Momentum Podcast: 382

Business Trauma Is Real

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

When someone says “business isn't personal”, I wonder what planet they came from. Business is personal. Business is who we are. When things are spiraling out of control within your business and you feel frustrated and anxious, it is every bit as traumatic as anything else that can happen in your life. When you acknowledge how you're feeling that's when you can start to move forward. I highly recommend EMDR therapy to my clients, it's the CEO's secret weapon. You have to learn how to offload where you're uncomfortable and reduce trauma if you want to achieve long-term success. I want to see you get to six figures and beyond.

Full Audio Transcript

Speaker 1: As an entrepreneurial personality type, as an evolutionary hunter, you have sensitivities that are higher than the rest of the world. And those sensitivities give you the ability to see the unique connections, to understand the future, to drive forward, even when everyone else doesn't see what you are seeing. However, those sensitivities also expose us to trauma, and whether we like it or not, business trauma is trauma, and we have to deal with it.

This week I had a discussion with one of my clients and on a group coaching call. And here's what she shared. She shared that she's really frustrated that she was having a really hard time, having trouble creating momentum, felt like she was just kind of stuck, just frustrated, upset, and didn't really know what to do next. And so I started asking her some questions, and here's what I discovered.

She said, for the last six months, she had had a very large client that was very important to her firm. She has a sub-million-dollar company, but multiple hundreds of thousands, and one of her most important clients for the last six months has just been incredibly difficult for her and her team. Yelling at her team, yelling at her, making them feel really uncomfortable, making massive demands because that person knew how important they were to the company, and really just causing chaos in her organization.

So, I started asking some questions. I said, "In the past six months have you gotten to the point where when you get an email, or when you see that person's name, do you get a body reaction?" And she said, "Oh, yeah, I get so flustered and I get like, heart palpitations. I start, I feel my heart start racing. Sometimes I feel my face get hot." I said, "Okay, so when you actually see a message coming in through vox or a text message from that person, how does it feel?" And she described more of that, like heart palpitations. Feeling frustrated, feeling anxious. Feeling really reactive.

I said, "So, has it gotten to the point where when your phone rings or you see a notification, even when it's not them, you already are having a reaction?" And she said, "Absolutely, yes." And I said, "In the last six months, have you felt yourself be more reactive with the people around you? Have you acted in ways that afterwards you thought, why did I behave like that? And have you felt that reactivity bleed into anywhere else in your life?"

And she said, "Yes." And I said, "I want you to understand something. You have gone through trauma. What we just went through, and what you just described, were the symptoms of what some would call PTSD. That reactivity, that heart palpitation feeling, rushing of the heart beat, feeling the heat on your face. That sensitivity to what you've been through is what a lot of psychologists, like you look up the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, and you will see those symptoms. Reactivity, and body reactions, and inability to control your emotions, and feeling scared or frustrated, or anxiety over things that you shouldn't.

And what we forget as entrepreneurs is that when we are operating in our business, we are operating in our life. And whenever somebody says business is impersonal, I wonder what planet they came from, because everything in business is personal. This is who we are. And when we have a client that makes things difficult for us, that makes us feel frustrated and anxious and traumatized, like what I'm talking about, it is every bit as traumatic as anything else that could happen to us in our lives.

And when we finally admit that that is the effect that these things have on us, then we can actually take action and start moving forward. We can admit that there's an issue. We can go, and I was talking to my client, and I said, "You know, I would really highly recommend that you go get some EMDR therapy." And I talk about this all the time.

It's like the CEO's secret weapon. In fact, if you want to know more about EMDR, go back to my podcast called, "The CEO's Secret Weapon". And the reason I call it that is because I have recommended EMDR to hundreds of CEOs, and almost one hundred percent of them have come back to me and said that the recommendation to EMDR has completely changed their life. Because they now have a way to offload when they're uncomfortable. They have a way to bring down the sensitivities that they're feeling.

And EMDR, if you're not familiar with it, is a specialized kind of therapy where you don't have to do talk therapy. You don't have to go regurgitate everything that's ever happened to you. And it's much more active than normal therapy. And the therapist uses one of several modalities. Either they're hand or a light bar, or audio cues to create bilateral stimulation, so either with your eye movement, or by holding on to vibrating paddles, or by watching a bar where a light goes backwards and forwards, kind of like, I'm dating myself here, but those of us who are old enough to remember "Knight Rider", remember on the front of that black car? Man, I'm really dating myself.

