It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or who’s read more than a couple of posts here — I’m a big fan of being strategic. I believe that if you focus on making the core directional choices that will best move you toward your hoped-for future, you’re most likely to create the business, the career, or the life you want.
Over the years, I’ve seen that people who approach their lives in this way are happier, more resilient, and more motivated than the average joe. In fact, most of the truly successful people I know – successful in the sense of having achieved what’s most important to them – are consistently strategic.
People have been asking me lately if I think that’s still true, now that we’re in the middle of these strange times when it seems as though all bets are off and the rules are changing faster than we can write them down. It may seem strange, but I’ve become convinced that in times like this, it’s even more important to approach business and life with a strategic mindset.
Here’s why: difficult situations make us afraid. When we’re afraid, we tend to narrow our focus. We hunker down, mentally and emotionally, and attend to protecting ourselves; we simply try to get through the day. And, so in the eerily applicable words of FDR, it seems to me that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
The alternative? Stay strategic; put aside fear. Take a deep breath and a giant step back; expand your view as opposed to contracting it. Once you do that, it’s much more likely that you’ll be able to see your current reality in a clear and balanced way, rather than through the distorting prism of fear. It’s also more likely that you’ll then have the mental bandwidth to think clearly about the future, and to envision the business or career you want to create, on the other side of this difficult passage.
When you’re seeing both the present and the possible future more clearly, you can make the right choices – those core directional choices that are most likely to start you moving and keep you moving toward the future you envision…to get you over, around, or through the difficulties that surround you.
And once you’ve made those core directional choices, I’ve found, they provide a very grounding and comforting map; the anxiety recedes even further, and you can begin to see and to take the specific steps that will to move you in the direction you want to go.
In other words, my point of view is this: true strategy is the antidote to fear.