Momentum Podcast: 593

Crisis Mindset for Entrepreneurs

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

My wife, Cadey, and I have built businesses that have helped thousands of entrepreneurs navigate crisis situations. We helped thousands of entrepreneurs navigate a financial crisis that was brought on by the market, personal issues, and challenges in their business. There is a way to successfully navigate challenging times for entrepreneurs and the good news is that we can do it successfully every time. I’ve seen it, coached it, and implemented it myself in order to build successful businesses in the middle of challenging circumstances.

In this episode, I want to help you understand that in the middle of a crisis, there is more opportunity. Multi-billion-dollar companies will be launched in this crisis. Opportunities come when markets are unstable and there's only one way for us as entrepreneurs to take advantage of them. We must adopt the right mindset. It's not what comes naturally, but it's what will actually get you through this and help you make a massive contribution.

Resources Mentioned:

Full Audio Transcript

My wife, cadey and I, through the businesses we've owned have helped thousands of entrepreneurs navigate crisis. Navigate financial crisis that was brought on by a market, financial crisis that was brought on by personal issues that they had or issues that they had with their families, financial crisis that was brought on by challenges in their business.
There is a way to successfully navigate a crisis for entrepreneurs and we can do it every time. Now, here's what I want you to know. In the middle of crisis, when there is more opportunity, multi-billion dollar companies will be launched in this crisis. Opportunities come when markets are unstable and there's only one way for us as entrepreneurs to take advantage of them. We must adopt the right mindset. Let me share it with you. It's not what comes naturally. It's what will actually get you through this and help you make a massive contribution.

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.

There is a natural orientation in the middle of a crisis, and I don't just mean a financial crisis like we're in right now, but any emergency, any issue that there is. If there's an emergency that happens when you're out somewhere, what is the natural orientation people have? The orientation is to protect, to pull back, to hold back, to protect ourselves, to not get involved in a crisis. And so what happens when there's a international crisis like the one that's been thrust upon us right now? For a lot of people, the instinct is protect, hold back, contract, save what you have, don't lose anything more. And here's the challenge for entrepreneurs like you and I, that is the worst mindset we can adopt.

Let me tell you why. See, as entrepreneurs, we are constantly in a battle for our momentum. Businesses do not grow on their own. Anyone who's ever not paid attention for a business for a while has never come back and said, "Oh my goodness, it accidentally grew massive on its own." That is not a problem anybody's really dealt with. I'm sure anecdotally we could find a story of that happening. But it's an anecdote and it's near impossible to find. The fact is most businesses have to be coaxed to growing. We have to work at them. You have to work like crazy. Most entrepreneurs say starting a business and getting off the ground is the hardest thing that they've ever done. So businesses need a lot of energy. And the issue with a crisis is as entrepreneurs, if we orient ourselves towards protect, hold back, contract, make sure we keep what we have, we are in trouble. Because the natural orientation of a business is to contract. If you take your eye off of business, if you take your energy out of business, it will contract. If you start thinking contract, you will have contraction and constraint and you will lose business faster than you want to.

So here's the only mindset for an entrepreneur to adopt in the middle of a crisis. And this is it. You must think growth. You must think growth, expansion, do more, contribute more, make more happen. You must think that you're going to go out and make more happen in the world because when we are oriented towards growth, here's what happens to our minds as entrepreneurs. First, I'm convinced as entrepreneurs what we think about we manifest. If you are thinking about contraction and holding back and protecting, you will manifest contraction, holding back and protecting. But if you're thinking growth, here's what will happen. Regardless of what's going on in this market and in your business. If you're telling yourself I need to grow, I need to expand, I need to make a bigger impact, I need to make a bigger contribution. Your mind will be activated to look for opportunities. If you're saying, "I want to do more, I want to make more, I want to make more of an impact during this crisis," your mind will be programmed to find the opportunity, the go forward, what it is that you're going to be able to do. You will actually create more momentum and that is how you're thinking. And you have to commit to growth across the board.

Now, it might be hard in a crisis to think about this, but let's look at the three areas where you should be committing to growth. The first one is growth with yourself, personal growth. The second one is in your family and relationships and the third one is in your business. So first with yourself, this is a perfect opportunity for personal growth. If there's ever been a better opportunity for personal growth in the middle of a crisis, I haven't seen it. We're isolated. We have social distancing. This is a time to learn, to read, to expand your knowledge, to understand more, to improve the relationship that you have with yourself. To meditate, to get quiet, to get still, to offload the pressure and noise that you're feeling from this crisis. By committing to growth personally, by committing to becoming better throughout this crisis, you will come out ahead because we already know what's happening with the rest of the world.

When there's crisis, look at what's happening. I mean we've had to impose restrictions in bars because in the middle of a crisis, people are out partying and drinking til all hours of the night. That is not personal growth. In the middle of a crisis, people will hold back, they'll stay in, they won't communicate with people, they won't do anything. They won't even work on themselves. That is non-growth. Orient yourself towards growth. Convince yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are going to grow throughout this crisis. You are not going to let this gets you.

The second place that you should commit to growth is in your family with your relationships. We are spending a lot more time with our families now. You know, as an introverted entrepreneur who homeschools his two kids, I don't feel like our lives have changed that much. But our kids are going to be around more often. They don't have the same activities. They don't have the same distractions that they've had. So commit to growth with your family, with your relationships. I've been taking bike rides with my kids, spending time with my wife, talking to my family, talking to them and making sure that we're all processing what's going on here. If you commit to growth in the middle of a crisis, you will find ways to grow.

