Momentum Podcast: 657

Crisis Survival Plan

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

It's inevitable, as an entrepreneur you are going to experience a crisis. It's part of the game that we have decided to play. I often tell my members, crisis is normal, crisis is part of the human condition, the world is always in crisis.

Even though crisis is inevitable, how it affects you is not. Throughout my career, there has been a consistent difference between the entrepreneurs who do well, make a massive impact, and achieve their goals and those who don't.

The first group consistently turns any crisis into an opportunity. The second group sees crisis as an obstacle and that will stop all of us.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum Podcast.

As an entrepreneur, you are going to experience crisis. It's part of running a business, growing a team and the reality is, the world is always in crisis it's part of the human condition. Even though crisis is inevitable, how it affects you is not.

In this episode of the Momentum Podcast. Alex is going to talk about the consistent difference between entrepreneurs who do well and make a massive impact and those who don't. I hope you enjoy.

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. 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.

I hope you're having an amazing day. I wanted to jump in here and share a little bit about crisis. In the past few weeks, I think I've been on about 30 podcasts and recording with people who have shows of their own. One of the questions that's come up over and over again yesterday, I was talking to Peter King and he asked it, how should entrepreneurs react in a crisis? As entrepreneurs do we take crisis or the issues that are coming at us and turn them into an opportunity or turn them into a benefit. In fact, here's what I shared with Peter and here's what I'll share with you.

Throughout my career, I've been coaching entrepreneurs for most of my career, and early on I didn't see this, there's certain things that you recognize only through experience. There's certain things you recognize only through repetition, through seeing the same type of situation over and over again. Well, early in my career, here's one of the first things I recognized is that being an entrepreneur is a commitment to a life of crisis. It's a life of ambiguity. It's a life of crisis. It's a life of challenges. It's a life of consistently taking obstacles and moving them out of your way or taking obstacles and turning them into an opportunity. That is what being an entrepreneur is all about.

In the early days of running businesses, I actually looked at it the opposite. I remember I used to have this thought process, like I wonder when I'm going to be able to run a business well enough that it stops feeling like there's a constant crisis. Or I wonder when I'm going to be able to do things well enough that I no longer feel these challenges. Well, here's what I've realized over time is that if you are running a business, well, then you are always going to have challenges. In fact, growth creates complexity and as you grow your business, it's going to get more and more complicated and growth and moving in the right direction and doing more and putting more out there actually creates a condition where we are almost always reacting to something.

So I wanted to jump on today and share, the coaching that I give my members when they're in a crisis. I'm not just talking about the current crisis that we have in the world today. I'm not just talking about the issues that we're dealing with right now. In fact, when I look at being an entrepreneur, I feel like one of the things that we have to do, one of the disciplines, one of the abilities, one of the skillsets that makes us increasingly successful as entrepreneurs is being able to take any challenge in our way and turn it into an opportunity. Anytime that something's slowing us down, how does that become an opportunity? So this is some of the stuff that I've been sharing on the podcast that I've been on and I want to share three things, three different areas of how to move a crisis into opportunity. First mindset. Second, where your focus should be. Then third, a reminder of who we are as entrepreneurs.

So first here's the mindset for crisis, for entrepreneurs. Here's the mindset for growth during a crisis. By the way, let me just give you an idea of some of the stuff that I've dealt with, with my members or with clients in the past. I went through the .com crisis. I went through 9/11. I went through the Argentine economic crisis. I've lived through a lot of these challenges and I've had clients throughout my career who've had incredible crisis, health crisis, who have had issues in their business, who've had challenges that they have to face across the board. Regardless of what kind of issue is facing you, you have to commit to growth in a crisis. When I talk about mindset in a crisis, step number one is, as an entrepreneur, you must commit to growth in a crisis.

Let me share with you the story of one of the most intense entrepreneurs I've ever worked with, or just a story about her, her name's Lori Noga and Lori runs three dental practices, it's a multi-million dollar business, she has a team of about 30 something people. At the beginning of this crisis, her entire business was shut down overnight. Can't do business, can't have patients come in, can't do anything right now, you have a dental practice that you can't do anything with. In a lot of cases, practitioners who went through that folded. Practitioners who went through that threw their hands up, in fact, a lot of them got upset and went online and started getting angry with politicians and arguing politically and looking at conspiracy theories and all kinds of other stuff.

In fact, it's interesting, I have almost a direct comparison to Lori and then another person I know who I'm not going to name who he is, but he also owns three medical practices, not dental practices. But here's what I saw the difference between Lori and this other person. So at the beginning of this crisis, this other person I saw on Facebook, he started going to some protests, protesting wearing of masks, protesting loss of rights. I saw him getting into political arguments and getting really angry about what was going on. I saw him putting a lot of attention, a lot of energy into the subject matter of the crisis.

Here's the issue, if you start putting energy and intention into the subject matter of the crisis, what happens is you stop committing to growth. The difference, the contrast here is that Lori who has three dental practices, throughout the entire time, she was shut down she's thinking, what's next? How can I grow? How can I make an impact? This crisis has to create opportunity. By the way, the greater the crisis, the greater the opportunity. I didn't make that up. It's just a fact. So Lori's focus was 100% on how do I grow? How do I make things better? I mean, at one point I remember connecting with Lori and she actually said to me, Alex, if it all shuts down, if I have to give it all up, if I have to start over, I think I have a plan. That is a growth mindset.

