The 3:00 AM Blues
The red numbers stare hauntingly in the dark. The numbers are irrelevant unless of course you are determining how little you have slept.
When the ‘I leave the office at work’ strategy breaks down and the nagging troublesome issues of business follow you home and steal your rest it is a (pun intended) wakeup call.
Something is dramatically wrong and is calling for your attention and resolution. The list of possible concerns could be very long indeed. Sales, cash or lack thereof, personnel, production, regulations or legal issues take their turn in the middle of the night at one time or another.
The complexity and thorniness keep the brain stirring. The more complex or difficult the less you get to sleep. A piece of advice . . . deal with it. The big issues never go away on their own. You need to put on your big boy pants and confront the issue(s) head on.
With more years in business under my belt than I like to admit I am still the one starring back at the clock at no o’clock in the night. However, I have greatly reduced those nights and gained the ability to sleep better. The first reason is very simple, I have surrounded myself with very good people who help carry the load. The second, and perhaps more important reason, is the advisory board of stakeholders and outside business owners and professionals that I have cultivated to guide the company and I in good times and bad. I give them the greatest of credit. More than once they have talked me off the ledge of a very tall building.
I have discovered that most of the 3:00 AM blues are prior to facing the executives or the advisory board with a serious issue that I have identified. It is in keeping it to myself initially that weighs heavily. Once I have aired the issue and gotten solid feedback that turns into a plan of action, the calm follows. Even if the issue still survives there is a plan to deal with it effectively.
We all face such challenges from time to time. It comes with the job. The goal is to have a process or mechanism that brings different eyes, ears and brains into the equation. Without being simplistic, no one person is an island – that goes for business as well. Trust that you have the help you need. Make sure you are clear in expressing the issue, and how much you are counting on them to come up with a plan that will resolve the issue.
If you can employ self-calming methods such as deep breathing or meditation please do so, they will help. Life is full of positives that counter the difficult issues we face every day. Focus on these, they are the balance you need while dealing with complex, anxiety producing issues.