Watch out for the survival trap

by | Mar 27, 2020 | Entrepreneurship, Planning, Strategy | 0 comments


Have you ever cornered a dog who senses you’re about to take it to the vet?

As you close the gap, that little ball of fur will get more and more agitated, bolting this way and that to try to find a way out.

Any way out will do, even if it means bowling over that bowl of pasta you were silly enough to leave on a nearby coffee table.

The only goal is OUT.

We humans would like to think we’re so much smarter and more collected, but we do the exact same thing. When we feel cornered, stuck, or out of control, we get increasingly likely to bolt in any crazy direction we think might get us OUT.

Don’t believe me? Turn on the news to watch the great toilet paper panic of 2020 play out in real time.

Our survival doesn’t depend on toilet paper…but you wouldn’t know that by watching us.

Faced with scarcity, and uncertainty, and real suffering, we’re trying to feel prepared.

When I hear the term “Survival Trap,” that’s the image that pops into my head. Rows of empty grocery store shelves, picked clean as we all scramble for a sense of control – even when it’s not particularly helpful.

As entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to use the same tactic in our businesses.

When we find ourselves stuck – not enough revenue coming in, or things not working out with a team member, or circumstances out of our control upending things – our temptation is to move in ANY direction that will get us out of that particular situation.

We might take on a project with a client who’s not a good long-term fit.

Or shy away from building the team again.

Or try to over-control everything.

Even though many of us have a clear vision of where we want to go with our businesses, when we’re in “survival trap mode,” we can lose sight of that and go in any direction that’s away from the tough spot…even when it gets us no closer to our vision or even takes us farther away.

That’s why I became a certified Fix This Next Advisor. The Fix This Next Assessment exists to help entrepreneurs press pause on the Survival Trap and identify the one core need that, if addressed, will help them move forward quickly and in the RIGHT direction.