As entrepreneurs (and that includes anyone who has ever started something new and brave and meaningful) we get frustrated sometimes. We get frustrated by the seemingly slow pace of our progress, repeated failures and lengthy delays in our entrepreneurial efforts.
However, to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to consciously balance out all the negative events. You have to counter negative thoughts that loom large and remain positive when operating your business or startup. Check out some basic things that can help you stay positive as an entrepreneur during those inevitable challenging times.
You had (or found a vision) when starting out that prompted you to choose to become an entrepreneur. Was your vision to help people in some way? To improve your own life and those of the people you care about? Or was it because you love what you do and are good at it? Whatever it is, remind yourself why you became an entrepreneur in the first place – your vision and mission. This can really help you put things in perspective and realize that you can’t allow some of the challenges or concerns you’re facing stop you.
Sometimes we don’t realize just how far we have come. Take some time to look back at your business and acknowledge your progress. It can be a huge motivating factor. If you’re able to see how far you’ve come and what's going well, it can encourage you to keep moving forward.
No matter what challenges arise, when you know how far you’ve come — you can be grateful. And when you are grateful, it helps your brain to remember and register the positive and good things in your life and business. This can help you balance out negative bias.
While social media is a great tool for growing your business, it can cause you to fall into the comparison trap if not checked. Take a break from social media if you find you are constantly using it to compare your progress to that of other entrepreneurs and businesses.
Seek out and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Talk and share your entrepreneurial experience with them. This can help you clear your mind, get things that are troubling you off your chest and draw needed inspiration. Entrepreneurs can really relate better than family and friends.
The more often you hear a message, the more likely you are to believe it. So, why not let that message you speak be positive? Pick two to three affirmations that represent your values and goals and repeat them to yourself, such as “I can handle whatever comes my way,” or “I'm getting better every day.” By repeating positive affirmations with conviction several times each day, you are training your brain to believe them. Over time, you'll start to internalize the affirmations and the positive attitude could follow.
Each time a negative thought comes to mind, picture it as separate from yourself. Imagine it as something you can observe and deconstruct. This will help you identify and challenge negative thoughts that are unfair and self-deprecating. For example, if your business doesn’t get the traction you hoped and a thought comes that tells you, "You’re a failure." Look at it objectively and you’ll realize that’s not true. You might have worked really hard but didn’t account for a quirk of the product, so you were disappointed. That, however, only means you can now try again with new information and succeed.
Just like talking to fellow entrepreneurs is important, talking to a business mentor (or two) is important. A mentor who has been there, done that can be invaluable. He or she can offer some much needed perspective, especially during business struggles.
Writing down what is happening in your business, as well as what you are feeling about it all can bring a soothing and healing effect. It can also put everything in perspective and enable you to discover correlations that help you come up with a better course of action going forward.
If you discover something isn’t working, change it or your approach on how you use it. Insanity, as the adage goes, is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Taking a different approach where necessary can improve your outlook and expectations.
If you need immediate motivation to change or improve yourself and others, try reading inspirational books and watching motivational videos. There are great stories out there about successful people who overcame great odds to succeed. Look at their stories and take it as proof that you too can succeed.
Studies have shown that lack of sleep for too long can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and depression. So get enough sleep each night (6-8 hrs). You’ll wake up each morning feeling refreshed, positive and ready to take on the world. Also consider taking a midday nap. A midday nap of even 10 minutes improves your cognitive function and decreases sleepiness and fatigue.
You work hard on a daily basis to grow your business, and have surly come a long way. Celebrate your progress in some way and reward yourself whenever you get things accomplished. It will help you to stay positive and motivated throughout the daily entrepreneurial grind.
Physical activity is an excellent stress-buster and it provides other benefits as well. Regular exercise helps the brain release endorphins, which can improve your mood and self image. Even short bursts of exercise a few times a week can make a big difference in helping you stay positive each day.
Take a break. Go for a walk. See the trees, the birds, some nature. A 20-minute stroll can increase blood flow to the brain and boost mood and creativity. Also spend quality time with close friends and family, and go for vacations, say, over a long weekend. When you take a break and allow yourself some down time, it can make you happier, more focused and more productive. You’ll also avoid exhaustion and burnout.
Image via shutterstock.com
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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