And now let's talk about your business. This is where it's most important and I've been there. I just want you to know I'm not just talking here. I've been there where there is massive crisis and incredible pressure and noise. I don't like to talk about it that often, but in the early 2000s when cadey and I met, we started some real estate businesses in south Florida. We had several. We had massive cashflow, well over six figures a month. We were multimillionaires working our way towards a very, very comfortable retirement in our thirties. We felt like we were halfway to retirement and we were going to retire a very lavish lifestyle. In 2007 this thing called the foreclosure crisis hit and we were completely wiped out. We were in ground zero in Florida. Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. We lost everything. It was devastating.

I remember the day that I heard the attorneys say, "This is going to be one of the most interesting bankruptcies we've ever processed." And then he went on to explain why our bankruptcy was going to be interesting. It was interesting because we hadn't missed payments. We came in before we were behind on anything. We came in because we knew our numbers and we understood what was going on. And when I heard him tell us we were going to be bankrupt, I remember just being devastated. My whole life I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur and here I was in an attorney's office, having him tell me without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to go out and publicly, legally in the most dramatic way possible, declare I was an absolute failure.

It was devastating. And I'd love to say that I snapped into a growth mindset right away, but I didn't. There was about a week where cadey and I went back to our house, we didn't really talk to each other. I think we were both processing, trying to understand this new reality that had hit us. We didn't really know what to do next. And then I talked to a friend of mine, Alan Waxman, and I remember what I said to him. I said, "You know Alan, cadey and I, we looked at our finances, we looked at everything we had to pay. We looked at how much debt we had. Then we looked at the fact that all of our income had stopped coming in and we realized we had no choices. So we're going bankrupt." And my friend Alan said, "Alex, you had plenty of choices. You could have run away. You could have ignored this. You could have run away to Mexico. You could have pretended like nothing was happening. You could have tried to liquidate stuff. You could run up your credit cards like a lot of other people have done. You've gone in. You've made a responsible decision. Now own it. You had choices. You made one. Now make it work and go forward."

And I remember in a split second thinking like, man, that was harsh. And then just as quickly thinking, that's exactly what I needed to hear. I needed someone to come and shake me and say, "You're going bankrupt. You need to go forward." And in that moment, I committed to growth in the middle of a crisis. And that moment I committed to growing out of bankruptcy and to making it past bankruptcy and to go in and make an impact in doing something. I didn't know what it was yet, but I knew I was going to do something. And that commitment to growth, that commitment to momentum, that commitment to moving forward, that commitment to not contracting, to not retracting, to not giving up, to not just owning the bankruptcy and having it become my identity is the commitment that moved me forward. It's the commitment that put me to where I am today. And by making that commitment, by cadey and I committing to growth, some pretty amazing things happened. We started a business and went from bankruptcy to becoming liquid millionaires within a 12 month period. So within the 12 months of our bankruptcy being discharged, we became liquid millionaires again. We had over 49,000 people in the real estate industry buy one of our products and join our movement. And in 2013 we were accredited by the US Treasury as having pulled the foreclosure crisis forward five to seven years.

How did we do all that? It was by committing to growth, even in the face of crisis. It was by committing to contribution and making an impact even when the rest of the world was going crazy. And so here's what I want you to know. For you in this market, for you right now, commit to growth. Now, mindset isn't free. And in a situation like this, it's going to be hard to keep a positive outlook all of the time and commit to growth all of the time unless you have structure, unless you have a process around you. You have to create your mindset, you have to orient yourself towards the future. So sit down and to ask yourself, what am I going to do to grow in this situation? What am I going to do to move forward in this situation? How will I continuously orient myself towards growth? Because even when things look hard, even when things look challenging, you can commit to growth and get there.

And here's what I want you to know about your business. It may look different. It may shift. It may completely change, but if you are committed to growth and if you're looking for the opportunity and your mindset is one of making an impact and making a difference, not contracting, retracting, partying, checking out, and just not paying attention, you will make a massive impact and help yourself through this crisis. Because when the markets are stable, there's opportunity, but when markets are going up or down, there's even more opportunity to make an impact and to make a difference because the entire world is panicking. And if you commit to growth, here's what I want you to know will happen energetically in a crisis. I know this because in the last crisis I was seen as the leader of realtors nationwide. In fact, I was on TV representing real estate agents far more often than any real estate agent was. I was seen as a leader of real estate agents and I'm not even a real estate agent. Why? Because I was the one person in the market committed to growth with an optimistic outlook, leading people forward and telling them this is where we need to go.

So if you commit to growth and you commit to optimism and making an impact, here's what will happen. You will activate your mind. Reticularly activate your mind so that you see growth and you see opportunity. If you commit to growth and impact, you will become naturally magnetic in a crisis. People want to be around people who are moving forward, who are in momentum energetically. If you're committed to growth, if it's real for you, the people around you will feel it and they will be magnetically attracted to you. And if you commit to growth in a crisis, you will grow through this. Not just survive it. You will make an impact through this, not just get through it. And you have an opportunity in the middle of a crisis to go out and change the world. And that's what every one of us was put on this planet to do.

So in a crisis, there's only one mindset for entrepreneurs to commit to, and that is growth. Growth in yourself, growth in your relationships and growth in your business. Don't for a second think about contraction. If you'd like some help in understanding how to align yourself with your relationships and your business, and understanding how to not just navigate this crisis but thrive and create massive opportunity, connect with us. Go to Answer a few questions from my team. Jump on a call with one of us and let us share with you the systems and tools we are sharing with entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses, make a massive impact and navigate this crisis successfully. We look forward to hearing from you.

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