riffs & rants blog

Addicted to the Red Line

Being in business is often exhilarating, the rush of creating something new, managing risk, dealing with uncertainty. The downside to exhilaration is that it is very easy to become addicted to it and you may find yourself creating crises in your day-to-day tasks in order to recreate that rush.

When you have your own business, there are many tasks you have to do that require anything but exhilaration. They require patience, intense focus, thought and mindfulness about the process. There is no room here for drama or confabulated crises.

meter needle

When you’re running a business, you have to make a lot of choices, everyday. In collaborating with business owners on their projects, we have a window into how they go about making choices. There’s the choice to do nothing at one extreme and the choice to do the most extreme option.

We found that many business owners get an endorphin rush from doing the extreme thing, so they go for the extreme option. When this happens, the focus shifts away from dealing with the actual issue and onto the noise generated by the exhilaration of taking extreme action. This creates the physical sensation of actually doing something, even if the action is counterproductive or completely ineffective.

A good chunk of these problems tend to be better handled in a more mindful, less dramatic fashion. Consider an analog meter, like one you would see on an old-fashioned stereo. There are extreme points on the meter and a large range in between. We found that dealing with problems inside the middle range leads to more effective, efficient solutions. So in collaborating with our clients, we encourage them to stay inside the meter when solving their business problems.

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