LeadershipHave you had the “bottom drop” out from under you in the recent past? By bottom dropping, I mean:

A sudden threat to your success or existence that requires you to make a tough decision or significantly redirect your action.

If you have, you will feel exactly what I’m talking about today. If you haven’t, I suspect there have been at least one or two times you have been on the edge of that drop. Our world is too complex and uncertain to create a continuous sense of stability.

This year, I have had major client organizations make decisions that have created a drop for me. Moving offices out of the region. Responding to significant downturns in business by shaving consulting services from the budget. Even individual clients changing companies and moving to South Dakota and Germany. All decisions that had nothing to do with the value of my services.

Even if these scenarios are to be expected or part of the challenge of my type of practice, the reality has the effect of knocking the air out of my lungs.

Enough about me. What can we do when we “drop?” Here are five things I’m putting into play:

  1. Refocus on a Particular Targeted Outcome: Decide what the next set of outcomes are that you are going to accomplish. Do not retreat or go into “wait” mode.
  2. Quash the Internal Dialogue of Fear: The mind is powerful, so notice if your uncontrolled thinking is sending you messages of fear. These messages only help if they put you into productive action. Listen and let them go. Accept that you cannot eliminate them.
  3. Reduce Distractions: With the vast opportunity to stay busy in the day-to-day work or swirling requests for interaction (or your email inbox), stay vigilant to spend time on work that matters to the bigger goal.
  4. Be Your Brand: We all have a brand, how people see us and our work. In times of stress, we often revert to our worst behaviors. So, these are times to truly be our best, exactly as we want people to experience our work and collegiality.
  5. Go For It!: Put your sustained effort, energy, and spirit to the next goal.

I didn’t want to start with a sports analogy today, but I’ll end with one.

In Philadelphia, all of our sports teams are losing this year. Not a little bit, really losing. While it makes me insane as a sportsfan, I am in awe of the ability of these athletes to get back up and play the game, even when the opposing team is crushing us. Yes, it’s their job. But, they have to feel the bottom drop. And, they have to make a decision. What am I going to make of this next play? How will I show who I am and what I’m capable of?

What’s you next play? Your next game? Decide and “go for it!”