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Facing Denial to Reduce Stress

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I admit it. I’ve made some mistakes. Oh, sure, I talk about all of the things that went right and that I did pretty well with my home-based business, and that’s true. But I would be doing both of us a disservice if I were to leave you with the impression that all is well in “Home-based Business Land”, that I live in a carefree fairytale world of wealth and consumption, and that my bills are all paid and will continue to be.

No, it’s not like that at all. And it’s only just recently that I identified the problem. It can be summed-up in a single word: denial.

My business was centered around software that was dependent on a technology that was slowly going away. I had a nice income stream (customers pay an annual fee), but as my customers drifted to those new technologies my base of income eroded. I could see it happening. For years I said “This gravy train isn’t going to last forever!” I chose to ignore it.

Why? Denial. Although I wasn’t consciously aware of it, I took the attitude, “I’ll worry about it when it happens.” Suddenly the revenue was alarmingly low, and I had to deal with it. Had I dealt with it sooner, it would have been much easier to fix.

A friend of mine recently went to New Zealand on a speaking tour. She agreed to pay her own airfare and the organizer (‘Peter’) would pay for hotels and for her speaking appearances, plus she would be able to sell her books and tapes at the seminars. It was not until after she arrived that Peter informed her that most of the seminars had been cancelled. After she arrived! He knew that participation was going to be low. He knew that they might have to cancel. He didn’t tell her, though, because he was in complete denial.

Denial is what we do when we just can’t face the truth, or maybe I should say what we think is the truth. It is very real, but it does nothing to fix the problem. Did Peter’s denial of the failure of his seminars change anything? Did my denial of eroding revenue change anything? YES! In both cases it made a bad situation worse.

Two things happen when you are in denial.

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