6 Steps To Take When $#!& Hits The Fan

Vintage steel fan

Every once in awhile, something goes wrong. Yes, even here at The Rockstar Academy. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true (please read that last line with the tongue-in-cheek attitude in which it was written).

Sometimes $#!& hits the fan.

The real bummer is that sometimes it’s not even your fault. Doesn’t matter, does it? When it hits the fan, it hits you. And whether you like it or not, people are looking at you to see how you’re going to react.

“OH MY GOD THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED,” is never what people want to hear. And by people, I mean your team, your boss, your customers, your community, your family. Ok, I pretty much mean everybody.

How you react when the $#!& hits the fan reflects your true character.

If you stick your head in the sand and try to ignore the problem, your character needs to grow some courage.

If you point fingers and try to lay the blame on someone else, your character needs to grow a backbone.

If you try to cover it up, well you know it’s impossible to cover that stuff up. It stinks. People still try, though. Never works.

We’ve all done these things because they’re human nature. Most people avoid taking responsibility for the things they’ve done wrong. And hardly ANYBODY steps up and takes responsibility for things that were out of their control.

But rockstars do.

So when $#!& hits the fan, what should you do? Here are 6 steps to take:

1. Breathe.

If there is anything worse than no reaction, it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Just breathe. Assess the situation. If you can, give a little time and space. Sleep on it. It’s really true that most things don’t look so bad the next morning. And you are a few hours removed from the intense emotion of the event, which helps you think more clearly.

Note: if the situation requires immediate response, by all means respond immediately. But in most situations you can take some breathing room.

2. Assess your options.

Every situation offers options in the way you’ll respond. I’m not saying they’re all right or responsible, but there are options ranging from doing absolutely nothing to completely overcompensating for the damage or upset caused. This is another good reason to take some breathing room. It buys you some objectivity.

3. Choose “radical accountability.”

People are CRAVING someone to stand up and say “Sorry, we’ll fix this.” I’ll warn you, this is a little scary because you’re setting yourself up as a target. I’ve always found, though, that if you’re ready to be the target you can absorb just about anything people throw at you.

Here’s the kicker on this one: When you practice radical accountability (meaning, taking the road nobody else is willing to take), it tends to win back all but the hardcore haters. Honestly, did you really want the hardcore haters hanging around anyway?

4. Act.

Make it right. Make it better. Do something. Do anything. Take action. Don’t wait for the perfect idea or the most flawless plan to be worked out; you may never act. If you’ve done steps 1-3, you won’t screw it up too bad, I promise.

5. Communicate all the way through.

If there is anything worse than the $#!& hitting the fan, it’s silence afterwards. Even if you’re breathing, assessing, devising your plan, or acting, you need to let people know what’s happening.

Look at what happened with the recent Malaysia Airline flight that disappeared. Not only did the victims’ families have to deal with the fact that their loved ones were very likely dead, NOBODY TOLD THEM ANYTHING FOR DAYS. Weeks later, they still don’t have the full story. There’s nothing worse than being alone in the dark after a tragedy. Nothing.

6. Grow.

If all you do is fix the problem (or make amends), but you don’t learn how to prevent it next time — or to grow in your knowledge or capability — all you’ve done is put lipstick on a pig.

I absolutely hate it when $#!& hits the fan. It’s painful. It can ruin your entire day, week, month, or year. But once you step back and realize that it’s not the end of the world, you can start to see the opportunities for growth. I can honestly say some of the biggest improvements in my life and company were implemented shortly after something big crashed and burned.


Maybe something in your world just crashed and burned. If not, then know this: it will eventually.

I hope these steps help you. They really work. I know this because I’ve figured them out during multiple personal experiences with $#!& hitting the fan.



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