I’m on the beach doing a little light reading—Laurence Gonzales’ Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. No beach trash in next to my SPF 70. And while all of the stories Gonzales tells involve surviving accidents at sea, in the wilderness, or in the air, I can’t help but think about the proverbial “mountains” that we must conquer in business and how these survival tips could come in handy when faced with our biggest business challenges.
In Deep Survival, Gonzales seeks to explain what survivors have that the unlucky don’t. How can you increase your odds of making it out of an accident alive? It turns out survivors have some very special characteristics and these traits seem remarkably similar to the traits of successful business owners. What makes the difference between surviving and perishing? What do survivors know that the masses haven’t figured out? And how can we apply these things to running our businesses better?
They Stay Calm
This is pretty important and discussed throughout the book, Gonzales reiterates that staying calm is the key to surviving any accident. Why? Because the human body only has a limited amount of energy and if you are dehydrated and hypothermic, wasting your energy can literally mean the difference between life and death. Another bonus to remaining calm during a crisis is that calmness usually produces better decisions. Emotional outbursts usually lead to irrational choices or decisions you’d wish you hadn’t made. #textsfromlastnight If you find yourself in a bad spot, keep your cool. Stay calm.
Similar to surviving a life-or-death accident, staying calm to make business decisions is imperative as well. In business, you also only have a limited amount of energy—don’t waste it worrying about forces out of your immediate control. Use your energy to its fullest by only focusing on what you can control—how you manage your employees, how you provide a great experience for your clients, and how could you be doing both these things better.
They’re Really Good at Ignoring “No”
I’m not sure I can say it any better, so I’m just going to quote Gonzales: “There is always one more thing that you can do. Survivors are not easily frustrated. They are not discouraged by setbacks. They accept that the environment (or the business climate or their health) is constantly changing. They pick themselves up and start the entire process over again, breaking it down into manageable bits. Survivors always have a clear reason for going on.”
It’s that “never quit” attitude that keeps them going. Nothing can keep them from living through their ordeal and getting out alive. Similarly, in business, don’t let anyone break your spirit or take you off track from your goals. It’s extremely upsetting, but some of our biggest business detractors are disguised as our closest family and friends. Stay strong. Stay above “no.”
They Complete Small Tasks
I’ve talked about this in multiple posts, but the power of small is real. Establishing your daily routine to tackle just a few small tasks and get a little closer to your ultimate goal is the key to business success. Think about it, if you did 3 things each day that were directly related to your ultimate business goal, at the end of the year, you’d have completed 1,095 tasks. I wonder how many your competition completed? Need help prioritizing your tasks? Check out this previous post.
They Know They’re Smart
This isn’t an IQ thing or an ego thing. Survivors just know that they’ll make it out. Call it positive mental attitude. Call it extreme self-reliance. But they never have any doubt that they have the ability to make the best decisions they can to get through their current situation. This also seems to be a factor in business success. The best businesses are led by owners who never seem short of the confidence that they know they’re on the right track. In addition, once a business owner survives one setback, they know they can do it again.
So, next time you find yourself in the midst of a business problem, simply recall the Navy Seal motto, “It could always be worse.” Just kidding. Actually, this is another key trait of survivors according to Gonzales—they find humor and appreciation for anything that comes their way. As long as you know you can get through any of life’s or business’s difficulties, you will. Staying calm, ignoring “no”, completing small tasks, and knowing you have what it takes will get you to the other side of your problem.
I made some notes about my posts for later this week and I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking when I wrote “How to get unstuck” for Thursday. Hopefully I’ll figure that one out in time! But, on Friday, I’ll share with you my favorite under-eye treatments.
Until then, stay on your toes!