I’m trying to decide whether or not to be concerned about the Swine Flu. The World Health Organization has yet to deem it a pandemic, yet some countries are starting to police their borders for those entering the country who may be sick or infected. I think of the billions of people who live in the United States and only 40 – 40! – known cases have been reported here so far (as I’m writing this), with most in Texas, near Mexico, where the majority of cases seem to be. Now, I realize that while this may seem small, it could lead to larger problems. Absolutely. The average American probably doesn’t even know what Swine Flu is, let alone the fact that it might become a problem. And, I believe that we, as U.S. citizens must be informed when any type of intruder might be knocking at the door – whether it’s an illness or something else. But some of the headlines in the media over the past few days simply infuse panic. In one sentence, a reporter writes about not creating panic, but in the very next sentence alludes to the fact that this could be the next pandemic in a generation. How do you steer clear of going into panic mode? By getting all the facts. It’s no different in our world of business today. Yes, we are in one of the deepest recessions in decades (and yes, the media probably has instilled some panic regarding this, too). But it doesn’t mean we crawl into a closet, close the door, and wait for it to pass. We take steps that protect us from the “what if” and move on, continuing to do business, perhaps paying attention just a bit more to what’s going on in the industry, the country, the world, than we have in the past. For the Swine Flu, it’s washing your hands more often, staying away from those who are sneezing and coughing, and avoiding large public places when you don’t have to be there. But even the latter seems a bit “panicky.” As for your business in this down economy, stay the course. Make informed decisions and be proactive about your business. If you curl up in a ball in panic, you’re going to get sick.