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Contact tracing. Stay home. Alone together. The new normal. Social distancing. Essential vs. non-essential business. Months ago, these words were nonexistent.
In one of the rare moments in human history, all 7.8 billion people on Earth share the commonality of being affected by the current crisis in some form or manner.
While it’s easy to get emotionally lost due to the overwhelming amounts of information, you must remind yourself that this isn’t your first time around the rodeo as far as dealing with uncertainty and situations that can appear overwhelming.
The very nature of being an entrepreneur entails periods of uncertainty, stress, and chaotic scenarios. Those very things require you to forge adaptability into your DNA.
Since the beginning of time, crisis and challenging circumstances have been a companion and staple to the human experience.
If we weren’t strong enough, we wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be writing this column, nor would you be reading this column. The very fact that we are here is proof that we’re strong enough for the current crisis and any other challenging situation that will arise in the future. Only the strong survive as far as our genes go. That is what gets carried on throughout time and lineages.
Before this crisis, there was another. A few years from now, something else will most likely make its way into the forefront to become the latest crisis. Not to marginalize the fact by any means, because no matter the crisis, your business and health (physically, mentally, and emotionally) are at risk.
Therefore, before doing anything else, incorporate this critical high-performance habit so you can survive (and thrive) during any crisis that comes your way.
Slow down to speed up
As someone who works with high-performing entrepreneurs, in times of stress and crisis, entrepreneurs often commit the critical mistake of forgetting to put their oxygen mask on first. With so much going on, they forget to prioritize their health and well being because they have this inclination to put the various fires out expediently.
The more urgent and chaotic it feels, the more critical it is for you to slow down and remove the emotional stenches that will cloud your decision making.
For top performance, the majority of the work revolves around inquiry, not decision making. Doing preliminary work is non-negotiable. If you don’t take the time to slow down with your health and business, you can run the risk of spending time and money not only on plans that are doomed to fail, but also time and money reacting to symptoms that only place a Band-Aid on a gaping flesh wound.
Slowing down brings a plethora of benefits, but here’s the biggest one.
Building prosperous opportunities and sustainable long-term profits
When you escape the never-stop hustling, relentless action, and operating from a reactive standpoint—you finally have the time and space to have different and more in-depth conversations and insights with yourself.
Slowing down brings precision to chaos and uncertainty. Slowing down helps you see information, patterns, and issues previously overlooked, unclear, or simply thrown to the sidelines.
We’ve seen rapid weight loss, and entrepreneurs generate substantial revenue in short periods. But we’ve also seen both scenarios disappear rapidly due to both having a foundation built on quicksand.
Staying the course and continuing to build with the long term in mind while avoiding the “trends” of the moment leads to more significant (and sustainable) long term profits and efficiency.
A study appearing in the Harvard Business Review was conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit on 343 businesses around organizational speed and the need to slow down.
Inside the study, “the companies that embraced initiatives and chose to go, go, go to try to gain an edge ended up with lower sales and operating profits than those that paused at key moments to make sure they were on the right track. What’s more, the firms that ‘slowed down to speed up’ improved their top and bottom lines, averaging 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period.”
When an unexpected crisis or challenging situation knocks at your door, before leaping into action, pause for a moment so you can understand your opponent.
What slowing down to speed up looks like in chaos and crisis
The first step, whether it’s with your health or business, is to conduct a reality check to see where you stand. Think of this as an audit.
For example, with the current pandemic, think about your business goal and then objectively ask yourself, “Is accomplishing my goal still a possibility?”
If it’s still a possibility, maybe the strategy needs a tweaking along with your habits and infrastructure. Or perhaps your goal is torn to shreds, and a new goal is necessary.
No matter which scenario, slowing down allows you to make a plan that’s congruent with your long term vision.
If your health and weight are in a tight spot, consider getting some lab work done to see where you stand not only from a physical standpoint but also from a cognitive perspective.
Amid challenging circumstances, if you slow down and do preliminary work such as assembling various data and insights before heading into action—you’ll gain much more clarity as to what’s going on inside your body (and business). With more clarity, you’ll be able to craft a much more precise plan strictly tailored to your unique biology (and business).