When things get messy in your business

Episode 113: When Things Get Messy in Your Business

Plans. Goals. We all have them, but sometimes even the best-laid plans need to be revised — or thrown out the window entirely. In this episode, I’m talking about what to do when things get messy in your business.

Well, bosses, if there’s anything I’ve learned from 2018, it’s that I make plans and the universe makes other ones for me.

Sometimes, this is just the way it is. And in my case, I committed to a year of growth and being “unstoppable” for 2018. Honestly, that has been put to the test time and time again over the last five-plus months.

As I’ve shared previously, my father passed away rather unexpectedly, and in the last episode, I talked about my business “divorce.” And in between all of that, I’ve been helping my mother with this new chapter of her life, as well as the fact she’s currently recovering from a major surgery after a double cancer diagnosis.

Now, before we go any further — as I know someone (or many someones) are gonna ask as you’re awesome like that — I’m good. I’m taking this all in stride, as it’s just the stage of life and business I’m in right now.

I’m not talking about this for sympathy or the head tilt of “oh, are you okay.” Trust me when I say I’m dealing, and I’ve got lots of support.

So, why am I sharing this?

I’m only sharing this as it’s real. It’s the truth, and I can pretend it’s not happening and just share the shiny shit, or we can use this as a “teachable” moment about what it’s really like to run a business.

Like it or not, life happens.

When I first started my business, I did it so I’d have the flexibility to deal with “life” and not need to follow anyone’s rules. So I consider all of this a big fat reminder of that fact; even at 13 years into my business, I STILL need that reminder sometimes.

The question then is what can you do when things get messy in your business? If you’re in business long enough, it’s going to happen.

Maybe it’s life circumstances that are out of your hands, a major client leaving, or a pivotal team member is gone overnight.

Doesn’t matter. You can bank on some surprises along the way that are gonna be messy and throw your plans into the toilet.

So, what do you do? Before we dive into this, I’m sharing a few things that have worked for me this past year, and in past situations, when things have been messy. This isn’t one-size-fits-all, so try out what works for you, and make it your own, and leave the rest.

1. Extend Yourself Grace and Revise the Plan

  • That may seem obvious, but, boss, listen, I know you’re stubborn. But all that vim and vigor you have sometimes needs to take a back seat to other things. Or sometimes you need to find a way to not get so attached to the “perfect” plan you created and be okay with it changing.
  • Things never work out exactly as we plan, so extend yourself some grace, and get okay with the plan being a work in progress.
  • Revise the plan. Hell, throw it out, and start over if you need to.
  • Right now, I’ve had to revamp multiple things — plan and goal wise — for the year based on Brittany’s departure and my personal life. Does that mean I’m tapping out or giving up? HELL NO, it doesn’t! It’s an opportunity for a different way ahead, and I’m going to trust that’s the way it should be.
  • If you’re resisting this idea, try taking one thing away or calibrating the plan slightly. See how that feels and go from there.

2. Put an Expiry Date on the Feels

  • I’m no stranger to the feels — especially back in May when Brittany and I were untangling things. I had more than one day of hysterical bursts of crying and honestly, I was a mess.
  • But as I was navigating that, I made a choice to put an expiry date on the wallowing and pity party so I could move past it. For me, that happened relatively quickly, and for you, it may be different.
  • If you need time for the feels, clear the decks, feel all the things, and then get back into the groove. The key is that you feel what you need to feel, and then decide when it’s time to get back to work.
  • I know that may sound harsh or uncaring, but you’ve got a business to run, and resilience is all part of the deal. Do what you need to do, and then commit back to doing what needs to happen to move ahead. Which brings me to the next point.

3. Action Is Everything

  • Listen, we all are going to do this one differently, but for most of us that run our own business, we’ve got grit. And when things get messy or rough, we need to tap into that grit.
  • How that shows up for you may be different, but the reality is that forward movement of any kind in the midst of challenges, even small actions can make a big difference.
  • Maybe you’re in a situation where you can’t work full days, so find a way to work a few hours and modify your schedule/workload to make that work.
  • You’re in control of this show — so use that (plus some grit and gumption) to help you take that next step.

I know for me when things are challenging, I’m ALWAYS better off when I can get into action. The lack of motion keeps me feeling like I’m stuck in the mud. But once I get moving, it’s so much easier to see the next step and the path forward.

I hope these ideas helped you, and just know that things are going to happen, but you’re the boss. You get to choose how you do this, and how you manage when things aren’t all sunshine and lollipops.


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