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Posted: 2005-12-13 / Author: Kerri Salls

Survival Without Computers

I was slowed down when my computer crashed and I had no data, no address book and not even my passwords to get back online. I didn't think I was doing anything remarkable by bouncing back to productivity even with this handicap for a week. But from the feedback I've had from more than a few people, it seems paralysis would have been the acceptable common option.

Yes, I got slowed down, but nothing critical was lost and no appointments missed. Why? Internal reserves, resources and drive. How do you survive in business today without your computer (or maybe it's when your cell phone drops in the lake or your Ipod gets lost)?

There were three parts to my personal survival. They are:

A. Resourcefulness -- When things don't go your way, you can have a pity party and choose to be paralyzed. Or you can decide to dig in to your reserves and available resources to propel you forward in spite of obstacles. I start with a simple question: What's the most important thing that needs to be done now and how do I do it (options)?

It's a matter of choosing to get the work done and keeping your priorities in order, or using this problem (any problem) as an excuse to procrastinate, or wallow in self-pity, or give up.

B. Intestinal Fortitude -- This was my father's term for the drive, determination, guts, stamina and the like to find a way or make a way when you hit a roadblock. Intestinal fortitude keeps you going because the vision is clear, your passion is unquenchable and you are a winner - and winners never quit.

Of course when a glitch happens, what matters is how you handle it, not deny it. Handling a problem head on, gives you an action plan. Action puts you in control. When you are in control, the fear and panic can't control you.

If a glitch with your computer is enough to put your whole business at risk, maybe you need a dose of intestinal fortitude to make some hard decisions to reduce that risk in the future, e.g. strategic investments in your infrastructure, etc. Look at the cost of the investment compared to the direct cost or opportunity costs of a week offline (think salaries, sales, customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, product delays, and shipping delays).

C. Planning -- In this case, I was indeed lucky. The three days after the disk crash had already been blocked out to work on my three-year vision and budget to get there and the detailed plans for 2006. My schedule was already cleared of appointments, deadlines or correspondence.

As business owners, we all need some reflection time to lift our sights and take a longer view of where we are going, otherwise, it's possible to short-change yourself and the business.

The silver lining of my system crash was that without my own computer, I couldn't be tempted to procrastinate or avoid the soul-searching and reflection this process requires. I was able to really concentrate on what I want to do professionally and personally for the next 12-36 months.

Putting a timeline to the vision and goals accelerates the business momentum and recharges my batteries for the next 90 days to set it all in motion. Try it.

About The Author: Kerri Salls, MBA runs a virtual business school to train, consult and coach small business CEO's and entrepreneurs in 10 key strategies to make more profit in less time. Learn more at

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