Other days, nothing goes according to plan. It seems like their venture will never get off the ground, and that they have wasted time, money, and sanity.
These ups and downs are a normal part of being an entrepreneur. They say that the successful entrepreneur is not necessarily the smartest, but the one who picks themselves up and dusts themselves off after every fall. A pivot or two might also be in order.
To those entrepreneurs out there who are having a "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," or who struggle with one occasionally, I have the following advice.
Actively guard, protect, and build your happiness.
Not only do I provide consulting and coaching services to global entrepreneurs, business owners and change-makers, I am an entrepreneur myself. Since I work with many partners overseas, I routinely receive critical e-mails from another time-zone while sleeping. This morning I woke up to terrible news- that a considerable investment of my company’s time and money is being unduly compromised.
I am displeased, to say the very least. However, a strong state of mind is one of the strongest assets that an entrepreneur has, and it takes real effort and work to maintain. I decided that the day would simply have to turn around.
Over the course of the day, I walked five miles. Exercise helps a lot in keeping stress levels down. I also watched my diet carefully, getting lots of protein and treating myself to a healthy dinner out with my husband. I called my best friend and my mother to chat. I made sure I was super prepared for an afternoon meeting with a really interesting prospective client, and did my best to make sure it went well. And I believe that it did.
The universe did its part by delighting me with fun surprises, which I registered because I was actively looking for reasons to be happy. Walking to my meeting, I found out that just a couple of blocks from my home a new bakery will open, Simit + Smith. I am really excited about this! It is a Turkish bakery chain offering simits, the iconic Turkish bagel-like sesame seed encrusted morsel of happiness. I became obsessed with these during the three years I lived in Istanbul. Walking home from my meeting, I passed the World Bank InfoShop which had a clearance outdoors of its outstanding selection of global literature. I bought a couple of interesting books for only five dollars each.
Now, at the end of the day I have a pretty good idea of how to manage the business problem, and feel pretty happy generally even if the problem itself is not resolved yet.
Meditate on the fact that you are not your business.
One of the difficulties with being an entrepreneur is trying to keep some emotional distance from your business. You are not your business, especially if it is a limited liability corporation or otherwise incorporated. You should actively meditate on the fact that your business is a separate entity with a life of its own. Your sanity cannot afford for your emotions and confidence to rise and fall in lockstep with your business’s trials and tribulations.
Finally, when you are having a good day in terms of your business, take a moment to recognize it and take a mental snapshot of it. That way, when you are having a "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," you have recent positive memories to draw upon to bolster your confidence and courage to move forward.
Onwards and upwards, #Entrepreneur!
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Title inspired by the famous children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."