364 | Handling Fear and Preparing for the Future

Fear hates information and it hates action even more.

In this episode of The Chris LoCurto Show, my Vice President of Leadership Development, Joel Fortner, and I discuss how you can handle fear and prepare your business and team for the future.

When the path ahead isn’t clear and risk is higher, the key is slowing down to plan for different scenarios.

When you do this, you give yourself more options.

So, in this episode, you’ll get strategies to:

  • self-manage and handle fear,
  • handle money wisely,
  • position yourself to pickup business if your competitors don’t survive, and
  • make sure every person on your team cost justifies.



For full transcript, continue reading:

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show. Today, We are going to do something a little different with everything that is going on in the world. We want to encourage you and give you some hope as well. So whether you are a business owner or a stay at home parent who has suddenly become your kid’s teacher, we want to encourage you during this time. So today we’re going to share with you part of the conversation that Joel and I had on our Facebook Live recently. So if you want to watch the entire discussion, please visit our page on Facebook. We hope you find some good news in the conversation today and we thank you for joining us.

Well, Hey, welcome folks. I’m Joel Fortner. I’m Chris LoCurto’s, VP of Leadership Development, um, working every day with clients and coaching clients, especially who are working a lot lately, um, with helping entrepreneurs and owners and leaders navigate this whole COVID impact, uh, that no doubt has touched your life. Unless you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t heard of it, you may be better off actually. Um, you know what I mean? Just stay where you’re at. Stay where you’re at some type of self quarantine, uh, that’s working well for you. Uh, but Chris and I, uh, wanted to meet and have another conversation today, to be able to help you all out and make, uh, make decisions, whether especially whether it’s in your family, especially for business leaders out there that um, the owners and leaders of the world are taking on even more levels of stress, uh, more levels of fear and uncertainty when they look to the future and more wanting to be a voice for hope and a voice for perspective and a voice of making sound decisions.

So Chris and I are going to have another conversation about that today for 30 minutes talking about fear, talking about self-care, um, and even talking about what it looks like to build your business and prepare for the future and answer questions like, what should I be doing today as a leader and as an owner that assuming I survive this and we know the reality is some businesses that just probably won’t, um, it’s heartbreaking and It’s sad. Um, but for those who, who do, um, Lord willing, what does it look like to prepare for your future? So Chris and I are going to talk a lot about that today. Um, so Chris, why don’t we dive in first, right at the top here. Um, and talk a little bit about fear and self-care. A lot of entrepreneurs and leaders, especially I’ve talked to this week, tend to have a fear of the future. It’s a fear of man. What’s going to happen with the economy, especially longterm. Uh, what would your advice be to them today?

Well, first I to say that your positioning, it looks so karate kid behind you. The, uh, the tree behind, There it is! That’s a full tree. It looks like the Kirate Kid emblem. I thought that was awesome. Uh, we’ve, it’s been interesting lately over the last couple of weeks that we’ve been talking to a bunch of entrepreneurs, a bunch of leaders, we’ve had kind of a mixed message. One of the things that I have absolutely loved to hear is the, all the folks that have been through our stuff that are like, man, I’ve been prepared, you know, this going through all of this that’s prepared me to be exactly right here. I was talking with uh, Jeremy Reeves yesterday and he was talking about how he was going through the fear lesson when this hit and that it helped him to actually lead his team because he was prepared and he was being prepared. So I think there is for a lot of folks out there, there, there are people that have been working on this stuff and have been getting prepared and that’s fantastic. That’s, that’s great. We love it. We’re super proud of you guys. But that’s not everybody. There’s a lot of folks that are struggling. There’s a lot of folks that are scared and listen- we are the last people who want to sensationalize anything. We are not. We are the anti fear mongers we’re always pushing against. Do not be afraid. So as you hear me say that there’s a lot of people who are fearful that our goal is not to blow this thing up and make people fearful. We want to tell you not to be fearful. Our goal is to tell you, Hey listen, don’t be fearful. So as we talk about this, for those folks who are still struggling, for those folks who are concerned that are worried, um, the question that you ask is how do we take care of ourselves? Um, by far, if you can’t lead yourself in this process right now, then what you’re going to discover is it’s incredibly difficult to lead others.

Do Not Live in Fear.

