Think less like a sheep and more like a SEAL

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Philosoraptor asks:

Maybe…but probably not in the past couple weeks, especially if you run a small business.  It’s hard enough when times are good to make things happen and plan for the future.  But what about the times like these, when a dangerous virus is surreptitiously spreading around the globe?  When your state or local government tells you that you’re not allowed to open your doors to the public?  When it looks like we might be headed toward a recession in Q2?  When our healthcare system is overloaded?  There’s a lot to be legitimately concerned about right now–but that list includes panicking.

When we panic, we fall prey to groupthink.  No offense, Banana Republic, but I don’t care how you’re handling coronavirus.  So why did every corporation on the planet decide it was a good idea to email blast their customers about their “COVID-19 response plan”?  If I had to guess, I’d chalk it up to groupthink. It must be a good idea if everyone else is doing it.

This is a fairly harmless example, but what else are people and businesses doing right now out of groupthink rather than actual wisdom?

(↑ oh yeah, there’s also that)

From the Bay of Pigs to Pearl Harbor, groupthink has been attributed as the cause of many global disasters.  What can we, as small business owners, do to avoid it in this time of crisis?

Navy SEALs are a great example for us right now.  By definition, SEALs operate in some of the most stressful situations imaginable.  Many of these situations afford little time for decisionmaking–and yet SEALs have to find a way to “slow down” mentally, make a plan, and take action.  As former SEAL David Goggins said, “The world is moving too fast. You have to slow it down and gain control.”

What does that look like right now?

  • Get off your phone.  The answer to the question, “What do I need to do today to help my business succeed” is probably not in your Facebook news feed.
  • Be intentional about each day.  Even if you’re stuck at home and limited in what you can do, you can still have a routine, set small goals, and accomplish them.  Turn off notifications, at least until lunchtime.
  • Keep moving forward.  Do what you can today, and repeat tomorrow.  Elephants must be eaten one bite at a time.

So in the next few weeks, don’t just follow the herd.  Think less like a sheep, and more like a SEAL.  Slow down, make a plan, and take action.  You’ve got this.

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