Without doubt, one of my favorite chapters to write for Birthing the Elephant was called “Turn Breakdowns into Breakthroughs.” An action guide for aspiring entrepreneurs, the book maps the four stages of a start-up’s launch cycle based on interviews with seasoned business owners. Stage 3 was by far the most fascinating: during this phase, just about every woman we spoke to found that she hit a major roadblock – not a garden-variety problem, but something big that threatened to derail both her new venture and her resolve — the loss of a huge customer, for example, or a major product flaw.
What we found was that this stage was an inevitable part of the project launch cycle. You may know the feeling: just when things seem to be humming along, something hits you from left field and everything shatters. You have to pick up the pieces and reassemble them in a new way. I call this the “fall-apart” phase. It seems to be a natural stage in any endeavor that involves significant time, creativity, and energy – including a major writing project. It’s a moment of truth when your resolve and resiliency are tested in a big way – when all your hard work seems to be crumbling right before your eyes. Sound familiar?
When you hit the fall-apart stage – and if you have any big project in the works, it’s almost guaranteed you will – how you respond makes all the difference. Yes, you may feel dispirited, but you need to regroup and regain your balance. Here’s the good news: there’s a payoff for persevering! Whatever emerges from the fall-apart stage is often better and stronger. A few survival tips drawn from Birthing the Elephant:
• don’t panic: simply view this stage as a natural phase, a rite of passage.
• don’t retreat: intensify your activity; push forward in search of a solution.
• find your secret motivator: a tool/technique that boosts your inner strength.
• defuse your stress: safeguard your energy and creativity – you need them!
Ever hit a major fall-apart roadblock? Any advice to share on getting past it?