Here are seven tips to help you manage the ever-changing emotions of entrepreneurship.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The classic book, A Tale of Two Cities, opens with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In the life of an entrepreneur, I would add, “It’s the best of times and the worst of times at the same time all the time.”
One of the harshest and most challenging realities of being an entrepreneur is dealing with conflicting events and emotions that change constantly and rapidly. One minute you’re a superstar. The next minute you’re a loser. You land a great deal, only to be followed up by losing a client. A short-term win when money comes in is followed by feeling like more money is going out.
It can feel like life on steroids for how rapidly things change when you’re an entrepreneur. Here are some ways to handle the ever-changing, fast-paced emotions of entrepreneurship so that you don’t get thrown off course.
1. Accept this as being the reality of entrepreneurship.
One of the most difficult challenges we face is resistance. If you resist this being the unspoken reality of being an entrepreneur, you’re only going to make it harder on yourself. It magnifies the challenges and minimizes the wins.
2. Build a smaller bucket.
The bigger bucket you throw all the experiences in, the more it adds up. If you look at it as a difficult time in life, a challenging year, a bad week, or even a bad day, you’re putting a lot of good and bad in the same bucket. And guess what will stand out the most? The bad.
Break it down into smaller buckets of time. This hour may have been challenging, or that client might have been difficult. But the next hour and the next client might be awesome! Be ready to acknowledge the challenge and celebrate the win and move on.
3. Return to home base.
The most important reason to have solid daily habits is to create consistent mindsets. If you meditate daily, recite affirmations, journal or go for a run, you establish a state of mind that you can always go back to when needed. If something comes along that could derail you, return to that which brings you home. A mantra, affirmation, visualization, breath work or any other practice.
4. Find what grounds you.
This is unique for all of us. Just like we can’t assume everyone refuels the same way, pay attention to what grounds you when you get hit from the side. Maybe you need to vent and be done with it. Or perhaps you need to be alone. If you’re a visual person, is there something that reminds you of what you’re working towards? If you’re driven by numbers, perhaps it’s revisiting your financial goals. Arm yourself with tools to win the battle of constantly changing circumstances.
5. Share the experience.
All too often, we think we’re the only ones going through something or facing this quick swing of the pendulum between the best of times and worst of times. You are not alone. A quick call to a friend or peer can help tremendously. Have a support group to share the experience or a therapist on speed dial. Whatever it takes, sharing the contrasting experiences with someone can bring out the ridiculousness of this reality we live in as entrepreneurs to where you might actually find some humor in it.
6. Maintain boundaries.
If you know you need to maintain a certain state of mind for a period of time and want to prevent anything from interrupting you or potentially derailing you, put some boundaries up. Shut off your email, social media, ask not to be interrupted or being sure no one is around who might contradict the state of mind you need to be in. You can put some boundaries up to ward off any sudden changes or influences.
7. Congratulate yourself.
The truth is, the more of the good and bad you are experiencing and the quicker it fluctuates, it’s an indicator you’re taking a lot of action. Not much is going to happen one way or another if you’re at home sitting on the couch. But when you’re out in the world doing big things, the more swings you’re going to experience and at a faster pace.
Entrepreneurship is often the best of times and the worst of times at the same time all the time. Chances are you wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re likely in it for the long haul, so you don’t want to let these crazy and frequent fluctuations derail you. Any or all of these seven tips should help you stay the course.