However, being frozen with fear when a business is in difficulties is really not an option if its owners want the business to survive.
According to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon: “Stress comes from not taking action over something that you can have some control over.”
But often in a particularly fraught situation, when it feels like there is no time to think, it is difficult to recognise the signs of stress so the first step is to recognise the symptoms. The physical symptoms may be a stiffening of the neck, sweaty palms, lethargy, displacement behaviour or the stomach clenching. The other symptoms include inertia, fear, anxiety, worry, feeling out of control, avoidance, inability to make decisions, catastrophising to see the worst possible outcome, or simply doing trivial things to take the mind off the problem.
Once you have recognised the signs you can start to address the causes. Part of this is to analyse the situation and to break it down into manageable chunks. The other part is to research the causes and get help.
It may help to rethink your attitude to the situation so that you see it as one where there is an opportunity to move forward.
That will lead to breaking down possible actions into small steps, such as making that phone call to HMRC, if the business is having problems paying bills on time, or sending an email or calling a late-paying customer.
It also means identifying those things in the situation that you cannot deal with alone and accepting that there is a need for expert help, or even just talking to someone trustworthy who can provide a different perspective.
Breaking a difficult situation into manageable tasks is a great stress reliever.
Doing nothing is not an option.