What to Do When Sh*t Hits the Fan

Table of Contents
Primary Item (H2)

Quick Takes:

  • We all get knocked down
  • When we do, it feels like our lives are out of our control
  • However, the only strategy we have available is to pick ourselves up off the ground
  • If it's worth it, it's worth continuing forward

What an unpleasant image, excrements hitting a fan. Joke’s aside, if it hasn’t happened to you, it will, and if it has happened to you, well, then you’re probably a little dirty. No, not with that. With the dust that accumulated while you picked yourself up off the ground.

Because that’s all that happens when it hits the fan: you get knocked down. Getting knocked down is losing your job. Getting knocked down is getting dumped. Getting knocked down is failing to meet a goal. We always get knocked down, one way or another, and therefore, we should have a contingency plan for when we do.

The Initial Knockdown

When it first hits the fan, things spiral out of control, or so it seems. Life hits a bump in the road and it throws your plans into flux. That 12-month financial goal doesn’t seem feasible, and that big move you were planning just doesn’t seem possible, or does it?

At first, when you get knocked down, it’s hard to see how you’ll pick yourself up again. Life was chugging along like a slow-moving horse, and your life goals sat in the back like the apples in an applecart. Then, whether it be a bumpy pothole or a completely overturned cart, your plans and their goals get thrust into the air, coming down in a completely unrecognizable pattern.

This pattern, the place the apples now lay, is your life. Well, your current life, but not life as you’ve previously known it. Because that’s what happens when we get knocked down: our lives take on a size and shape unknown to us. We become unfamiliar in our own skin and we can’t understand, let alone fathom, how we’ll ever get the cart righted again and back on its original path.

For me, this “knock down" period usually lasts about 24-hours. With a growing business, for example, revenue is volatile. Wild upswings in earnings feel great, and it is great, but it isn’t sustainable. Unless you have a solid and mature base of core customers, these upswings will almost certainly downtick, even if you expect otherwise. And trust me, I’ve expected otherwise.

The downticks hurt, let me tell you, especially when you have a revenue goal that needs consistent growth to achieve. And if a decline in earnings throws you off your path to achievement, it may feel like your business is over. That your life is a failure. Trust me, I’ve felt it. Losing thousands of dollars of income is like a punch in the gut, one that, of course, knocks you on your ass.

Goals seem unattainable and pointless in those first 24-hours. It’s a lonely place, but lo, all it is is a single day in a life of thousands.

The Resolve

In the first day after an unforeseen blow to your plans, your focus waivers and you become momentarily disoriented. What’s the point? Why do I even care? Should I give up? These are all questions that run through our heads during this time.

Then, thankfully, like a prized fighter re-orienting himself after getting punched in the head, your wavering vision comes back into focus and you see with clarity your ideal life. You realize that getting knocked down didn’t disrupt your end goal, only the vehicle that was trying to get you there. What you have to do now, perhaps, is adjust your course, using your desire as motivation.

Say you’re a budding businessperson and your goal is to make $1 million in revenue. You have a modest business with a new product line and you think this line will accelerate your growth to the revenue you desire. Then, as most things do after a buildup, the product line flops. No chance of achieving your goal, and all you can think about is all the time, energy, and money you wasted.

But was it wasted? Certainly not. The learning experience alone was worth it. You realize, after sulking, that the desire for your goal is stronger than ever. And thank god you got knocked down!  It was life’s way of showing you that you needed to try a different way of getting there. So your product line failed. The learning experience was that you needed to do a better job validating the need of a product the next time around.

So, the next product line you launch, after more diligent validation, has a higher chance of success. You see, setbacks can do two things to you: make you soft or toughen your skin. If the desire for your goal is worthy, getting knocked down will only strengthen your resolve, and often times, that resolve is necessary for success.

Getting Back Up

I won’t lie, getting knocked down is tough, especially when it's monetary. We all have plans, and most of those plans consist of a dollar figure. Savings goals, purchase goals, vacation goals, travel goals, even social goals, all goals require an investment of time, and most of them require an investment of money, too.

So when you lose that job, or lose that client, I can hear you shouting at me, “but how can I get up and dust myself off when I can’t even make rent?"

Hey, like I said, if you desire your goal enough, you’ll figure out a way to press forward. My secret is that I write finance articles as my side hustle to plug any momentary gaps in my business revenue. Wouldn't it be easier to just go back and get a corporate job? Wouldn't it be easier for any business owner in their first few years of operation? Sure. But I know that the freedom my business affords me is paramount in the pursuit of almost all my other goals. Freedom of time directly influences my ability to work on other passion projects, and the success of my business directly influences my freedom.

So, I write occasionally, to extend my runway and the time horizon on my business, because business success is my goal. And you know what? It's a blessing in disguise. Not only am I able to brush up on my finance knowledge, but I’ve earned numerous backlinks from Investopedia directly to my website, helping with SEO. Since business success is important to me, I’m willing to hustle to make it work, and it pays off in ways often unforeseen.

When you get knocked down, there’s no denying you aren’t on the ground. Accept it as your current situation, because it is. Then, if you want your goal bad enough, the only option you have is to get back up.

Hi guys and gals, thanks for reading! If you found this article valuable don’t hesitate to share it around. The more people who read it the more impactful it becomes. If you share, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to give you a shout out!

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