I still remember the conversation vividly, even though it was many years ago.
We were over a year into the worst recession we’d ever seen …
and my husband and I were struggling to keep our small business afloat.
One day our marketing partner called to say she had decided that we had to work with another company.
She wanted that company to do something for her main business, but they insisted on marketing our business as well or no agreement.
I knew in a flash that if we said “yes”, it meant we instantly became a back-office operation for a fraction of what we had been making per client; and we might not even survive.
Then everything happened at once …
My heart started to race …
My breathing became labored …
Adrenalin flooded into my bloodstream …
And my voice rose to an impressive squeak!
My brain froze.
I was in panic mode.
At the end of the conversation, I sat looking at my husband, and realized we had choices to make, and panicking would not help.
But how to get my screaming mind back on track?
Has this ever happened to you?
Perhaps the strategy you’re using isn’t working fast enough, and you can’t pay the bills or feed your children.
Perhaps a partnership you’ve built starts to fall apart, and you see your future dissolving before your eyes.
Perhaps you’ve received a notice of foreclosure, a huge tax bill or a court summons.
At that moment, everything stops and you can’t move, breathe or think.
Over the years, I’ve learned 3 ways to move from panic to action so panic doesn’t rule my decisions.
Technique #1 is the hardest technique I have ever had to master …
but it has become the most valuable.
I don’t remember where I heard about it. My apologies to the originator.
|It takes courage, focus and persistence to do this … so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it through to the end the first time you try it.|
The next time you’re in panic mode …
Sit as calmly as you can.
Feel the fear.
Let it rise up in you.
If it threatens to overwhelm you, let it.
Feel all the fear, the terror, the pain ... don’t hold back.
At this point it may be too much, and you may want to start making excuses or telling yourself it’s not so bad in order to lessen the pain.
Resist if you can.
Imagine you’re walking through it, like a fog, looking for the light at the end.
Ask yourself “What’s the lesson? What can I learn from this?”
Keep asking “What can I learn from this? Where’s the lesson?”
You may hear all kinds of things in your mind about What if and OMG …
Keep walking through the pain.
Face it. Get a little angry if you have to.
After a while, you’ll start to calm down, as if it’s just too much effort to stay at that level of panic any longer.
You’ll walk out of the fog.
You may even see a lesson that can be learned.
When you get to the point where you aren’t in a full-scale panic, test to see if you’re ready to start planning strategies to move forward.
If not, ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen?”
If you’re in a financial crisis, you might say “I’ll go bankrupt.”
Ask “So, what then?” You might reply “I’ll lose everything.”
Keep asking “So, what then?”
Ask until you are in the worst possible place you can imagine.
At the bottom of the inquiry – I like to envision it as a staircase I’m walking down - you’ll realize that even if everything goes horribly wrong you’ll still have your life, the knowledge in your head, your determination and ability to start again.
You may even still have your family and friends.
If you’re a person of faith, you will still have that faith as well.
And frankly, you will probably have a whole lot more.
When you get to this point of realization, you can start to think … plan … form a strategy to meet the crisis and get through it.
You know the worst that can happen, so now you can plan for a better outcome.
And chances are, it won’t be nearly as bad as you were imagining.
The second technique for getting your brain out of panic mode and back into planning mode is to meditate.
Both my husband and I have been meditating for many years.
For us, it is now a spiritual practice.
If something happens that threatens to throw me out of kilter, my meditation room is the first place I go.
There are many techniques for meditating.
Choose the one that looks best for you, and start practicing now.
Trying to meditate when you are in the middle of a panic attack will not work unless you already have the tools to handle it.
If you’re accustomed to praying deeply, you can do that instead …
Whatever appeals most to you.
|The key is to start your practice when things are going well so you have that tool honed and ready to go when you need it.|
The last technique is a combination I’ve put together that uses different parts of your brain.
Breathe as deeply as you can for several minutes to calm down.
Wait until your heart stops racing and you can breathe normally.
When you’re there, begin to write out what the problem is in as much detail as possible.
You won’t need most of the detail …
frankly, much of what you write will be imagining the worst …
but it will have some facts that you’ll need.
After you’ve finished writing, create one sentence that describes the situation you need to address.
I know there will be lots of ancillary issues to resolve, but focus on the one big problem right now.
Remove any words that are super-charged like “disaster” or “idiot”.
|When you have a sentence that accurately and succinctly describes what you’re facing, reach out to a coach, mentor, friend … someone you respect and whose judgment you trust.|
Ask them to help you develop a strategy to overcome the difficulty you described in your sentence.
Make sure you wait until you are calmer before you pick up the phone.
Resist the urge to blame or justify.
Ask them what they think you might do, then stay quiet and listen.
Chances are good that, if you picked the right person, they will be both compassionate and knowledgeable …
and you can develop a list of steps to get you back on track.
So, what happened that fateful afternoon after the phone call?
I sat deep breathing for several minutes.
In and out. In and out. One breath at a time.
When I was calmer, I began listing out our options.
At the end of the exercise, my husband and I discussed the pros and cons of each possibility, and chose one.
Panic over. Decision made.
Was it easy?
I wouldn’t say so; but I refuse to be hijacked by an emotion, especially when the stakes are high.
Technique #3 is the easiest to start with if you have never meditated before (technique #2) and don’t think you have the courage to face your fear head-on (technique #1).
Eventually, though, you might want to try Technique #1.
It took me years before I could do it without chickening out half way through, but I’m glad I stuck with it.
I wish you success.
PS – Sometimes panic can set in if you are in debt and your marketing doesn’t seem to be growing your business as fast as you need it to.
If that is the case, attraction marketing may be a good addition to your marketing program.
Attraction marketing is a method for attracting to you people who want to know about your opportunity and your products.
Instead of chasing people to buy this or that, you provide value to your audience – usually in the form of online education.
Over time, they come to know, like and trust you.
Then they want to know what you do and how you do it.
Attraction marketing puts the “home” back in home-based business.
If you would like to learn more about attraction marketing, click here to sign up for a Free 10 Day Online Attraction Marketing Bootcamp.
My friend and mentor, Ferny Ceballos, has recorded 10 videos that walk you through the basics of attraction marketing and explain why it works.
Ferny himself walked away from what many consider to be a dream job to follow his passion for network marketing, and built his team online.
His multi-million-dollar business is built on the principles of attraction marketing.
If you would like to see what attraction marketing is all about, and how it can help you, click here to get started.