So as I’m talking about the fear side, this is probably going to be something that we’ll talked about even a few more times. You have got to make sure that you are not living in fear. You’ve got to make sure that you are not allowing lies and fear to control your decision making. Oh, you know, we talk about it all the time in Next Level Life, that one have fear of something, whether it’s man’s opinion, whether it’s bad things happening, no matter what it is. What it does is it affects the way you make decisions, period. So first thing you’ve got to start doing is making sure that you are getting to a place where for those of us that are believers, if you’re not a believer, then I suggest spending some time sometime in the word and just reading the book and seeing what you find in God’s word. For those of us that are believers, you’ve got to get to a place where you’re trusting that the King of the universe, He’s got this, He is not surprised. He did not wake up this morning and go, what in the world? What does this COVID-19. I just like saying COVID-19, that’s twice I’ve gotten to use that. Um, He’s not surprised on what’s going on. So you’ve got to know that the King of the universe loves you, is crazy about you. He has a plan. He knows that this is going to suck. He knows that there’s a lot of crap going on. This is going to be difficult. Second thing is, is that it is vitally important- One of the, uh, one of the lessons that we’re going to be teaching, uh, Heather’s going to be teaching at the Next Level Leadership Live event is on stress management and health and how it affects you.

You and your family.

If you’re stressing out, then I can promise you, you’re effecting your body in horrible ways. You’re dumping a bunch of cortisol into your stomach. You are probably dumping a bunch of adrenaline into your stomach. There’s things that you’re doing that’s actually wearing your body down. If your body is getting worn down, you’re not going to be good to anybody. So you’ve got to take really good care of your health, make sure that you’re not doing, uh, you know, something that a lot of us do, which is we try to eat our feelings. You know, I used to be an emotional leader years ago before I understood that I was the most leader. Don’t be an emotional eater. Don’t be an emotional drinker. Don’t do the things. Stay away from sugar. Take care of your body right now with very healthy choices, not crap stuff so that you can actually be strongly, I mean credit even if it’s just to avoid catching the virus, right? You got to take care of these things about you first and then you’ve got to look at the most important place and that is to your family. How is this impacting your family? Now, men, I’m going to speak to you guys for a second. You have to understand that your wife is a little bit more sensitive to the security side of things than you probably are, so what are you doing to encourage her and help her to understand that, Hey, you’re going to do whatever it takes. It doesn’t matter. I was, I was at a friends the other day and her fiance, I love it. I came over and I talked to her. She’s like, Hey Josh, I had to get a job. I mean, this is a guy who makes a lot of money as a mechanic, does a great job, but he doesn’t have enough high-end. They’re all high end vehicles. And so he’s busting at a Publix. She was like, yeah, he had to go get a job. You know, he just wanted to go get some more money. And you know, so he’s working at Publix at nighttime. I’m like, I’m so proud of him for doing that, right? He’s doing whatever it takes to take care of his family. And so that’s a thing to think about is how do you ensure that you’re going to take care of your family? How do you make sure that they’re not freaking out during this time? So taking care of you is not just enough to take care of you. Also take a hard look at those that are looking to you for leadership, guidance, direction, security, all that kind of stuff. Um, ladies, your man needs a lot of, uh, strength right now. He needs a lot of encouragement. He needs to see that you’re not freaking out as well. The last thing you want to see is that your man’s freaking out. He doesn’t need to see that you’re freaking out, right? So make sure that you’re pumping him up, give him encouraging discussions, help him to know that you’re behind them and you trust in them and you believe in him. If we can do this for each other, then all we can both get out there, um, and you know, lead the, the teams or the businesses that we have. So things to be thinking about.

Don’t Be Afraid of Money.

So let’s, let’s speak to those business leaders and owners right now that are just flat out afraid about money, um, that they’re worried about cash flow. I mean, oftentimes when’s known or not worried about cash flow, but especially now with trying to manage cashflow really, really tightly, um, and then look into, man, what’s it going to be? So there’s this balance that owners and leaders have to have to walk, such as I have a team and a business to run today. I’m trying to tighten up on expenses, but I don’t know what’s coming. I don’t know what’s a project, I don’t know what to forecast, but I need to be ready for if it’s there. And so kind of the better question, maybe even speaking about cashflow is even helping is being able to focus on the things you can control when it comes to projecting for the future and being ready for it. What’s your advice there? You know, we kind of talked about it this morning in our own business. We had our own uh, team meeting this morning, talking through some of the things that we need to focus on. I live in my accounting, you know, it’s one of the things we teach, that kind of stuff that you need to understand what’s happening in the numbers because that’s my decision-making process for business. I have four different businesses. I need to know what those businesses are doing so I can project what’s going to happen in the future or what I need to stop doing, change, you know, move, whatever. So one of the best things you can do, uh, if you are a leader who’s over the P and L, or if you’re the business owner, then definitely, uh, or you know, you might be the, um, the, the comptroller, you might be the accountant you might be somebody, a CFO inside of the business that you work for right now is the time to be going through every single thing on the books, everything. Taking a look at every dollar, taking a look at every expense, taking a look at every decision that you’re making and really start prioritizing the things that you can cut right now and get rid of, right? So we kind of talked about this to our Next Level Mastermind clients. So today that one of the things to kick immediately is for some of you, you might have that 401k match. You know, this is not, this is not an important thing right now in the moment. Now, if you have no problem with your finances, then keep that going because everything’s on the cheap right now. So right now’s the perfect time to be buying. I’m putting money into the market right now because it’s a smart time to be putting money into the market. It’s on the cheap, go get it. But if that’s not where you are as a business.

