The Truth is Most Entrepreneurs Have Faced the Dread of Complete Financial Ruin.
Motivation though intangible can be the difference between success and failure. Many very talented and well-educated business owners give up on their dreams and end up building someone else’s because they have a hard time maintaining a positive outlook when things get tough. Let’s take a look at a scenario:
It’s Monday again and you eagerly check your email to see if any of the cold emails you sent out in the last week got responses. You are expectant because you followed all the advice your mentors gave you and tweaked the hell out of your flat boring former correspondence. You open your email, and aside from offers for you to buy more training and Google alerts, crickets. Not a single response, not even to say don’t message me you freak.
You sit for a few minutes reciting your affirmations, but they feel fake and the only thing that feels real is the panic you fight to keep at bay. You know your account is hurting, and you can hear your father in your head saying “maybe you should quit playing on your computer and get a real job,” all while your mother clucks her tongue disappointedly in the background. You think maybe they’re right. It’s the end of the year, and nothing has worked in the past two, you wonder why you should even bother to continue, knowing you would probably get paid more being a waitress. You slink off your chair, head for the fridge to find the sweet relief of chocolate that never fails to cheer you up. This has become your weekly routine of late, and the only thing expanding is your waistline. If this sounds familiar, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Majority of the people brave enough to take the entrepreneurial journey have faced the same fears and rejections. This is the inevitable dance of defeat that comes with the responsibility of creating your own income.
So how can you escape the crippling fear of causing your family’s ruin and having to live under a bridge? Well, first, you must distract yourself and get away from the thoughts of doom and gloom. And secondly, though this is just a suggestion, you might want to consider releasing your death grip on the chocolate. It’s gonna be okay. Being able to control your thought process is an unspoken rule of success. Anyone can start, but not too many people get to the goal because they defeat themselves in their minds. Follow the steps below to take your mind off your “perceived failures” and focus on the positive aspects of the entrepreneurial journey to give yourself a boost.
5 Steps to Take To Save Yourself Before You Get To Death By Chocolate Stage.
- Meditation– According to psychologists and authors Daniel Mintie and Julie K. Staples, “Meditation reduces overactivation of the amygdala. Chanting Om has been shown to decrease activation of the right amygdala.” The amygdala consists of two little almond-shaped portions on either side of the brain responsible for emotional processing. The right amygdala deals with automatic emotional responses, while the left deals with logical thinking. By choosing to be mindful of your current thoughts and putting yourself in a meditative state, you control the wild thoughts, known in meditation circles as the “monkey mind.” This control allows for a sense of centeredness which reduces your feelings of fear. There are many studies that show the direct correlation between meditation and a more successful life, but I have included this Psychology Today article to give you a more detailed and scientific explanation on how and why meditation helps you to be better overall by helping your brain control impulses and overthinking.
- Read the blogs and success stories of your business crushes– Part of your daily routine should involve reading about what is new, trending or changing in your industry. I find Mondays particularly refreshing as I tend to feel like there is so much to catch up on and learn. When starting a new week, don’t just rush in, get reinforcement from the people who are doing what you want to do. Run through your list of favorites and choose a blog or success story that speaks to your current mood. And, if you don’t have a list of business crushes you are following and interacting with, get started on that right away. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey of you sitting with your laptop dreaming of a time you can work from the beach. Going it alone with no support system is the most painful path that can lead to you falsely believe that the defeats you suffer are personal. Having an online or offline community of like-minded people to chat with or successful mentors to lean on when times get rough increases your chances of success.
- Work on your vision board– When things feel like they are spinning out of control, setting small achievable goals can put you back in the driver’s seat of your business. Even if you are setting goals for a month out, allowing yourself to dream about what you want to create and achieve will put you in the right head space and encourage your creative juices to flow. Now, this is not the time to be berating yourself about what you should be doing. That mindset is one of fear called judgment thinking, and it does not produce good results. You want to be in control of your business and the way you spend your time, so you can call the shots. Forcing yourself to work on sending cold emails when you’d rather lick an electric fence won’t bring you the results you seek as you’ll either end up sounding desperate, pushy or frustrated and nobody wants to work with someone like that. Working on your vision will remind you of why you started the business in the first place and help you feel better about where you are headed, even if you haven’t got there yet. Note, this is also not the time to bust out the old to-do list. In fact, this is the worst possible time to remind yourself of all that you haven’t yet accomplished. Just allow yourself the freedom to dream of what is possible.
