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Navigating Crises: Overcoming Fear and Embracing Growth
My truck was out of commission, leaving me stuck in the waiting area of the garage. I scrolled through social media, checked my emails, and skimmed through Slack messages. I ran Dentist Advisors, a business that provided financial advice to the dental industry. Unfortunately, it seemed like our clients were on the verge of closing their practices due to the Covid pandemic.
Over the following months, I found myself inundated with real-time phone calls about PPP loans and dental regulations. On top of that, there were numerous cash management requests. People were dipping into their investments just to keep their businesses afloat.
It felt like we were on the verge of collapse. I was scared, and so was everyone else. At the time, I don’t think I realized how ineffective I was, and exactly how much fear controlled me as an entrepreneur.
While I understand that fear is a natural response in such a situation, today, I can look back and see how it's not a productive driving force. When consumed by terror, it tends to affect others and impairs decision-making. To me, fear seems to multiply and echo within our minds and bodies, even without any external triggers.
That crisis, and subsequent ones, taught me some valuable lessons about what to do instead.
What truly matters in a crisis is taking action. Who will step up and get things done? Teams that get caught up in indecisiveness struggle to learn and grow. By creating a clear 90-day plan and following through on it, we can make space for focused experiments that yield valuable insights. It's important to implement and share the results, emphasizing that the learning process is more important than being right or wrong.
You are a learner. You will grow. You have the ability to overcome the next problem that comes your way.
In the words of Kobe Bryant, "Seriously, what is failure? It doesn't truly exist... I understand this, so if I falter today, I'm going to derive a lesson from that stumble and I'll give it another shot on Tuesday. The most detrimental thing you could do is to halt and not learn."
In the face of adversity, maintaining calm is crucial. It's imperative to approach challenges with a mindset of continuous growth and learning. Instead of succumbing to fear, I strive to extract valuable lessons from my missteps and move forward. Our ability to learn from these stumbling blocks ultimately determines our success as we navigate through stormy waters.