small business risk management

Time to Talk Trauma

There is good science to show trauma changes the brain’s neuropathways. These changes can be of immense benefit to small business if managed well, with dignity and the right resources.

This is a tricky subject and rarely discussed outside of very personal conversations. My informal research shows a significant number of small business owners and managers have a business past that hasn’t been kind to them.

As many of you know, I spend my days observing and working with small businesses. From my experience, those I have talked to regarding trauma and business have at least a couple of the following characteristics and traits, no matter their story.  These characteristics can often be construed as flaws / weaknesses.  However, I see any number of these as assets and when combined, they can lead to truly remarkable business acumen:

  1. hyper alertness; leading to an exceptional ability to see opportunities; constantly looking for a solution to challenges; adaptable and generator of unique ideas, often associated with left field thinking;
  2. resilience; leading to exceptional drive, grit, and almost superhuman stamina and toughness; self-sufficient, multiskilled and don’t expect to be rescued;
  3. self-critical; constantly seeking and striving for perfection;
  4. nurturing; truth seekers and tellers; overwhelming desire to give back, protect others, and mentor staff;
  5. focus; known for accuracy, and attention to detail.

I strongly encourage everyone to look after their mental health and contribute positively to the good mental health of others. We need it as individuals, in our businesses, and in our communities.

In the case of small business, the skill is to acknowledge the unique strengths a different neurology can offer and seek out support as soon as it is needed. Along with formal and informal counselling and support, business owners may need 2 or more mentors – 1 for standard small business and 1 for managing the unique challenges trauma related behaviours present.

Leanne Bicknell                              +61 (0)455 330032                                          

Something worth travelling for

The cat sanctuary in Rome (Feral Feline Colonies Torre Argentina) housed in ancient Roman ruins below street level. Visitors have a unique view as they look down on the hundreds of cats sunbaking and lounging around. Hard to find in the middle of an intersection of roads that is poorly signed, fenced in, and impossible to see. Feral Feline Colonies Torre Argentina, Scavi Archeologici, Largo di Torre Argentina Angolo, Largo Arenula, 00186 Roma RM, Italy.

Resources for those interested and that have time

‘THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE’, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Penguin Random House UK, 2015 is the best book I have come across on the subject of trauma.

Harvard Business Review, ‘Growth After Trauma’, Richard G. Tedeschi From the Magazine July–August 2020.

Forbes, ‘Driven By Bullying, Suicide, Grief And Trauma – How These Entrepreneurs Are Scaling Mental Health’, Megan Bruneau, May 31, 2019.

The crippling impact of mental health on small business owners, Anthony Hasphall, The Sydney Morning Herald. June 26, 2017.

Mental illness hits small business owners hard, Dr Jocelyn Lowinger, ABC Health and Wellbeing. March 5, 2015.