When I was a kid, we were told that if we went into the bathroom, turned the lights off and chanted “Bloody Mary” 13 times, we would summon the evil mirror witch who would scratch our eyes out. Wonderful childhood.
Of course, I never mustered up the courage to actually do it (nor did my friends) because it was feared and believed to be true, despite the overwhelming lack of evidence that it was. There was a time in our history when people actually believed there were witches with the power to bring evil upon others, so much so that hundreds of innocent people were hanged or burned alive, causing entire villages to turn against one another, people to huddle in fear in their homes at night and men to go on hunts for those who might even consider practicing witchcraft, which, at the time, was a capital offense.
Of course, history is full of such fears that never manifested or were of little to no consequence. So it is with most PERSONAL fears we have. It is said that a true warrior dies only one death while the coward dies a thousand deaths in their own mind from their own fears of what could happen. Such fears, like Bloody Mary, control and contain us every bit as much as REAL danger, holding us back from action.
The other day I heard about a new variant of Covid that apparently is “stealth” and doesn’t show up on tests. Hmmmm. Your symptoms are suspiciously like Covid despite testing negative – must be that NEW stealth variant. We are also now running through the Greek alphabet AND using a string of numbers and decimals to describe Covid, given the vast number of variants emerging by the day, with one supposedly understood while 5 more pop up. That’s the problem with pushing the “fear” button too much. At some point, it wears off, as with hysterical and wildly inaccurate weather reports.
Then there are things that people actually SHOULD fear and SHOULD have protections for but don’t. Ransomware is one that all of you are familiar with. People smugly insist it can’t happen to them, won’t happen to them and will be of little to no consequence if it does. We’ll see.
The other day I discovered a client had had a major hit to his business, losing his best client that represents over 38% of his income to a merger and two other key clients for reasons unknown to me, and was forced to lay off over half his staff or face personal bankruptcy. He came to me looking for advice on what to do – which I gave, only to be told he wasn’t going to be able to get started on the plan we agreed to until two weeks from now because of a vacation he had planned(!). No fear where there should be fear. ZERO anxiety over the situation. Got cancer? Yeah…let’s wait until after Christmas when I have more time to deal with it. Such a nonchalant response is SO foreign to me.
Sales tanking with nothing to replace that income? Laying off staff? That is a scary situation – a REAL THREAT – he should have been VERY afraid of and taken swift action on. Cancel the trip and lock yourself in the office until the ship it righted. Him? The house is on fire, but I’m gonna make myself a cup of coffee, take a break and flip through this magazine for a minute before I call 911 and grab a hose.
As I said in my opening keynote at Boot Camp, there are a LOT of MSPs out there hanging on by a thread, but they think it’s a rope. Out-of-control inflation, the labor shortage, supply chain issues, an inevitable recession and the emergence of Super MSPs are all things that actually should concern you. Worse, if you carry a lot of debt, do not have a year’s income saved, lack sufficient retained earnings in the business to survive the loss of one to three key clients, no productive marketing systems in place, inadequate recurring revenue, you should be afraid and take action to resolve those issues. NOT to the point of paralyzing fear, but sufficient to not shrug it off and go on vacation. A hungry bear wanders into your camp and your plan is to ignore it? Worse yet, feed it? You WILL become bear hamburger.