Don’t panic: it will be ok

Trump, Brexit, LaPen, Corruption in SA. Fears of foreigners. Money, scams and fake news. Presidents who lie (more than usual). Violence in schools. Healthcare for the privileged few. Gender and poverty gaps. Pressure and deadlines. Materialism. Paying bills at the end of the month. Addicted to our phones.

We live in exciting times. There is no denying that. They are scary times too. At least they feel scary. It seems at any one moment something awful is happening somewhere. We take our eyes off the newsfeed for a few hours and when we are back it feels all so overwhelming. EntrepreneurSHIT flung in every direction at those brave enough to have taken the leap. Career pressures constantly on the rise – and that’s if you have a job. Sometime that anorexic space under the bed seems to be the only safe space.

But I’m here to tell you to not panic! It will all be ok my Dear Friends.

The world is getting better. For sure it is not perfect, but as Tamar’s uncle says, it is in a better state than yesterday.

But I appreciate that no matter how much we are rationally conscious of the above fact, our fears and anxieties aren’t that easy to put to bed. So here are my tips – based on 30 years of shoveling shit – that may be of use to you in coping.

  1. Stop seeing every setback as a crisis. Rather enjoy it – even if it is hard sometime to see it that way – as an opportunity to become stronger. As the saying goes, a smooth sea never a good sailor made.
  2. Put your anxieties to paper… write a little diary, a note, something – anything – down. You’ll be surprised how much it helps to get it out of your system. Our minds are like pressure cookers – sometime we need to let off a bit of private steam.
  3. Do set yourself goals – absolutely. But don’t make them one big goal or nothing. Rather break down your big goal in lots of smaller achievable goals that you can reach regularly… that way if you don’t achieve 100% you’ll still have ticked off your list and have made progress every day/week.
  4. When shit hits the fan you’ll feel absolutely worthless. It is normal. Don’t fight it but also don’t make assumptions about yourself at this time. Just accept it for what it is: a temporary state of shittiness. No less and no more. Don’t make permanent judgements about yourself (as in “I’m terrible at…, I suck at this…”, etc).
  5. In my experience, it helps to not react too much to the good times or the bad times. Enjoy each occasion without the heaviness of expectations. Each time will be temporary. Be grateful, but don’t over react.
  6. Whatever your needs or intentions, learn to communicate them. If no-one knows what you need or seek no-one will be able to assist you.
  7. Do hang out with other people who are in a similar boat as you even when you feel like absolute shit and don’t even have the money to buy a coffee. Sitting at home all alone might seem safe but doesn’t help your creative solution juices flowing. Go out, attend seminars, workshops, speaking engagements etc. You’ll be amazed how much good it will do to you.
  8. Never ever boast about the good times please. Stay humble and under the radar screen (it also happens to be a great business tactic – showing off is sending the wrong signals) as much as possible. Never show off how successful you are or pretending to be. This tactic will come in handy in tough times.
  9. When you are out of luck, do share it, but not in a complaint type of way. Share what happened and what you need to get back up. Make it easy for others to help you.
  10. If your business is going south, hoping to get an investor or find more money is sometime just a way to dig yourself deeper in the hole. A business failure is just the market’s way of telling you that the approach you tried wasn’t working and you need to rethink the assumptions and approach. That’s it. It is not a statement to your worth.
  11. Help as much as possible everyone you can help. It will make you feel great (sometime it can be as little as inviting some people who are struggling to your place to hear them out).

Here’s to life, the biggest adventure ever. As the saying goes, there are no passengers on planet earth. We are all sailors.

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