The growth mindset, when you commit to growth, when you say I'm going to make it through this, I'm going to grow. Your mind starts actually finding all of the opportunities around you. If you tell your mind, there are no opportunities, this is a conspiracy theory, this is a political issue, we need to go to protest, we need to go to argue about masks. You know what happens? That is your focus and you will no longer see the opportunities around you.

It's interesting, a few weeks ago, I actually reached out to this person who was at the protest and with the masks and getting angry and focusing on the subject matter of the crisis and getting distracted and not committed to growth. I asked him, hey, how are your practices doing? And I got the response that I actually expected. He said, we're having a really hard time. People aren't coming back. They shut us down. They made it so hard. People are out of routine, they're out of habit, they're not coming in anymore. We're at about 40% of where we were pre-crisis. It's interesting. Within a few days I asked Lori Noga the same thing, and Lori's like, Alex, we started communicating with our patients before we were even opened up, we've kept communication open, we let them know what was going on, we knew that the restrictions were going to lift. We wanted to get as much pent up demand as we could, especially in dental where people need help. They might have some issues that they need help with. I asked her how her business was doing. She said over 130% of pre-crisis numbers still today.

So the difference in mindset of I'm going to go fight with this crisis that I'm in, or I'm going to figure out where the growth opportunity is, you can see the difference. This person at a fraction of where their business was before, Lori is at 130% of where her business was before. That is the difference between committing to growth in a crisis. So first things first we have to commit, we have to change our mindset. Our mindset has to be around growth. Now, the second thing to move forward in a crisis. And this is big, I kind of mentioned it earlier, you have to orient towards the future. When there is a crisis going on, it's distracting, especially one like this one. I mean, this has been incredibly distracting, even for me. When there's a big issue in the world, a big challenge out there, you start hearing about it from everybody, you see discussions everywhere. It's hard not to get involved. It's hard not to focus on the present, but the challenge is, if we stay in the present as entrepreneurs, we stopped doing what we were made to do. We stopped actually fulfilling our destiny, which is we get up every morning, travel into the future, create a new reality, come back to the present and demand it becomes reals, that is who we are.

When we don't do that, that's where we lose our orientation. That's where we lose our motivation. That's why we started having some really bad personal habits. That's when we might actually pick up bad habits, because we're out of momentum, we're not focusing on the future, we're not focusing on our outcome. So many people in the middle of a crisis want to stay in the crisis in the middle of it. Here's how we show our members to overcome this, this is exactly how Lori Noga over came it. She said, where do I want to be and how do I make that a reality, regardless of what the situation is? That's why her business is 130% of where it was before, after being completely shutdown in the middle of the largest crisis that a lot of people say that we've had since 1918 or in the history of the United States, if you want to put that there. That's the difference between orienting towards the future and being stuck in the crisis, in the present.

Now here's the third thing and this is probably the most important. If you're an entrepreneur, I want you to remember who you are in a crisis. When you look at anyone you remember, anyone who matters to be remembered, who was it for you? Throughout history who are the entrepreneurs names that stand out for you? For me, it's people like Socrates and Plato and Pythagoras and Einstein and Tubman and incredible human beings, Helen Keller, people who came before me, who didn't have what they needed, who faced massive crisis and were able to overcome it and go on to change the world. When you look at Helen Keller, she was born at a time and in a way with conditions, I'm not saying this in a way to invoke fear or frustration, but back then children who were born like her were often thrown in a Lake in a burlap sack, it hurts my chest to say that. Helen Keller, without being able to see, or hear, or speak, went on to change the world for people with different abilities.

So when I say, first commit to growth then orient towards the future then remember who you are. Here's what I mean, entrepreneurs are the most consistent source of positive human evolution and we always will be. We are those people who get up every day and challenge the status quo, make this world a better place and you know, you're one of us. Here's what I want you to remember about being an entrepreneurial personality type like you like me, is that regardless of what issue or challenge, or disease, or frustration, or disability, or anything that you're facing, one of us has come here before faced those issues, overcome them and gone on to change the world and you can too.

So, regardless how big the issue you are facing is remember who you are, commit to growth, orient towards the future and understand that we were put on this planet not to survive times like this and I know I put that in the title, Crisis Survival Plan, because I think people will click on it but the reality is this isn't a survival plan. Crisis is the greatest opportunity we have as entrepreneurs. When the rest of the world is in pain, when the rest of the world needs help, when the rest of the world is frustrated and anxious entrepreneurs are those who rise above the noise, grab onto an opportunity, get it into momentum and take the rest of the world with us. That is who we are, and that is what we need to do.

I would love to help you do this. October 6th, 7th, and 8th I have a really incredible opportunity. If you've never spent time with me live, if you've never been in one of my classes, here is your chance, absolutely with no charge. We are hosting an event called Momentum Masterclass on October 6th, 7th, and 8th and here's what I'm going to be doing. I'm going to be recording content for our platform live. This is going to be content that's normally behind the paywall, but if you're there while I'm recording it live, you can watch all of it and I will answer all your questions. So October 6th, 7th and 8th, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, go block them on your calendar, from 10 to noon and two to four each day central time, I'm going to be recording live and I would love to have you there.

So go to, sign up for the event. My team will send you some emails reminding you, and let's change things on October 6th, 7th and 8th. I'm going to share some of our most foundational momentum creating content that we have and I can't wait to share it with you. I look forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

Thank You For Listening!

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With gratitude,


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