Some entrepreneurs (and leaders) are “up” people, and some are “down” people.
Some people believe that because their company is growing that it will continue to do so. They believe that revenue only goes up. When you have a dollar, a second dollar is 100% growth.
These are “up” people. They think that revenue goes up, and up, and up, forever and ever, amen. They don’t believe that their growth is the result of good luck (it is), marketing timing (it is that too), and a strong tail wind (also very often true). High water covers a lot of stumps.
When things go south, “up” people fall apart. They find out that they don’t have the people or processes in place to grow by intention. Nor can they grow as fast as they were when things were going up.
“Down” people believe things can only get worse. If they are succeeding, they are vigilant for the inevitable event that is going to bring them down—and their whole company along with them. If a client doesn’t pay, that’s evidence that no one is going to pay. If another client is adversarial than all their clients are trying to hurt them. A single lawsuit means many more will follow.
If their revenue declines, it will only decline even more. If a key employee resigns and goes across the street, others are looking.
“Down” people don’t make the smart investments when things go well because they believe it is only temporary, so they miss out on growth opportunities.
Sometimes things go up because you are making the right moves. Success doesn’t always mean you push all your chips to the center of the table, but it does suggest that you should place a bet.
Sometimes things go wrong through no fault of your own. A decline doesn’t mean you cash out and go home.
Leading and growing a business means that you aren’t so much of an “up” person that you are impetuous and careless. Leading also requires that you aren’t so “down” that your fear prevents you from realizing your business’s full potential.