Your Disaster Report

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An effective method of preparing for future problems and alleviating your own stress is to prepare your own business disaster report.

On a new document, answer this question:

What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if we do this?

Think about it and write down a real answer. Make sure the answer is the worst thing that could happen, but keep it within the bounds of normal life. Let’s say you wanted to start your own business. If you write down something like you might lose your home, car, clothes, food, and end up on starving on the street and dying, then I think you’re overdoing it. That’s not going to happen. But if you write down that you’ll fail, lose all your savings, destroy your credit, and have a really rough year or three, then it might be accurate.

Then, ask the second question:

Could I handle that?

Again, be honest about your answer. Will the world come to an end? Will it completely destroy your life forever? Will you die?

You’ll find that the vast majority of the time, the answer to these questions is no. It will be bad, but you’ll be able to handle it, recover, and move on.

There are indeed rare times where the answer to some of those questions is yes. Perhaps it really will destroy you or someone else. Again, this is rare, but sometimes it’s the case. If it really is possible, and has more than a 2% chance of happening, then you should probably re-evaluate what you’re planning and attempt something different.

If you can indeed handle it, then ask a third question:

What are the specific things we can do that will minimize the odds of this ever occurring?

Make a list of everything you can think of. The more items on this list, the better. Write them down even if they don’t make complete sense, or even if you don’t know at the moment exactly how you’ll do it. Just get it down.

When the list is complete, go back and flesh out each item. Turn each into a mini project plan, complete with its own to-do items. Then get to work and do it.

Once you’re done, you can even go back to a new document and ask a fourth question:

What is the second worst thing that could happen if we do this?

…and repeat all the above steps with that item.

By creating this disaster report, you have accomplished two things:

1. Minimized the odds of any major problem arising down the road.

2. Reduced your stress and boosted your motivation by showing you that you really can handle even the worst possible problems. One of the key success factors in life is the ability to tolerate risk. Your disaster report will help this immensely.

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