What if it all burned down?

If I’m talking to a soloist who is getting a bit jaded and in need of some rejuvenation (and it happens to the best of us), I’ll often toss this little hand grenade of a question out there. How would you respond?


Some years ago I remember talking to a soloist who at the end of every year, moved the contents of her office into the adjoining room. Her dining room if I remember correctly.

Surrounded by the all the ‘stuff’ of her business, she then went through every item either returning it to the office or in many cases, dumping it in the recycling. I found this activity quite extraordinary and even more so when I actually did it for myself.

The very notion of making everything justify its place and the idea that every item had been removed, the question being, would it be returned?

This was one heavy-duty business detox and in truth I’ve only had the courage to do it the once.

“This was one heavy-duty business detox and in truth I’ve only had the courage to do it the once.”

"This was one heavy-duty business detox and in truth I’ve only had the courage to do it the once."

However, while I’ve not repeated the action, I’ve certainly taken on board the lesson and with my ‘What if it all burned down?’ question I find the response can be equally liberating and potentially very confronting.

So imagine for a moment that while you’re reading this your entire business is going up in smoke. All that you’ve created, everything you’ve written, all your collateral, your profiles, your stock, your following, your likers, your reputation. G-o-n-e.

You’re left with nothing. Just hold that feeling for a moment and understand exactly what you’re feeling.

Are you breaking out in a sweat and covered in a wave of fear and misery, or do you feel lighter with an overpowering sense of liberation and freedom?

Interesting isn’t it? For many I find it’s a bit of both. If you’re ‘typical’, you’ll find that you’re pleased some things have gone, but sad others are a pile of ash.

Well while you’ve been reading this your business has not burned down, it’s just as you left it. The question is, do you want it all back? Are there bits that you’d like to be shot of?

As I’m quite sure you realise, it’s far better to freshen up your business when you are in control of it, than when the flames are up around your ankles and you’re scrabbling round for a bucket of water.

Robert Gerrish

is the founder of Flying Solo and helps soloists stay upbeat and energised. He’s recently published The 1-Minute Commute, is a presenter and facilitator and works one-on-one with those needing a refresh. Find out more about his skills and services and his Olympus Trip 35 camera side hustle or connect on LinkedIn.


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