- Visualize and journal about what success feels like to you– Journaling has many benefits, but the main one I want to discuss today is the conceptualizing of your goals. Writing down what you want to achieve and even going further and allowing yourself to feel what achieving that goal feels like is an incredible boost to your subconscious mind. By making things happen in your mind, you create the room for them to happen in your life. Many people use fantasy on a daily basis, they just use it in the reverse of achieving their goals. They fantasize about failure, and about not getting what they want, then they fall into worry and ultimately attract what they are afraid of creating. Since your subconscious mind does not know the difference between fantasy and reality ( think about the fact that you can orgasm based on an image in your mind,) then you might as well use it to get what you want. The process of journaling is very simple, visualize what you want and see it happening, put as much detail into the daydream as possible and capture the feelings you get when you see it in your mind, then capture the feeling on paper. Do you feel surreal? Is your hair standing on end or your skin prickling? Are your palms sweating as you go to shake your ideal client’s hand? Do you feel nauseous from excitement? Whatever you imagine, write it in your journal as if it is happening and write what you feel. Write in the present tense and celebrate in the way you would, had it just happened. If this seems like a foolish exercise to you, check out this article on LinkedIn about why successful people keep journals.
- Revisit Your Why– Frustrations brought on by failure can send you into a downward spiral that has you back on Monster.com trying to see if your old job is up for grabs. Before you return the corporate rat race, to sit in your cubicle and cry into your cold coffee in between meetings, stop for a second to focus on your true desire behind becoming an entrepreneur in the first place. Did you want to teach your children about grace under pressure? Or did you want the freedom of not having to drag yourself out of bed to go deal with office politics? Did you just hit your limit when it came to commuting and knew you could not spend another day driving 3 hours to and from work? Or were you tired of missing out on all the important family activities? Maybe it was that you just wanted the freedom to create the things you love and work with people who value what you created. Whatever it was, go back to what led you to entrepreneurship in the first place. Take your focus off the financial gain or lack thereof for a few minutes and focus on the other benefits you have gained so far. Has your toddler developed a routine that involves you putting her down for her nap? Do you get to take a leisurely walk with your fur babies around the city each day? Have you been able to wake up at your preferred time, without the anvil of the day’s work pressing on your chest as you rush around trying to get to the office on time? Often we forget the reasons we made the decision to switch to entrepreneurship when the earnings falter and romanticize the guaranteed paycheck we received from our jobs at the detriment of our health and relationships. Take the finances out of the picture and focus on what you are grateful for in your business. You will notice a shift in your perspective that allows you to have more fun, be more approachable and even be able to create the content that speaks to your customers and attract them to your business.
Being the person who is solely responsible for bringing home the bacon in your business is no easy task. And when the tactics you have been trying seem to be taking longer than everyone else or just seem to be failing, you might be tempted to throw the whole business way. Before you do that think of the story of perseverance shared by Napoleon Hill in the popular book Think and Grow Rich. It’s the tale of the gold miner R.U. Harby, who gave up 3 feet from gold. The story goes, Harby’s uncle had caught the gold fever in the time of the gold rush and started digging. After striking a vein of ore, the family dug and had a prosperous few months. But then ran out of the natural resource after a while. They continued digging for a bit but found nothing and in frustration sold their equipment to a local junk man for chump change. The local junk man, wise and patient, decided to seek the counsel of a professional and called in a mining engineer. After surveying the area, the engineer found that there was indeed a vein of gold just three feet away from where Harby and his uncle had given up. The junk man went on to make millions from the very thing someone else had given up on.
The moral of the story above is if you feel like giving up, do everything in your power to ensure you have done your best. Seek professional help to clarify what you are missing. Work on your processes to ensure what you offer is clear and learn what you need to learn to improve your confidence, so you no longer feel undervalued. But, most of all, work on strengthening your mindset through the practices described above and believe that you are going to make it, even if you have to take on a few side jobs waitressing until you do. If you have done all that you believe is within your power, and you still need help with your mindset training, click here to join my mailing list where I share tips to help business builders maintain a positive outlook, as well as videos and how-tos to help you improve your content and brand to attract more customers.