Anyway, what happens is, you either move your eyes back and forth, or you feel vibrating paddles in your left and right hands alternatingly, and that alternating bilateral stimulation of the body releases trauma, and when you're with a therapist, you can talk through what's going on, and talk through that release. And so, I suggested to my client, she goes and sees an EMDR therapy, and she's been around me for a while. She actually answered, "I had an appointment, and an intake this morning."

Which I was thrilled with. Because here's what far too many CEOs do. We experience trauma in our businesses. We experience let down and frustration and anxiety, and we feel attacked, and we feel reactive, and that reactivity can bleed over into other parts of our lives. I was just on the phone with somebody today, who, he said, "You know, I've been growing my business like crazy." He's grown his business to over three million, and he said, "But I don't like who I am at home right now. I don't like how I'm reacting to my wife, I don't like how I'm reacting to my kids. I don't want to have that level of reactivity with my family." And he knew, he could tell that there was a correlation between the business and how he was acting, but the problem is, far too many entrepreneurs deny that this is even going on.

And so we don't talk about the trauma we experience in business. Right? Aren't we always supposed to be having a great time? I mean, you look at Facebook, and everybody else with a business is just crushing it. And so, we don't admit that there's issues in how we're feeling in our company, and how we're feeling with our clients. We don't admit that we're having reactivity feelings, and body pressure. And sped up heart rates, or heart palpitations, or eye twitches, or any of those things.

And when we deny all of these things, we are denying the trauma we are feeling, so we can't even address and fix it. And that's why I talk about this, where I think most business coaches shy away from topics like this, because, let's be honest. Nobody wants to sell, "Hey, I help you with business trauma."

But here's the reality. If you want to grow a massive organization, and you want to be able to fulfill the equation of a successful CEO, where you can continue to make increasingly difficult decisions on a daily basis with less and less information, then you have to learn how to offload where you're uncomfortable, reduce the symptoms of trauma, stop reactivity, and stay in your body and be present and aware in every interaction with your team, and with the interactions of the people around you.

And as your business grows, your ability to be present, your ability to be aware, your ability to stay in your body and stay in the moment, and be present, is going to be one of the single most important factors in your long term success. Because if we look at the other side of that coin, as your business grows, if you become less present, and less aware, and you're less able to stay in the moment, you will not be able to fulfill the equation of making increasingly difficult decisions on a daily basis with less and less information.

In fact, you'll become reactive. You'll make decisions based on instinct. You'll frustrate yourself with the outcomes you create in your business, and you will not scale your company as much as you can. So one of the fastest ways to bring yourself back down to earth, stop the reactivity, stop the heart palpitations, get your eyes to stop twitching or whatever it is for you, is to admit that the pressure and noise in your business causes pressure and noise everywhere. And business trauma is like any other trauma we experience as human beings.

And one of the things that entrepreneurs do all the time is say, "Oh, I've got it. It's no big deal. It wasn't that bad. Other people have it worse than I do." Every one of those sentiments, if you are experiencing the physiological symptoms that I've talked about, every one of those symptoms, "I've got it, it's no big deal, other people have it worse than I do," is holding you back.

It actually is holding you in place, or it's actually pulling you backwards. Because when you're willing to admit that this is what's really going on, and address what's really going on, and maybe go see somebody, like an EMDR therapist, you will start addressing the issues that are stopping you from being as present as you can be, and from going all in on your business.

Business trauma is real life trauma. Treat it that way, and you will see everything in your business get easier. Don't treat it that way, and you will have the equation of increasing reactivity, increasing frustration, higher levels of anxiety, and you will join the mass of entrepreneurs out there, in the United States there's twenty-nine million businesses, twenty-two million of them are under a hundred thousand dollars, and I believe a large part of it is that entrepreneurs experiences so much trauma on the way to six figures, they never make it there.

I want to see you get to six figures and beyond. I want to see you crush seven, jump through eight, and go to nine. And who knows? Even further than that. If you're ready to start building a business around who you know you are meant to be, and create the impact and the legacy you've always known you should have, go to Let us show you how to put the right people, process, and projects in place so you can grow consistently, be confident in your team, and be excited about what you're doing every day.

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