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What To Do During A Crisis Of Meaning

Posted by Cameron on February 05, 2012
Emotional Roller Coaster

This is a scary stage in your company that comes after Informed Pessimism, and can feel like you’re standing on the edge of a building needing to jump.  It will feel like all the odds are stacked against you and that everything is going wrong.  It will be hard to get out of bed in the morning.  Sleeping at night will be close to impossible due to worries and fear.  You’ll feel like you’re paralyzed and can do little more than perhaps clean your filing cabinet drawers successfully.


You definitely do NOT want to be talking to the media, potential employees or having team meetings when you’re feeling like this.

When you start feeling yourself sliding into this Crisis of Meaning stage, you really do have to reach out for help.   Don’t wait until you’re out on a ledge to call from your cell phone and say, “Hi, I’m getting ready to jump.  Can you help me?”  They won’t get to you in time!

We all need to really understand the feelings that we’re having as we move down the roller coaster. For women entrepreneurs, this can be a little easier since they know how to tap into that emotional intelligence and intuition from years of practice, and frankly, it’s more socially acceptable for them to do this. They’re also more likely to talk to others about their feelings, whereas we guys tend to think through stuff silently from our little caves. The bottom line? We all need to listen to our bodies and brains more because they actually send out these chemical responses within our body for a reason.

That anxious feeling in your gut is a chemical reaction that your brain is triggering. Realize that your body is saying, “Slow down.” This is the time to call on your friends, business advisers, banker, accountant, and call on people you went to school with –anyone who can lend an ear—and ask them for guidance. Call on organizations likeEO or YPO, and say, “I’m feeling stressed, worried and nervous. I’m not sure what to do or where to turn next. Help!”

And don’t feel ashamed of it because every single business owner goes through this stuff.

When you’re at this stage you should do things like:

·Clean your filing cabinet drawers – seriously.  Doing a few little things can often perk people up.

·Reach out to your support groups like friends, family, your church, groups like the Entrepreneurs Organization or similar ones and ask them for help, advice or to just lend an ear.

·Try to set your TOP 5 daily and only work on the most important items each day.

·Write lists – lists about your strengths, lists about what you love – make lists that when you re-read them will help re-build your  confidence.

·Go to the movies. Just a complete distraction.  Two hours of escapism.

·Read an inspirational (NOT an instructional) book.

You should avoid doing things like:

·Don’t talk to people that are depressed or negative.

·Don’t turn to vices: porn, liquor and drugs will destroy you.

·Don’t think that you can “handle it” on your own.  You can’t.

Make sure you have the mental capacity, supportive people, time and resources to get you through rough patches.

And remember:  THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

For more information on this topic, check out: The Emotional Roller Coaster of Entrepreneurs.

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3 Comments to What To Do During A Crisis Of Meaning

Ann Sutton
February 6, 2012

Solid advice. Once of the surprises about executive positions is that they can be very isolating. The value of having other people who can be “sounding boards” can’t be underestimated. There’s a saying, “you’re only as sick as your secrets”. Sharing problems early helps you realize, as you so accurately point out, that you’re not the only person to have faced the issue. It also builds relationships and adds depth to your professional network.

Jason Fonceca
February 11, 2012

This is really helpful, and inspiring. Thanks for sharing, Cameron.

I’ve fallen into those traps (more than once), and it’s great to have them written out.

Now I have better support systems and methods and it helps so much. :)

Sheila Comer
March 8, 2012

Thank you for this. I actually used the words “Crisis of meaning” today. What timing!

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