The Business Psychologist™

Managing Through Crisis

While I'm writing this, we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. I decided to blog about this because while timely, this advice is also timeless and good for any crisis. The world we are walking in today is very different than what any of us anticipated. Daily, we are being challenged to respond to new situations and circumstances. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable during an event that disrupts business as usual. As, The Business Psychologist™, I am placing urgency and importance on self-care and strategy to support you in being the leader your family and team need during this time.

My intent is to guide you in remaining strategic and operating from a growth mindset to be strong and resilient as we navigate these times. Businesses that remain strategic will come out of this stronger and poised for growth. Your mindset is critical in making that happen. Lead with love, shine bright, be a gift.

You got this! And we at Tap the Potential are here to support you.

Plugging the Dike

I have been studying entrepreneurial burnout and the connection between the gaps that exist in our businesses and our levels of entrepreneurial burnout.  I'm very concerned about our entrepreneurial community as a whole, because we are highly vulnerable to entrepreneurial burnout. The best analogy that I can give you is that every time we (as the business owner) step into our business to “plug a hole” (e.g. we have a team member who calls in sick), we are like the little boy who puts his finger in the dike.

Have you heard that story from Hans Brinker, The Hero of Harlem? The little boy sticks his finger in the dike to keep the North Sea from washing over the dike and taking over the village. We are constantly doing that in our own businesses. We plug holes. Sooner or later, we begin to look like we're playing an ugly game of Twister while we try to plug holes. As we are studying entrepreneurs and assessing their levels of entrepreneurial burnout, I am seeing a very strong correlation between our levels of burnout and gaps that exist in our business.

Mitigating Risk

Now—right now!—we have a lot of entrepreneurs out there that hire at high risk for burnout. We also have a major event—some people are calling it a crisis—on top of that. We have entrepreneurs who are hanging in there by a thread having to totally readjust everything they're doing and try to JUST. HANG. ON.

If you have cash flow problems in your business already, and you don't have cash reserves built up, that creates another level of stress. Thankfully, so many of you in the Tap the Potential community have been doing Profit First, which is a great way to strengthen your foundation in your business and provide you with some cash reserves to help you get through any changes that may be happening in your business.

The Danger Zone

Let's go back to the piece about entrepreneurial burnout in dealing with stress. When we are experiencing entrepreneurial burnout, we're in a place of chronic stress. All of our stress hormones are coursing through our system continually. It's like being in fight or flight mode nonstop. Before the Coronavirus event, that was already in place for so many entrepreneurs. It's unfortunate how we begin to live as if it's normal. When we add a significant stressor on top of that, like what's going on with Coronavirus, it heightens our risk for entrepreneurial burnout, depression and anxiety, not to mention chronic health conditions, as well as more severe mental and physical health problems. 

Entrepreneurial burnout is a significant contributor to depression and suicide amongst entrepreneurs.  In a time of widespread stress and anxiety, this is something we want to get in front of and address. I want to give you strategies to cope so that you're not just surviving this event, but you are going to be able to thrive in it.

We need to be aware that when we are in fight or flight mode, our thinking becomes restricted. We go into tunnel vision, which for entrepreneurs is very dangerous because our scope of vision literally focuses very narrowly on the challenges. We miss the opportunities around us. We don't see alternatives. We start pulling away from people and isolate, which also shuts us off from feedback and social support. That feedback and social support makes us much healthier overall. Those risk factors concern me greatly. 

Be Aware

I want to talk with you about being aware of this for yourself.  You may be in what we call the survival trap. We all have goals that we want to reach as an entrepreneur. At Tap the Potential, we believe work supports life, not the other way around™. We support our clients in creating a business plan that supports their life vision. 

We want to get you from the current situation where you are now (from whatever is causing stress or halting growth) to your vision, and we want to get you there as quickly as possible. The challenge is that when you are operating from a place of stress, the choices you make today may be based on survival, and those choices may not be serving your greater vision. We want to support you in making the choices today that allow you to survive AND thrive. That's our specialty.

This is an excerpt from the Coronavirus Self-care & Strategy Series, Part 1. I hope you'll find it useful for this and other major stressors, events, and changes as you navigate rough waters so you can truly lead your team, your business, and your life. To watch the full video, please click below.

Get in front of this now. Assess your level of entrepreneurial burnout and the health of your business. It's time to get your life back!

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About The Author

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist and international best-selling author of the How to Hire the Best series and The 4 Week Vacation™, is the founder of Tap the Potential and host of the Profit by Design podcast. At Tap the Potential, we work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business.

We believe work supports life, not the other way around. Clients in our Better Business, Better Life coaching program have more time for what matters most and more money in their bank account than they’ve ever had. Next, we send them off on a 4 Week Vacation™ to celebrate their hard-earned journey to take their life back!

Dr. Sabrina and her team at Tap the Potential are on a mission to change the story of entrepreneurship from one of long hours, grinding it out, to one of sustainably profitable businesses that support and enhance life. The Tap the Potential Solution™ and our Tap the Potential Family of Business Owners are disrupting small business as usual. We are on our way to making the Tap the Potential Solution™ the mainstream model for growing business.

By 2023, 150 Tap the Potential clients will have taken 4 Week Vacations. These are the trailblazers, role modeling what’s possible for entrepreneurs. In many entrepreneurial circles, it is becoming more and more common for one entrepreneur to ask another, “Have you taken a 4 Week Vacation™?” (as opposed to asking “How many employees do you have?” or “What is your annual revenue?”). Taking a fully unplugged 4 Week Vacation is rapidly becoming the recognized symbol of entrepreneurial success.

Never one to accept the status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses—no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing—and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths.

As The Business Psychologist, and with her years of driving profit in small businesses, Dr. Sabrina knows what it takes to find, keep, and motivate exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—team members.