Getting through tough times

October 9, 2023
Posted in Leadership
October 9, 2023 David

Today is a Monday, it’s nearly winter and you’re finding it hard to get yourself and the business moving.

When you have responsibility for a business and people in it, life can feel very lonely when the going gets tough.

I’ve seen numerous situations where carrying on as a leader can feel like the last thing the individual wants to do.

The causes can be external, completely out of the blue, a long time coming, or, quite often, personal.

And in these moments, it is so easy to catastrophise, that is to see that everything around you is wrong, not just the issue currently facing you as a leader.

At these times, what I found to be most helpful is to look beyond the present circumstances and take the time to see the wider perspective.

Here are some thoughts you might consider inject some realism.

Things are rarely as good or as bad as they seem

If you think about anything in your business life, the very best and worst outcomes rarely materialise.  Human beings have a wonderful capacity to imagine a perfect and disastrous outcome, but the reality is usually somewhere in between. True, things do happen, but taking a moment to pull away from the worst case is typically very helpful.

Travel forward in time

We are told to increasingly think about being in the now, which is no bad thing. But when you’re faced with what seem to be extremely difficult circumstances, take a moment to think about where you might be five years from now. I see in my work with clients that whilst business and your life may change, what is happening right now will be either forgotten or at the very least a distant memory.

Travel back in time

In the pace that business demands it’s often so easy to forget why we’re doing what we’re doing. Each of us has their own often very personal reasons for taking the path that we have. At the start there is a great excitement and enthusiasm not just for financial gain but also to live your ideas and express them through your own career.  Take yourself back to the start and think about all the things you have achieved, the challenges you have overcome and the victories big and small you have made your own.  It is, in all likelihood, an inspirational story.

Find an uninvolved listener

Dealing with situations and seeking support from those also involved can be useful but at the same time it can seem like you’re in an echo chamber. By seeking the loan of an ear from someone totally unrelated to the issues involved, it’s possible to see the issue quite differently. The wonderful part of this is that the other person will have a naive attitude and a far broader perspective because they don’t care in the same way that you do.

Take a walk

Changing your environment often makes all the difference.

Get out and have a walk, it’s amazing the benefit of clearing the thoughts a simple walk will help with. If you’re feeling like it, do something that is nothing to do with business, see  nature, have an ice cream, even go fly a kite, anything that will reconnect you with life outside of the issue you are facing.

Your attitude will influence others

In all of this, I’m suggesting is that you are the most important person in the situation.

If you can begin to think clearer about the situation, about possible outcomes, about yourself, and about the remedies ahead, it’s highly likely that you will not only feel better, but those around you will see a leader taking control.

And never forget that the path you have chosen is the path least travelled.

So don’t forget, that alone makes you just a little bit special.


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