How to Survive the Business Building “Pressure Cooker”

I have so many conversations with business owners and so often I hear the same thing. Hey, maybe it would be easier to be in a different business or a different industry or maybe I should get out of these services and go into other services, maybe I should move to a different area. And in some cases, that is 100% true, but in other cases it’s literally just the pressure of the business speaking.

You’re tired, you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not eating as good as you should, you’re exhausted so you’re in a state of weakness in a sense, and you just kinda went out. Whereas when everything is going great, you’re getting enough sleep, you’re eating good, you’re exercising, things are all clicking and everything is great you’re sort of on the top of the world and you’re ready to tackle the next big challenge and grow the business to the next level, and break through that next plateau. And so a lot of it has to do with how you’re feeling, so for me things have been really good for a long time, and especially in the last three years.

Things just keep getting better and better, and I’ve been through a million challenges building the business, so it doesn’t matter if you’re little bitty with your first truck, or right now you have 50 crews, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to have these moments in time where you go through this pressure cooker, these just like mental pressure. So, my stuff has been going really good.

I’ve been through a lot of really hard stuff to get here, but just in the last four months, I’ve probably been through … I’ve got like three major events going on in my world, and it’s probably been the most tiring and stressful mentally exhausting thing that I’ve been through in 15 years, and I’m not exaggerating. From December through, I’d say the end of March has been a mental beating. And so I’ve been through so many things like this in the past, but I’ve been on a good run for awhile and that’s how business works, it’s how life works. And so it got me thinking that, you go through the same thing, I’m gonna go through it again someday in the future, I’m sort of on the other side of it now, and from this experience, it reminded me of some things that I haven’t thought about for a few years.

So I’d like to … because I’m just past it, I’d like to give you a few tidbits, a few ideas as you’re working through the challenges that you may be in your business right now or that may be coming. So when you’re in the midst of whatever’s going on, you, what I believe as most of us do is we just let our brains go crazy and our mind just runs wild. We worry about what could happen, this thing or that thing or some risk that might happen. And generally most of those things are not going to happen to us. We’re thinking of all the scenarios.

Or, if we’re dealing with someone else, and that other individual is part of the reason why we’re having the challenge, we might be inventing stories in our mind about how they’re thinking about us or the situation or whatever the case may be. We’re imagining scenarios. I believe in that concept where we’re narrative making machines, and so basically we’re constantly creating scenarios around why this thing might be happening to us or why this person looked at us this way or spoke to us that way or why they’re dealing with us this way in business or what their strategy is. And that stuff will screw with you, and so you’ve got to be very careful to talk yourself off that ledge because your mind can run wild.

And generally, we’re worried about nothing. So, a few of the things real quick that I’ve been reminded of, is the best way to approach this, and I’m telling you this … it’s coming from a place where I did not approach this correctly until the very end of the situation, like March. So, some of the stuff started as early as December, and by March I finally got my head straight. So, the things I screwed up is, I quit sleeping like normal, I quit eating like normal, I quit working out like normal. I was still doing it a little bit, but not to the level I was when I was operating at a peak state.

So when you’re going through your most challenging moment in time, you quit doing the things that are the most important like eating, sleeping and exercising, then you’re lowering your mental state, you’re lowering how you feel, therefore you’re not even approaching the solution with the ability to solve it in the best possible way. Your brain’s not functioning at the highest level, so you’re now not showing up with your best, most creative self. Like that’s the top mistake, and that’s what most people do is as soon as things get hard, we quit doing that core, fundamental stuff that can allow us to operate at a peak state.

That was one of my mistakes. The other thing is … so basically, I quit a bunch of my great, healthy habits that I generally do. The other thing is that we can’t deal with a bunch of the imaginary stuff or the stuff that might happen, so all you can do is break the problem down and deal with what you know right now, you can only deal with what happened. So some of it happens, you can deal with that, but the random stuff that could happen or the imaginary solutions you barely should think about ’em unless it’s from a strategy stand point. There is a reason to think through steps and what might happen because you’re playing out a strategy.

If you’re dealing with another person, a company, a family member, you might have to think through “Okay, if they do this, I’ll do this.” You know back and forth, that’s strategy. That makes sense. But if you’re just saying “Well this thing could happen, or that thing could happen.” And you’re worrying about it, useless. You’ve gotta like literally force that stuff out of your mind. You gotta focus on just what you can control and the thing that I really had to remind myself of was, what is my next action? I’ve got these challenges. Okay, all these different challenges, what is my next action that I can control that will move the ball forward to solve this problem? And that’s the only thing that I really needed to focus on if I knew what the strategy was to solve the problem.

I just focus on that one thing, my next action. And then after I take the action, we move the ball forward, did it help fix anything? Are we in a better place? Whatever the scenario might be, the problem that you’re dealing with, and from that, after taking the next action and seeing what the result is, then what’s your next best action knowing what you now know and you really can only move the Lego block, the pawn or whatever, one more step forward. But the idea of worrying about the next 20 things that could happen or something could happen tomorrow or next month, it’s a waste. So as best you can, break your problem down into steps, challenge whatever it is down into pieces. And focus on the next action, and every time that brain draining narrative junk pops up in your head, push that out and just stay focused on the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing and from my experience, eventually you solve all the problems.

You work through them and everything is back to the way it used to be. It doesn’t mean it won’t be exhausting, it won’t be a brain drain, doesn’t mean it won’t be hard and frustrating and during it you’re like “This isn’t even worth it.” But that’s how you get through something, so don’t stop doing the things that allow you to operate at peak state, and remember break it into pieces and deal with one at a time. And whether that’s solving a industry problem, employee problems, a financial problem, a spouse problem, a business problem, a whatever, I think that generally applies to almost all of the problems. I hope that was of some help, see you later.

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