Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heartache & Heroism In Small Business

  
Overwhelm

A recent discussion with a friend who is a life coach brought to my attention the plight of a mutual colleague. As is often the case, this person was struggling in their business, and especially struggling with a feeling of overwhelm and despondency, that is very common and yet is strangely missing from the mountain of articles and blogs written about small business each week.

There are a couple of things here that are interesting, not just on the circumstances of the distress, but in the actions to move out from 'overwhelm' - to reaching out for help. This is a small step with potential for big consequences, and it is in this pivotal moment sometimes, that action can lead to decisions that change lives. Sometimes for the better.
 


Getting Unstuck

What makes for the impetus to ask for help?

Sometimes it is the presence of someone who generates an air of 'approachability' and makes available the context for the person in crisis to feel able to confide. In this case it is certainly so. In the absence of such a person being available, many will just continue to 'bottle it up' and continue their downward spiral. This is a bit of a worry when looking at it from a strategic point-of-view.  Again others might seek help from someone without the ability to listen objectively, or offer constructive input.

Rather than leaving it to chance, a better approach might be to set in place a kind of 'early warning detector' to use.  When we are heading toward feelings of overwhelm, at the heart is often a belief that we sometimes carry around, that we should not ask, or not even need to ask, for help. Especially in business.

For our 'early warning detector' to be effective, we need to align it with the belief that yes, we can ask for help should we feel the need and that asking for help is a good thing to do.

Then of course, we need to have someone to ask, so preparing the ground for this, might be surveilling the environment and making a list of people who could be in a position to help in some way, should the need arise. Scoping them out while things are going well lets us be better prepared, for when we are not feeling quite so resourceful, or thinking quite so clearly.

Who do we know who can listen objectively?
(A sounding board sometimes is all that may be needed)

Who do we know who has knowledge around this matter?

Who do we know who has influence in a way that would help in this situation?

And if we don't have anyone like this who we know...

Who should we get to know who could be a help in this case?

People set up a business and very often put everything on the line in the hope that it will be successful. Sometimes the thing that is missing is having good support from outside the business to help when we face something that is outside our ability to resolve, or are just feeling 'stuck'.

There is help available. Finding and accessing that help is good for us to do and importantly, it is good for our business.

We can learn from these occasions and become more resilient and open up a variety of additional resources and skills that we can use to drive our business forward.

That's what heroism looks like in small business.





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