Don't Waste A Crisis
"Don't waste a crisis" is a quote you might have heard in the past and certainly was widely used when we encountered the brunt of the economic downturn in 2008. The quote popped back into my mind the other day when a friend mentioned that his company was about to get bought out and there were whispers that layoffs might follow. I was totally prepared to hear my friend's dooms day scenario about what would happen if he lost his job but the conversation surprised me. My friend, whose true passion is cooking, began to speak about how this might be a good time to start looking at different ways to get into business for himself in the food industry. So in the midst of a brainstorm session with my friend where we covered everything from food trucks to farmer's markets, it occurred to me; here's a guy who’s not wasting his crisis. If we waste a crisis we miss one of the world's greatest opportunities to grow.
Some will say "don't waste a crisis" is just a cliche, when things stink, they just stink and that's it. Well, I only have one thing to say to that, you're right. However, if you were to say that a crisis is by far the best opportunity to grow in life and business I would say...you're right. See, a crisis isn't a destination; it's more like a crossroads with a choice. Not to get too "Robert Frost-y," but we have two paths we can take and one leads to a stronger business, the other leads to more wrinkles and gray hair, but that is entirely our choice. Cliches are a funny thing. Many disregard them because they are repeated so often they lose their strength. The irony is that they are usually repeated so often because they are so true. This cliche is not only true but a necessary key to success.
The older I get I realize that we have a way as adults to complicate the world simply for the reason that we think it HAS to be more complicated. The simple truth is that crisis and struggle, and the way we handle them, are part of the world's built in mechanism of mental, physical, and spiritual growth. Take some time to reflect, as a successful business owner, on what made you the strong executive you are. You will undoubtedly realize it was the fights to survive and the hardship that made your true colors shine. More importantly than simply weathering the "crisis," you made a critical decision. You decided that this wasn't so much a crisis as it was a challenge. You realized that as human beings we only get better when we're challenged and it was time for you to step up to it. Remember as you put your success plan together for the rest of the year that you're willingness to attack challenges head on is what makes you a great entrepreneur. So if you have a crisis staring you in the face right now just say, "bring it on buddy!!!"