I’m a big fan of catch phrases. There’s one that comes in handy a lot and that is don’t panic. I learned it from one of one of my favorite books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which has don’t panic inscribed helpfully on the cover.

I have anxiety so it is easy for me to worry and get stressed out about the littlest thing. I find the catch phrase coping system very helpful. The first thing I do when I make a mistake or things go wrong is take a deep breath and say don’t panic to myself. Then I think things through logically and clinically. For some reason just saying don’t panic pushes my anxiety into the background, allowing me to come up with a plan. When we panic we react, instead of acting intentionally. Reacting without thinking usually makes things worse. Practicing not panicking is a great skill, that (unfortunately or fortunately) I am always building on.

For a lot of us if we are not techie, technology and panic can to go together. As solopreneur I am my own IT person. This week I made an update to my website which is designed in WordPress and hosted on a company called SiteGround. In case you don’t know, WordPress started off as an open source (free) software for blogging and evolved into site design. As of 2021 there were 455 million sites built using WordPress.

When I updated something, it crashed my whole site.

Super scary!

Super scary! But by practicing don’t panic, I didn’t. Because I had had trouble with this same update in the past, I knew how to use one of my automatic backups for my website that SiteGround does for me. But the scary error message was still there and the website wasn’t. That’s when I started to worry. Instead of going into full panic mode, I told myself no need to panic. You know this is fixable. And even if it isn’t, you have all of the website content saved somewhere else. If you have to redo it, it will be a pain and take some time, but you can do it.

I got on the SiteGround support chat (no waiting). I shared my fear that I had accidentally destroyed my website with my customer support guy Atanas. The first thing he said was, “Don’t worry your site isn’t gone, just crashed.” (I didn’t know there was a difference between crashed and gone.) “We’ll get it back.” And he did. The whole misadventure from me making the first update that crashed the site to him fixing it took less than half an hour.

I’m so grateful to Atanas and SiteGround’s wonderful wonderful tech support. They always fix my problem and they are also always cheerful and nice. This story has a happy ending. Yay! What is as important to me as the happy ending is how I handled it. I didn’t get so stressed out I couldn’t function. Instead, I practiced my don’t panic catch phrase and it helped me work through the problem and then get to the people that could help me fix it.

What are my takeaways from this week’s IT near disaster?

  • Practice don’t panic in small ways so it’s easy to do in big ways when there’s real trouble.
  • Not panicking saves your time and your sanity. Bonus: In addition to being relieved afterwards, you feel powerful. I did it!
  • Not panicking makes it easier to make a recovery plan and know who to ask if you need more help.
  • After a mistake, do a quick analysis to see what you learned and what you could do better next time. (I need to hire someone to help me figure out this bug.)
  • Back up your work. Back it up in a couple of different ways so if one back up fails, you have a back up to your back up. It’s much easier not to panic when you know you have a back up.

Be Helpful & Helpful Things

If you are working with tech support people, be grateful. When you thank them, ask them if you can write some kind of good review of them. A good review goes straight to their manager and can help them with a raise or promotion.

If any of you out there are Word Press experts or you know someone who is, I would love to be connected with them.

I am an affiliate of SiteGround because I love this company and their amazing customer service so much. They are a big part of what makes my website run smoothly and helping me getting it up and running in the first place. You can get more information about them here.

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