I absolutely love water. I always have, as far back as I can remember. The lake, the ocean, the creek, a good ole swimming hole, a hot tub, a great waterpark (YES!), the tank (a term used for a huge container used to water livestock back home in Texas), and last but not least a bright blue swimming pool.
I am not really that particular about the season in which I am exposed. Cold frozen water intrigues me just as much a cool inviting dip on a blistering summer’s day. Heck, I was even a lifeguard for a number in years in my younger days. I learned a lot of lessons then that I can now actually apply to project management now.
I said all of that to say this – The last three weeks, as small business owner, have been incredibly busy (good problem to have) and especially stressful (not always a good problem to have).
Facing a tough project time line at 6 AM on a Monday morning is like falling into cold water and suffering from cold water shock that causes serious psychological and physiological responses, which if not handled properly, can put you in a world of hurt in a big hurry.
After the initial shock of that tough project time line or business storm staring you in the face, and much like being immersed in cold water, you go into survival mode. Putting out fires as they come up but all the while keeping your eye on that deadline, as it if were an adversary. Pretty much like Linda is screaming at Billy in a Perfect Storm: “Billy? Get outta there! Come about! Let it- let it carry you out of there! What the hell are you doing? Billy! For Christ sake! You’re steaming into a bomb! Turn around for Christ sake! Billy, can ya hear me? You’re headed right for the middle of the monster! Billy?…”
A few water drops of wisdom on making it through a tough project time line or business storm:
Making it through a business storm requires, first and foremost the ability to swim. As my friend Dory ( who doesn’t LOVE Dory) once sang happily “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”
You must have the ability to keep you head above water, even without flotation devices. Nope, no matter who or what does not show up or what goes wrong just perform the proverbial treading water technique as needed to keep coming up for air.
The ability to avoid panic is key. I always have to fight the urge to listen to Quint (lame Jaws reference) when he whispers in my ear, “This shark, will swallow you whole” and replace it with another lame Jaws reference where Brody tells Hooper, “Come on Martin! Move, move, move!”
Last but not least, the ability to stay clear-headed and focused and, dare I say it, develop a little bit of an attitude. LOVE this line from Deep Blue Sea when Preacher says “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Because I carry a big stick and I’m the meanest (insert bad word here) in the valley! Two sharks down, Lord! One demon fish to go! Can I get an Amen?”
One thing for sure, deadlines do pass as others peek over the horizon (Great, now I’m humming “The sun will come up tomorrow”), but THE most important thing to remember is to enjoy the little things in your business life as they present themselves.
Here’s what I do. Don’t laugh. I have a small notebook laying here on my desk and anything good that happens in my day – anything that makes me laugh or smile – things like those great feedback surveys, NAILING a presentation, getting that job whose bid package was, well – difficult, reaching out to my “tweet peeps” for support, that hilarious e-mail or link a business friend shared and that “Thank You” call from a client gets scribbled into this little notebook. Before I shut this computer off each night (yes, I said night), I read through them and savor them, if only for a moment, to remind myself why I opened my own business in the first place.
It’s kind of like putting that floatee in the pool, laying back on it, and relaxing in the summer sun. Come on in, the waters fine!
How you get through your business storms?