These are stressful times.

Today my broker called. He’s been terrific through the market melt-down – keeping me informed, getting advice, sharing insight. I feel well looked after and frankly, lucky he’s my broker.

What’s happening in the market hasn’t been easy for him. What we’re going through now is unique, once-in-a-lifetime type stuff. He’s seen a lot. He hasn’t seen this.

The other day he was telling me how he was so pre-occupied, he only shaved half his face (unfortunately, as goofy as that sounds I actually had a better story – I showered and only dried my hair! – we had a good laugh). I feel for him.

Today he called to share his thoughts on the lessons learned from what we’ve just been through and how to protect for it in the future. He had an excellent plan.

You know, I appreciate it.

If more businesses would learn from the difficult experiences they go through, they’d stop going through so many difficult experiences. However, today I had a different thought for him.

“You’re on the wrong track.”

I know what’s happening because I’m seeing it everywhere. Faced with adversity, uncertainty, fear…and frankly in some businesses, too much downtime…..people like my broker are working themselves into a frenzy. They’re working overtime to come up with solutions to save the world, fix the past and cure cancer. All in one fell swoop.

You know what…he doesn’t need to. It’s the wrong thing to do. Knee-jerking and over-reacting into crazy but well-meaning directions is exactly how to compound the mess that’s already out there.

This just doesn’t apply to my broker. I know a business owner making the corporate version of the same mistake. He’s like a crazed pyro-maniac lighting new fires everywhere he goes. Unfortunately, there won’t be much left standing if he keeps it up.

So, here’s the direction I gave my broker: your job is to maximize the return on my investment. There is RAW POTENTIAL to do that everywhere I look right now. At least in my lifetime THERE WILL NEVER BE A BETTER TIME to invest in great companies at huge discounts. Don’t worry about inventing a better way to protect me so the next time this happens I don’t get killed. I’ll be dead anyways. GO AND MAKE ME RICH. Stop over-thinking this.

And for the business owner: man, you MUST get a plan – and stick to it. No, the economy isn’t great and sales will slow down. But your product needs some attention. Now you’re going to have some time to work on it. You’re not going to execute any of that other stuff anyways. Blow this opportunity, AND YOU WILL BE OUT OF BUSINESS.

So, bottom line…. yes, there’s stress and in many cases fear. But working long hours and coming up with new, crazy directions (working dumb) isn’t the answer. The answer is probably something pretty basic. Something fundamental. And once you’ve figured it out….get out of the office…before you break something!