You’ve got to start making some really smart decisions. Start listing out all the different expenses that you might need to boot. Um, that would be a smart one. Take a look at, you know, some of the things that you’ve been doing. Maybe it’s you’re buying expensive coffee for your team. I don’t know. You know, maybe it is that you guys are doing special trips every once a month, whatever the thing is, go through those expenses and start listing out stuff. You might want to just cut right now anyways. You know, we had a discussion this morning. It was like, Hey guys, we’re not spending money on anything we don’t need right now. And we’re a business that’s doing good. I mean, we’ve, we’ve prepared for this kind of stuff for 20 years. Uh, so in this business that we’ve been doing for the last seven years, we’re in a place where we’re prepared for the bad times. But that doesn’t mean we make stupid decisions. So go through those expenses. Take a hard look at that. The other thing I want you to think about is how do you not cut essential things that may appear to be not essential. So if you are, if marketing is keeping clients in front of you and it is bringing money inside of the building, do not cut that. Maybe make smarter decisions, but a lot, a lot of times a lot of leaders or business owners, will go and start cutting things. That’s actually helping the business to continue growing or stay afloat or whatever. Thinking, Oh, we don’t need that right now. And it happens to be the thing that’s kicking them a long ways now. So those are a couple of things just on the financial side that you could look at. Another thing is, is take a hard look at what you can do for your vendors.

We keep talking about this. We were talking about this just a little while ago. We’re looking at, I’m sorry, our clients, not our vendors. We were looking at how can we be even a better tool for our clients in a time like this? So one of the things that people have to understand is unfortunately, because of how painful and difficult this is going to be, there’s going to be a lot of folks who are not prepared for downtime like this. I hate it. It’s heartbreaking. There’s going to be a lot of folks that are going to probably end up having to close their doors. I’ve got some fun things that are, um, the light is coming through and shining on me like crazy. That’s awesome. I’ve got this funny looking earring now, right from the light. There’s going to be some businesses, and again, understand this breaks our heart that this is going to happen. People are going to be experiencing this. But here’s what I want you to be thinking about. If your competition is not going to be here in a month, two months from now, what does that mean for you? It does not mean you become incredibly insensitive and go ballistic and start calling on people. Tell them that your competition is not going to make it. All that kind of crap. We smart show people that you can serve them and take care of them, but also be prepared that you might have people you can take care of more than you did more than you had a month ago. So one of the things to be preparing for is what is, what’s happening with your competition? Is it possible that they’re not going to have their doors open at that time? And if so, then what does that mean for you? How do you, jump in and help out all those clients who now need your product, your service, whatever you’ve got. So you are not hearing me say that, you know, go pounce on your competitors. Go treat people at crap. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m saying is prepared for the future. What do you do? So one of the things we’re discussing is how do we help our clients take advantage of whatever the situation is, where they are. So those are some things that you can do to prepare for the future.

Next Level Leadership Live Event: Livestream

Hey folks. Here’s my question for you. How many of you have always wanted to attend the Next Level Leadership LIVE Event? Well, guess what, due to this fantastic coronavirus pandemic, you now have the opportunity to see the Next Level Leadership Live Event, Live Stream. Yup. The entire three day event is now going to be online April 29th through May 1st so this is your opportunity to attend the Next Level Leadership LIVE Event at home. Here’s the deal, folks, we are going to get through this together. Our goal is to help you by giving you the plans to not only survive, but to capitalize on the other side of this economic downturn. So to do so, go to ChrisLoCurto.com/livestream to sign up today. That’s ChrisLoCurto.com/livestream

Building for the Future.

