Happy Father’s Day (U.S.)! Welcome back to the 52 week challenge: a year-long commitment to systematic growth and profit for your business. If you’re just joining us, click here for the full backstory.
Each week on Sunday, I’ll offer you a prompt that will make you think, inspire you to take action, and/or help you figure out what to focus on next. Online business is a machine—simple components make up its success and determine how well it will perform. In this series, I’m going to challenge you, via weekly assignments, to build and enhance your online business machine. My theories are tested, my strategies are proven, and I know I can help your business grow.
The 52 Week Challenge: Week 23
This week, your challenge is to identify where you’re being highly reactive. I’ve just experienced the most successful year of my entire career, and I’m ashamed to say that I spent most of that year suffering acute stress and anxiety. I’ve been highly reactive, and if I’m honest, there have been traces of intense reactivity throughout my adult life.
When faced with a new problem, my first reaction is to FREAK THE F**K OUT. I thought you should know this about me because I tend to reach out and share lessons long after that storm has passed, from a place of calm and wise understanding.
I even believe that I attract people who perpetuate my reactive tendencies. One of my earliest web designers urgently contacted me several times to let me know that “THE SITE IS DOWN AND CANNOT BE RECOVERED” during our one month of working together.
I’ll never forget sitting at the ball field during my children’s practices that fall—completely disconnected from work—when she called with more web-fatal news. Redesigning my website was ruining my life! Miraculously though, all disastrous reports were followed by a calm email thirty minutes later, informing me the issue wasn’t as severe as she’d originally thought. “All fixed now.”
Last year, I invested about $12K into my brand and web design. I worked with only the best professionals, and it was entirely up-lifting. It goes to show: you get exactly the peace of mind you pay for.
During that process, I broke my website. I cut straight to the worst-case scenario. Worst-case is where I start these days. All my content was in tact, so the worst possible situation at the time was that my site would be down until the new site launched (approximately two weeks).
That’s not a life-or-death situation, so it didn’t deserve a life-or-death reaction.
But, I did have a true moment when I wanted to cut straight to day drinking and commit to it until bedtime. Even though I knew better to react, I still wanted to escape.
I kept my wits about me, though, and I went straight to work. I didn’t have a website to show, but I still had content to edit. I used the next two hours to update and delete old posts.
When I came back to the internet, I had several emails informing me the site was down and a helpful reply from my website host. They offered to restore the site from back-up, but I’d lose any changes I’d made recently.
In one morning, I’d actually managed to create a deficit. More work would’ve gotten done if I’d never come to work that day. I still refused to react, but I mentioned the changes I made to the host, and they managed to restore the site and my recent work. (I don’t know that I would have enjoyed the same results if I had panicked.)
So, what I’ve learned in the last year is this: Fear requires regular feeding. It feeds off of panic, stress, and anxiety. The more you feed it, the hungrier it becomes. It’s always waiting for its next meal, and if you’re in the habit, you’ll always be on the verge of fueling it.
My question for you: In what areas of your life and business are you being highly reactive? Whenever there’s a reaction, you have an obstacle (in itself, this is rarely a big deal in the grand scheme), there’s the way you feel about the obstacle (your emotions about the issue are the actual stressor, and often larger than necessary), and then there’s what you’re thinking about the way you feel towards the obstacle (this results in the downward spiral to panic).
Don’t get me wrong: there’s a level of intensity and tension that comes with the job. That will remain. But, it can be separate from you and your emotions.
When you’re at work actually dealing with the issues, you’ll notice you rarely feel panicked or stressed at all. You don’t feel any emotions actually, you’re in what they call “the flow” or “the zone.” You’re not thinking, worrying, or feeling because you’re traveling in the current of action. It’s taken over and you’re simply riding its wave.
The core strategy we’re trying to develop here is to learn how to step out of that current and stop reacting to it when you’re not in its flow. Spinning out of control around the obstacle solves nothing and helps nobody, least of all yourself. So, for this week, just think on it. In what areas of your life and business are you being highly reactive?
Here’s to your most profitable year.