WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR BUSINESS IS IN “CRITICAL CONDITION”?

By Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer

I’m writing this post from a hospital waiting room while my mother undergoes open heart surgery for an aortic aneurysm. Sounds pretty scary, right? It is! It’s life-and-death scary and it’s unexpectedly turned my world upside down in every aspect of my life.

The feelings of overwhelm, fear, uncertainty, confusion, anger and loneliness consume me, sometimes separately and sometimes all at the same time. And I’m exhausted, so very exhausted. I realized that these are all the same feelings that I’ve had at some point as a business owner and have witnessed in other entrepreneurs.

There have been moments in business, both as an owner and as an employee, where I felt like things were just so critical and hopeless. And it was in those moments that I made the worst mistakes because I reacted instead of responded. I didn’t take time to breathe through critical decisions. These were the worst times to be in the mindset of “Done is better than perfect”, which is what I usually subscribe to.

Why do we do this in business?

Why do we get consumed and nearly paralyzed at times? (And by the way, the doctors have all used the “possible paralysis” phrase with my mother several times).

I didn’t really understand it until now while I wait for my mother to come out of surgery. Because all I can do right now is WAIT. This situation is completely out of my control. And boom, that’s the answer to “Why do we (at least me) do this in business?”

We often make critical decisions impulsively in the moment because we need to feel in control of our destiny.

We don’t want others in charge of the things we take pride in owning or creating. We hate the unknown, the uncertainty and the inability to make the next move in business to reach our goals.

What if we just do what’s next, as one friend recommended to me about my own situation?

To know me personally is to know that I move quickly, I stack my schedule, I maximize my time to accomplish as much as possible as quickly as possible. But not right now. It’s like I’ve been boxed into a windowless and doorless room. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Just a complete halt to EVERYTHING in my world. All I can focus on is today and possibly tomorrow because my mother is in critical condition. And the most important thing I can be doing at this moment is WAIT and then do the next thing. I can sort of plan out the rest of my week, but not much more of that.

And this “halt” I speak of also happens in business. Businesses run out of money, lose employees, lose customers, experience natural disasters. Stuff just happens. Trying to control everything can be detrimental to REAL growth and “pain can be managed”. Making other commitments in your business might not be smart when something has unexpectedly paralyzed you. Don’t fight the possible need to rehabilitate.

Some suggestions, that I’m practicing at this very moment:

• Embrace the paralysis as an opportunity to breathe through the next decision, the next move, the next thing
• Have a “Care Team” in place – reach out to mentors and advisors for support and suggestions and be ready and able to pull others in to do parts of your job
• Ask yourself why you are stifled, all of a sudden, realistically AND metaphorically
• Determine what you can learn from it and if you need some form of rehabilitation
• Appreciate what you have and where you are in the moment (I’m currently tracking daily gratitudes as small as “Wore a clean shirt to the hospital today”)
• And as always, PIVOT … and give yourself to pivot slowly because you can still win the game.

If you’re feeling stuck, it’s time to pivot!

P.S. UNSTUCK YOURSELF! REGISTER NOW for our one-day conference “From Pain To Profit: Strategically Pivot Your Talent and Culture”on June 23 in Myrtle Beach.

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About the author

Gina Trimarco is a native of Chicago and CEO/Founder of Pivot10 Results and Carolina Improv Company. She has 25+ years of experience in marketing, sales, operations and people training. Gina combines street smarts and improv comedy skills with her experience in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, which sets her apart from her competition.

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