So speaking of future, there’s a lot of people right now, I’m just at the sheer notion of scaling their business or building for the future may seem very offbeat. It may seem like, what are you talking about, Joel? Why should I, how could I be doing that? Why should I be focused on that right now? But to your point, a lot of businesses will survive this, they will be in a, in a place to capitalize and rightfully so. Rightfully so, because there are still people, there are businesses and consumers will still need, have needs and wants and wants to be taken care of and you’re in a place to do it. So if I’m a business owner today and then I’m thinking about preparing for the future and I’m not really fighting to keep my doors closed, I’m doing okay. I have the bandwidth and we have the ability to work on the business right now and I, and one opportunity I see is preparing for the future or scaling and taking advantage of an opportunity. Where should my decision making start if I’m that person? So for us, um, that is one of the things that we’re going to be teaching on at the Next Level Leadership Live Event. What do you do right now? What do you do in this time? How do you take a look at scaling your business? What does scaling your business look like in a healthy way? Now, I want people to understand when you do it right, then you have clients like we do who are saying, Hey, we’re prepared because we’ve been following the stuff you teach for years. We’ve been doing this stuff that you teach for years. Therefore, we’re prepared in a time like this. We’re making smart decisions. It doesn’t mean that we are not, you know, hurting with, you know, loss of clients and all that kind of stuff. But we’re good. We’re doing well. That is the key. You have to understand there’s a lot of people out there selling their magic pills on how to make you, seven figures in 37 seconds. Okay? Those are the folks that usually come to us afterwards and go, okay, show me how to do it right. Right now is the right time for you to be looking into your business and asking the question, what is not operating well? What is not going right? When we do things like StratPlan, one of the things we show people is all of the things that are holding them back from scaling. All the things that are keeping them from growing well. We’re not sitting there telling people, go leverage your whole life so that you can try and make another $100,000 so you can try and make $1 million. Instead, we help people to take a hard look inside the business and ask the question, what’s not going right right now? What’s not working? The first two places we’re always going to point people when you’re looking at the business as a whole is what is your communication? How is your communication at a time like this? How high level is it? How good is it? How quality is it? Are you guys able to actually make sure that you’re communicating incredibly well? Especially since there’s a really good chance most of you are working remote right now? How well is that communication happening? Another piece is what do we have in place for accountability? If we look through our systems, if we look through our processes, what are the things that we have in place that are making sure that we’re going to be successful in each one of those areas? So these are just a couple of things that you should be looking at your business and saying, what needs to be shored up? What needs to be fixed? What do I need to focus on? Now I will tell you as a leader, there’s a couple of things you need to think about.

Becoming Cost Justifiable.

One is if you are overtaxed, overwhelmed right now, we call it being “stuck in the leadership crazy cycle”. If you are doing a thousand different things in a day and you’re spending about five minutes leading your team, that is not the place you’re supposed to be in. You are supposed to be leading people to success. So if that’s what you’re experiencing right now is that you’re still overwhelmed, you’ve got all kinds of stuff going on, you’re trying to figure out how the best way to to get all the tasks done in a day. That’s not going to be that. That is not your, the best utilization of you as a leader. Instead, you need to be taking a look, especially right now and every person on your team and asking the question, how do I make sure that this team member is set up for success? How do I look at each role we did that, you know, over a week ago we sat down and we took a hard look at every single role in the business and ask the question, what changes? What doesn’t change? How do we, you know, do we redirect somebody, but how do we make sure that these folks are set up for success? So if you’ve got somebody who is, let’s say a sales person who has been, you know, getting most of their sales by incoming calls, and right now you’re trying to push them outward and guess what? They’re probably not experts at that right now. So you as a leader need to sit down, no matter how long it takes and figure out how do I set this person up to be able to be successful at these calls? How do I make sure that they’re not trying to sell something to somebody who could absolutely care less about the product that I’m trying to sell? So all of those pieces of what do I, how do I set this person up for success? How do I set up if I’ve got a, you know, administrative people that right now, uh, don’t have enough on their plate. Like, thank you, dear. Taking a lot off my forehead there. You know, folks, all those peoples that, uh, might not have, um, a really good handle on, well, what do I do in this time? I don’t, I don’t, I usually process all of this information from another team member and now I’m sitting there with nothing to do. Can you point them in another direction? Can you get them focused on something else? Can you get them researching something that can help you to push the business forward? So as a leader, if you’re spending your day filling it with tasks and guess what, you’re not leading anybody. The scary thing is, is a lot of leaders say, well, I don’t know how to lead.

