When someone has had a really bad experience, personal or business, our natural inclination is to help, usually by offering some worldly wisdom such as:
- If anyone can get it all back, you can (the advice my father gave to me when I lost a business in 1993)
- The darkest hour is just before the dawn
- You just have to keep your head down and work through it
- The good news is there are lots of people rooting for you
and so on.
All of which is true – and gratefully appreciated.
Falling down is simple.
Picking yourself back up again is one of the biggest (and the loneliest) challenges you will face.
Because, in spite of the well-wishers and the power-phrases, you are going to have to fight a lone battle (often against yourself) every step of the way.
It will be tough – you will have to grind out every small step, every minor victory – and along the way, the gremlins, the doubters, the well-poisoners and the enemies will throw every trick in the book to try to stop your progress.
The doubters, the well-poisoners and the enemies are easy to deal with – they can go to hell – as my first ever coach Marlene Panet-Raymond taught me well back in 1996 – “since when are other people’s’ opinion of you any of your business?”
The gremlins are imaginary creatures who sit at the end of your bed every night, hoping that you will wake up.
If and when you do – they contaminate your mind with negative thoughts and fears, making it very difficult to get back to sleep.
In my own case, I have learned to fight back.
At my age, it’s not unusual to wake up in the early hours.
If I sense the gremlins are in the bedroom, I quickly imagine myself in a submarine, standing before a pressure-sealed door with a huge circular handle.
I have to push the door shut as sea water tries to push against me and into my compartment around the door edges.
If I manage to shut the door and turn the handle, the sea water is stopped and I can get back to sleep.
If not – I may as well get up and type all of those imaginary emails that are floating around in my head.
I’ve discovered an 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I manage to shut the door, 20% it’s time to put the kettle on.
There’s nobody around at 03:30 – you have to deal with it.
Learning to deal with it creates the wisdom of experience – which you then have to pay forward.
“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”