Business Advice

Business challenges got you in a funk? Embrace the NEAT mindset

- July 29, 2022 3 MIN READ
Man with arms raised in victory on hill overlooking city

Challenges, hurdles, ups and downs – it’s all part and parcel of life as a business owner. But don’t spend your life worried about the next problem that may pop up, writes former Flying Solo editor, Kelly Exeter. Instead, embrace the NEAT mindset.

If you’ve run a business for any amount of time, you know the challenges never stop.

Too much work, not enough work, clients that don’t get back to you, clients that don’t pay, once lucrative products or services that are no longer so, staff members moving on, cash flow issues, crappy landlords, once-in-a-lifetime disasters … the list is long. And as fast as something gets knocked off, two things seem to jump on the end.

I remember finding myself in a bit of a funk about all this at one stage. I got to thinking I must be doing this business stuff wrong. Surely, after all the time I’d spent running businesses (which at that point was over ten years), I’d paid my dues and was owed a bit of smooth sailing.

And then I heard performance coach Nam Baldwin speak on a podcast.

The NEAT way to deal with challenges

Business meeting with woman and man looking stressed

Nam shared that the nature of life (whether personal, business or sport) is that we can’t escape challenges – they will always be there. So you can drive yourself crazy feeling angry and resentful about the challenges, or you can make peace with them.


He offered up the acronym NEAT:

N = Normal

The first thing we need to do is accept the challenges and problems as normal. This is a simple but really powerful shift to make.

I know for a while, I felt a bit victimised and ‘woe is me’ when the problems kept coming. But talk to any business owner, no matter how successful they are, and you’ll discover they’ve faced their fair share of problems too.

So, understanding we’re not special or singled out by the Universe when it comes to our problems is a big step forward.

E = Expect it

Problems are so normal, in fact, we should expect them. We won’t always be across the specifics of what’s coming, but we can get comfortable with the expectation that ‘something’ is coming.

That doesn’t mean we must sit around anxiously waiting for the next ‘thing’ to hit. But if you expect that something is always around the corner, when the problem arrives, the next step in the process is much easier.

A = Accept it

This is perhaps the hardest part of the process – accepting the problems and challenges when they arise. No matter how much we know they are normal and no matter how much we expect things will happen, it’s still likely to really upset us when they do!

All being upset does, however, is make things worse and make us feel like victims. Accepting what’s happened allows us to take the final step with a clearer state of mind.

T = Tidy up

Do what you need to do to fix/surmount the problem, then move on.

Don’t dwell, because, according to Nam, dwelling on things leads to you laying down patterns of behaviour that become habit. And you definitely don’t want to fall into the habit of feeling like the Universe is out to get you and never wants you to be successful.

This article originally appeared on Flying Solo, read the original here

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