Chris, I hear you saying that, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to lead them. So I’m just going to give you the best short piece of this right now. There’s, we teach a ton of stuff on how to be a great leader. I’m going to give you the most important piece right now. Take a hard look at the role and ask yourself the question, how do I make this role successful no matter what that means- whether it’s encouraging a team member, whether it’s learning a new software program, whether it’s learning how to research better, whatever it is, how do I make this role in this team member successful right now? And if it’s a role that doesn’t need to keep going in the way that it is, how do I adjust this role to make this role successful? So one of the, one of the things I hear coming through and what you’re talking about is not only just efficiency but something else Chris, that we teach leaders to do and that’s the cost justify roles is always makes sure the roles cost justifying. Can you go into, I don’t know, one or two minutes of explanation behind cost justification and why that’s so important. So for me, every role has to pay for itself, right? So people, especially solopreneurs, will ask me, who’s your first hire? My answer is always one of two people. It’s the opposite of what you’re doing. So if I’m the one who’s, you know, making it rain, if I’m selling things, doing, getting, bringing money into the business and I’m doing it really, really well, then I probably don’t need to hire another version of me immediately. Maybe I can. But if I have to keep doing all the administrative side of the sales side, the marketing, whatever I’m doing to bring money in, then I’m only getting probably about half of my time bringing money in. So instead, if I hire somebody to do the administrative work, I can push that on them and spend all of my time making money for the business right now. So it would be an administrative person if it was the other way around.

Maybe I’m not a great salesperson, but I’ve been making things happen. I really do a good job on the administrative side. Bring somebody in to go sell the fire out of your product or service, and then you stay where you are building that piece up. So when you’re, you know, for everybody who’s watching, most of the people probably already have a decent size team. So look at that concept. If I hire somebody as an administrative assistant for however much money and it allows me to bring in, you know, I pay this much for the admin, but I can bring in this much more money. That’s cost justification. They’ve paid for their salary, they’ve paid for the taxes, they’ve paid for employment, they’ve paid for the computers, the stuff it’s made. It makes sense to have that person on board because taking admin off of me allows me to go sell more.

It gives me more capacity to go make more money. So that’s the concept. So right now, when you look inside of your business, if you’ve got an admin person that is twiddling their thumbs and you’re paying them a full salary, you have to ask yourself the question, how long can I do this? You know what? What can I do differently? How can I readjust them? How can I point them in a different direction? How can I, you know, what’s the thing that I can do to use them for, to create that revenue inside of the business so I can keep paying the team member? Right? So it might be that you, again, you redirect. We took one of our ops guys and he’s focusing on content stuff right now. So that’s helping us to get some content stuff out because he also happens to be really good at writing. That’s helping us to get some content stuff created that removes that pressure from other team members so they can focus on something else! That way they’re still doing stuff that we need to get done and allows the other team members to focus on other things that we can hopefully bring money in. And now everybody’s cost justifying inside of the business. So I’m not expecting you to nail this down, like you’re making a ton of money off of each team member. But when things are going well, if I’m looking at somebody who’s administrative, I really would like to bring in at least four times the salary that I paid them. If I can say that somehow the job that they’re doing is creating three to four times the amount of salary, that’s pretty darn good. If I can get more than that, great. Um, if it’s somebody who is, and the reason why I say four times is because there’s a whole lot of expenses that goes with every single role with everything that we do, right? If it’s somebody who’s bringing in money sales or something or marketing that I’d like to see 10 times the amount, I’d like to see that amount because their process actually, it is easier to create the revenue from that allows us to spend more money bringing in more money. I don’t expect you to get those numbers in a downtime like this. I expect you to say, can I keep paying this person bringing in the money my cost justifying by not losing money in this area if at all possible.

That makes sense. Yeah. No, that’s excellent. I’m sure that was super helpful. So ladies and gentlemen, this is, thanks again for those who tuned in. I hope that was so, this was super helpful. Um, one of the, one of the takeaways I hope that you’re hearing come through and what Chris is teaching is that no matter what the circumstances are, it’s that it’s your, your job as a leader to make your team successful, not the other way around. It’s your job to make them successful through smart decision making that starts with taking care of yourself, self care, focusing on making every person successful, every role successful. And you will be more likely to weather this and be in a great position to capitalize on the other side when things calm down and, and even out. And I believe they will. So thanks for tuning in, Chris. Thanks for the time,  brother, man. And uh, ladies and gentlemen, we will see you soon.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.