ENTREPRENEURS' TOOLBOX

How to navigate tough times

Tough times can be harsh on a person.

In Summary

•When you are at war, you want to minimize distractions and maintain sharp focus

•You must be nimble enough to quickly change course as required

 

Deep thinking/
Deep thinking/
Image: SHUTTERSTOCK

If you have lived long enough, you know that life is a rollercoaster and tough times are common–these are times when all hell breaks loose, and you struggle to survive.

Tough times can be harsh on a person. Therefore, you need the skills to successfully navigate the madness. So, where do you start?

First, thinking. How do you think in tough times? Wartime thinking is different from the mentality at times of peace and your survival depends on knowing the difference.

During tough times, you should be mentally prepared to battle; this mental poise helps you to move strategically. Here are three principles to help you win.

Keep it simple: This is huge. When you are at war, you want to minimize distractions and maintain sharp focus. Hence, the need to keep things simple.

Start by deciding on a simple, specific, clear focus. It is not the time to have a long list of goals. What is that one clear goal that can drive your actions? What is that target that can give you the clarity that you need to win? That should be your focus.

At tough times, you cannot afford to have a foggy mind. Anything that blurs your vision is a distraction – clarity is your goal. You must learn to focus on the few things that give you clarity.

This is achieved by keeping your operations lean. You’re at war, think like a strategic general – simplicity, focus, and clarity must be your priority.  

Know your allies: When in tough times, people tend to act in strange ways. I’m not sure why, but often, even people close to you start to display bad manners and shocking behavior.

Those who you thought were for you could suddenly turn against you–it’s normal; don’t let it paralyze you. That is why you must be careful to identify your allies, and here is a simple test: those who increase your pain are not for you, and those who decrease your pain are on your side.

Pivot unapologetically: In business, pivot means to change direction when your product or service is not meeting market needs – this principle applies in tough times.

Here, you must be flexible and ready to change what is not working. This is not the time to insist on a status quo that does not work.

You must be nimble enough to quickly change course as required. If it is not working to advance your goal, drop it and find what works.

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