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Home » The real hard truth about being recession-proof in business and in life

The real hard truth about being recession-proof in business and in life

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Ohh the doom and gloom.

The dreaded recession…

You’re probably sick and tired already of hearing “experts” and their predictions.

Or their hot takes and unpopular opinions.

Like they actually have any idea of what will happen.

Truth is…

Nobody knows.

The only thing we do know?

Is that black swan events (remember COVID?) can pull the rug from under our feet, at any moment.

And that we have to be ready.

I’m almost finished watching Breaking Bad for the second time, and in one scene Walter White says something that rings true especially these days.

He’s been undergoing cancer treatment and is at the hospital, waiting for the next diagnosis. With him, a fellow patient, more of a newbie though. He’s evidently scared shitless and so he starts chatting with Walt:

Stranger: “Anyway, so for me, that’s been the biggest wake up call… letting go, giving up control. Eh, it’s like they say, ‘Man plans and God laughs.'”

Walter: “That is such bullshit.”

Stranger: “Excuse me?”

Walter: “Never give up control. Live life on your own terms.”

Stranger: “Yea, no, I get what you’re saying, but uh… cancer’s cancer.”

Walter: “To hell with your cancer. I’ve been living with cancer for the better part of a year. Right from the start it’s a death sentence–that’s what they keep telling me. Well, guess what? Every life comes with a death sentence. So every few months I come in here for my regular scan knowing full well that one of these times–hell maybe even today–I’m gunna hear some bad news. But until then, who’s in charge? Me. that’s how I live my life.

That’s stoic.

And that’s how we as business owners, should face the situation.

I thought about this on a kickoff call with a client.

Their approach?

They are investing now in this project, knowing full well that they won’t necessarily see returns before the end of the year.

But that’s fine, because most other businesses in their space are freezing to death (literally, with these temperatures).

You fall to the weakness of your systems.

What can you do to get back in charge?

There’s a very helpful mental model developed by the military to face chaotic situations.

It’s called VUCA.

Its 4 components are: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.

Figure out which of these is characterizing the current landscape, and act to change the situation or to get some sense of control over it.

I see lot of uncertainty and ambiguity right now.

Which might mean having to invest in information and in relationships – and to do it early. Before you feel the need. And it might also mean using design thinking and experimentation to get the early mover advantage.

When it comes to improving conversions on your website you have to get control, even when you can’t afford to embark on a redesign project.

Test often and early.

Keep doing your research every quarter, at least.

And see how trends change to come up with hypotheses for your messaging and design.

Maybe a pain point that used to work just 3 months ago, now is not as strong.

Or your positioning might be off because a new competitor came out with a new feature that is disrupting the industry.

Point is, you have to get control and take action.

Remember as Walt says: every life comes with a death sentence and one of these times you’ll hear some bad news.

But you’ll be ready.

I learned about the VUCA model from my coach at Commit Action. If you’re interested in checking it out and in getting some accountability (and a sense of control over your business), I highly recommend it. If you sign up here we both get $200 off for a month.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“There is no more reliable proof of greatness than to be in a state where nothing can happen to make you disturbed.”

– Seneca, On Anger

Learning to manage your mental and physical state has the highest ROI in life. Not only because of the impact that has externally, but also because it’s proof to yourself that you can face anything.

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