to look inside yourself for answers.

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash
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You wanted to own a business because it put you in control of your destiny. But then it turns out that there’s STILL lots not under your control!

And big stuff can happen in your industry, in the country, and in the world. Stuff you can’t control.

So there are times when you have to reach out for help.

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We’re all experiencing some of the greatest uncertainty of our lifetimes. It’s a time when nobody on the planet seems to have any answers.

What do you do in this environment? How do you keep your business alive?

The first principle is to ask for help. We are fortunate to have so many excellent resources in our state government and SBDCs. These people are doing the best they can to be helpful.

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash
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These times have been unsettling for all of us, and seem to be shaking the very foundation. And it’s going to go on even longer, sad to say.

For me, the key words have been Flexibility and Patience.

Flexibility, because it seems nothing has been going according to plan for weeks now. Patience, because I have to spend a lot of time waiting for others to sort things out. But there’s one more word.

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You know how damaging this can be to a team: someone who is always critical, unsupportive, unacknowledging. It’s no surprise that people avoid them.

But here’s today’s challenge: What if YOU are that person? When you’re the leader, you set the tone for everyone’s attitude. Including how they view other organizations and the larger goals.

Yet you think of your role as keeping people on track, noticing problems and assigning jobs. Those are good and necessary things, for sure.

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I spoke recently with a business owner who’s getting depressed about so many opportunists entering his industry. He’s worked hard to establish himself as honest and credible, while others merely come in to harvest profit and then move on.

As we talked, though, we realized that this is part of the nature of an emerging industry.

Many of you are familiar with the concept that products have life cycles. Geoffrey Moore broke it down this way in Crossing the Chasm:

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There are times where everything seems to blow up at once. It might be something specific to your industry, like a drastic new regulation or disruptive innovation.

Or it might be something more general, like a worldwide virus threat or global financial crisis.

Yeah, I know that never happens, but stay with me here. Just in case.

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