At one point or another in our personal lives and our careers we get into a desperate mindset or a desperate mode of operation. I found this to be incredibly destructive, and actually counter productive.

As we slip into this mode you can typically tell because the volume and intensity with how we approach our customers, our clients, our employees, and everyone else is just notched a little bit too loud. At what point you want something so badly that you can’t do without, you know you are doing desperation.

My wife tells the story of driving through our little town and seeing a big poster on one of the little mom and pop clothing stores. The sign said, “Please shop here. I need to feed my children!”

That’s doing desperation. A person’s first thought is, “Oh, I’ll help out that shop owner.” But then that thought is quickly followed by another, “Oh, I don’t want to fall into that trap.”

Here are three things that I’ve found will help you avoid desperation not only in your business life, but also in your personal life.

Number one, put a buffer in place. Inevitably you’ll hit bumps in your personal life and in your business life. I put a three-month minimum savings buffer in the business. And I maintain more than that in my personal life.

Next, don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose. If you’re not in the position to risk at the level that you’re risking, that causes an extreme amount of desperation. So don’t risk what you can’t afford to lose. Before hand make a conscious decision and determine your level of risk.

Finally, if you do get into the desperate mode of operation…back off. Take three deep breathes. Consult those around you. Take a backdoor approach to it. If it is just simply beyond recovery—punctuate it. Don’t go deeper down the rat hole.

I frequently talk about my philosophy of failing efficiently. If you’re going to have a failure and you’re chasing it down the rat hole. Don’t keep following after it, to an even worse death. End it. Put that one to bed. Move onto the next thing.

I know this is an easy topic to discuss intellectually. But emotionally it’s a very difficult topic. I still find myself in modes where I’m doing desperation. I experience this particularly when it’s beyond my realm of control. When I put everything out there and it’s out of my hands, I often struggle with desperation.

I do strongly suggest that we stay in a positive non-desperate, non-threatening mode. Things just go much better in that mode. The putts fall better. The business comes together. Everything flows better and it is much simpler when you’re not in desperation mode.

Go forward, zig zag to success, and have a wonderful week.