How to Prepare Your Business for Hard Times

‘Live for the air after pain and there will be no reason to run’ 

– Mark Nepo

This past week I’ve been faced with so many obstacles: physical challenges with my body, my car had a moment and, to top it all off, my bank card was skimmed, my bank accounts emptied. Safe to say, I was on the verge of a full blown adult tantrum. 

But hey, as it turns out my job is actually this: processing the hard shit, finding a way through the mess and coming out on the other side to share a lesson. I’ve spent the last few days, journalling and reflecting on my morning walks, seeking to understand what lessons this chaos had to teach me. 

Discomfit cannot be avoided on this ride we call life. I know it’s probably not what you want to hear but something we inevitably have to come to terms with.

Eckart Tolle said it well…

“Nothing that you plan is going to work out. Everything is going to be totally different than the way you expected. And things will constantly challenge you. Wherever you look the world is not as solid as it seems to be.”

-Eckhart Tolle

Let’s be honest, no one wants to experience hardships. I doubt few people would ever choose to sign up for them. 

But would we really learn life’s greatest lessons for growth without them? 

Consider this: when life is going well, we rarely even see/notice the lessons. I was made aware of how quickly this can change. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I found myself almost skipping down the street, hand in hand with my lover, excited for our perfect morning routine of coffee, croissants and the farmers market. 

As I looked down to check my phone, and I saw a notification that tipped me off to the potential scam, my mood instantly changed. The joy was zapped from my body and the panic and urgency set it. I left her on the side of the street and raced back home to call my bank, cancel my cards and file a report on the compromised app that had exposed me.

It wasn’t until the problem was solved that I was able to reflect on how quickly I was snapped out of my peaceful state and it got me thinking. 

As adults, we are faced with challenges that spring on us at any moment and often we are the only one responsible for solving them. Much like running a business, there’s no shortage of shit shows to sort out. 

When life throws you a curveball, it has the potential to bring out your best problem solving selves that access a superhuman state to get to work. The shock, fear and sudden shift in my sense of security drew my attention straight to the fire. I sought to find the source of where it originated so I could put it out as quickly as possible and release the pain. 

But here’s the thing I found helped to ease the anxiety of the accumulating problems I faced. Once I was able to observe the ‘storm’ and tell myself that it had to end at some point, I found a glimmer of hope and even humour in it all. 

What if instead of reacting to the pain, hardships, challenges and discomforts in life, we instead decided to ride out the storm? 

No storm lasts forever. Whilst they differ in intensity, duration and damage, they eventually run out of momentum. Sometimes we have the awareness to notice when they are brewing. We spot the first signs of disruption in our lives and act with urgency. But at other times, I bet most of you can relate to the feeling of being smack bang in the eye of it, where everything feels like it’s being destroyed, chaos swirling in every direction with no end in sight. But eventually we find ourselves emerging out the other side of it.  We catch ourselves sighing in relief as the calm returns, a deep exhale at the sight of blue skies, the respite from the howling winds.

There’s a lesson I continue to learn from enduring the stormy chapters of my life & helps me prepare for the next one: It’s not so much about the chaos of the storm but what do we do in the aftermath of the storm? 

We may not be able to stop the wild weather seasons in our lives and/or business, but we can see them as nature’s way of promoting us to stop, slow down and take stock of our foundations. 

When a storm comes and our metaphorical house is literally shaken, we are tested. Our mental, physical, spiritual, financial and community health is put under pressure by the wild conditions. When we’re in it, it’s often about survival mode, high vigilance and taking cover. But as the storm passes, we have an opportunity to reflect. How did our foundations go? Did they hold up? What was the weakest link? What cracked? What held firm and provided safety? 

Whilst the storm isn’t always pleasant, it is necessary for growth. Without a solid foundation you can’t expect to build a long lasting legacy. And so whilst the storm may throw you around a bit, can you endure the conditions? Then, when the time is right, can you observe what it is that may need some extra attention, support or resources to help you make a better foundation for the next chapter of your life and business. 

Who can you call on to help you through the storm? 

What damage was done? Where did it hurt the most?

What repairs or foundational support can you set in place to help you ride out the next one? 

Special thanks to Copywriter Marion Piper for editing & feedback on this article.