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Contact Us to Learn How to Hit Curveballs

Good times include this certainty: They don’t last.

For businesses, which means formidable challenges (a weak economy, recent competition, a sea change within the marketplace) are all the time just across the corner, and unprepared business leaders face the potential for disaster.

“You don’t have the luxurious of resting in your laurels,” says Alyssa Rapp, CEO of Surgical Solutions and writer of “Leadership & Life Hacks: Insights from a Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur & Executive.”

“You might have to maintain battling, innovating, out-innovating, and outworking your competition.”

She knows something about that. From 2005 to 2015, Ms. Rapp served because the founder and CEO of Bottlenotes Inc., charting a course for the corporate through the turbulent years of the Great Recession.

During her time at Bottlenotes, she was named one in all Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30” coolest entrepreneurs within the U.S.

Starting in 2015, she served because the managing partner at AJR Ventures, which advised privately held corporations and personal equity firms on their digital marketing strategies.

Ms. Rapp offers 4 suggestions for helping business leaders meet the hardest of times with a resolute attitude.

Acknowledge fear and move through it.

Fear gets a foul rap, however it’s there for a reason: to guard you from something. “Identical to standing on a balance beam is frightening because your life or limbs are in danger, so, too, is making business decisions that carry huge risks,” says Ms. Rapp, a former competitive gymnast who knows something about balance beams.

Your job is to acknowledge the fear — to pay attention to its presence — after which push through it. “Fear is a standard human response,” she says. “The trick is in not letting it dominate your psyche.”

Commit to ending what you begin.

You might have to commit before you even begin.

“In the event you start anything knowing you most likely won’t succeed, then you definately won’t,” Ms. Rapp says. “You’re setting yourself up for failure. You could show up with full commitment, having faith, true grit and belief in yourself.”

Know that each one great ideas start with “what if.”

Never be afraid to ask what if, time and again, until you discover an answer, Ms. Rapp says.

She points out that the majority of the perfect entrepreneurial innovation in the US was born out of Silicon Valley, precisely due to constant willingness to ask and re-ask this easy query.

“Some people’s responses to challenges or obstacles are to stop asking questions,” Ms. Rapp says. “If you ought to solve an issue, you’ve got to open yourself as much as the likelihood that change is inevitable, and reframing the issue will present an otherwise undiscovered solution.”

Keep in mind that you’ve got to be present to win.

You may’t win a race in the event you’re not competing.

“So before you do anything — before you commit to ending what you begin, before you acknowledge your fear and move through it — you’ve got to indicate up.”

“Keep in mind that saying, that 80 percent of success is showing up? There’s truth to that because showing up matters.”

It’s inevitable that, no matter how well you’re thinking that you’ve planned, life will throw you curveballs, she says.

“They’ll come at you in every area, every industry, every walk of life. I’ve faced them as a mom, wife, entrepreneur, executive, friend — you name it. But I don’t run from them. I’ve learned to use my brother’s advice: ‘The one way out is thru.’ The reality is, I really like curveballs, because each comes with a matter: What the hell are you going to do about it?”

About Alyssa Rapp

Alyssa Rapp, writer of “Leadership & Life Hacks: Insights from a Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur & Executive,” has been CEO of Surgical Solutions since 2018. She has been named one in all Crain’s Chicago’s “Notable Women in Health Care.” She also teaches at Stanford Business School and is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship on the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School. For more information: www.alyssarapp.com. ¦


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