If you own or run a small business long enough, you’ll experience some great joys. You’ll look back with amazement at how you were smart enough, dumb enough and sometimes lucky enough to experience the journey of owning or running a small business.

Along with those joys, you’ll also face challenges for which you weren’t prepared. Many times, these are things you never thought could happen, so you had no reason to prepare for them. We call those “the things you don’t know that you don’t know.”

In a recent essay on the website Zen Habits, Leo Babauta shared several recommendations for how anyone can make it through a challenging time. Here are some of Babauta’s recommendations, as well as suggestions from users of SmallBusiness.com about small business specific challenges.

Stay with the pain.

When bad things happen, there’s a temptation to do whatever you can to run from it. Don’t. Face it with courage. Face it with conviction and the knowledge that you can make it through the challenge.

Seek help.

One of the reasons SmallBusiness.com exists is to provide help to those who are facing something they’ve never faced before. This site and others can point to practical help and technical understanding, but seeking help in times of crisis or unforeseen challenge is when help needs to come from experts you know and trust personally. Even better, if those people are nearby and you can work with them face-to-face.

Break down the challenge into doses you can handle.

Traveling through an overwhelming, challenging experience is something impossible to do all at once. Break it down into pieces. Set priorities. Do what you can do now and stay committed to the obligations you have tomorrow.

Have patience.

Times of challenge are hard to face, but they can harden you in both good and bad ways. In negative ways, they can harden your soul if you let them. Or they can harden your resolve to overcome the challenge and build on it. But making it through such times can be on a time table you can’t always control.

This too shall pass.

One day, you will discover something empowering: You’ve made it through five minutes without thinking about the challenge. And then, it will be a ten-minute span. While it may always be a part of you, you will discover it has found a way to be inspiring or educational or even provide you the power to face greater challenges you encounter.


(via: ZenHabits)