If you’ve just set up your own business, you’re probably familiar with the annoyance of some days just feeling like they are going nowhere no matter how hard you try?
In many ways, it was easy for me to write a post telling you how loneliness is your biggest challenge when you set out on the journey of starting a new business. However it was quite douchey of me not to actually write content that was useful as well as inspirational, so here are my 9 tips on how to deal with your startup blues.
1. Acceptance is the Answer
Life as an entrepreneur is often more unpredictable than a 9-to-5 job. This should go without saying but when you’re experiencing down times; it’s easy to forget that another up is probably right around the corner. Your highs are going to be higher and your lows lower than most – once you accept this, it gets easier.
2. Change Your Perspective
Psychologist Carol Dweck demonstrated that those who are in a growth mindset don’t mind failure because they view it as an opportunity to learn. If you’re following opposite thinking – Dweck calls that a fixed mindset – then you see failure as an insult. Flip the script!
If you have a minute, have a watch.
3. Always Keep Moving
Sitting around and brooding about a setback only makes it worse. If you’re having a rough time, make sure your day is full of activities. Take exploratory meetings, do that paperwork you’ve been putting off, make tweaks to your product, cold call some new potential clients and catch up with old contacts over coffee. There’s always plenty to do when you’re a startup, so finding something shouldn’t be an issue unless you make it one.
4. Retain a Sense of Humor
It can be very difficult at times to find something funny about a challenging situation. The trick is to go back to point number two and change your perspective. Ask yourself “What could be funny about this?” If you find the answer, it’s often quite liberating.
5. Prevent a Burnout
Your startup is important – very important. Naturally, when turbulence hits, we throw ourselves deeper into the business to get through it. This can result in a burnout and jeopardize much of what is at stake – take a break!
Spend some time with your family. Go for a run, read a book, go see a film or enjoy a good meal. I know it seems like this is time wasted, after all you can relax once its successful right? Wrong! This isn’t wasted time; it’s vital time that acts to prevent fatigue.
6. Meditate for 10 Minutes Daily
Usually the thing that’s getting you down isn’t the situation, but your thoughts about it. Take 10 minutes a day to meditate, and you’ll see that you have some control over your thoughts. This will help you with your reaction to life’s challenges throughout the day. The benefits of meditation on stress levels are well proven, including a 2014 study that found meditation effective in reducing anxiety.
7. Build a Strong Support Network
The dangers of not having a strong support network are obvious. When a person feels that they have no one to rely on, they are more likely to complain about feeling fatigued, overwhelmed, nervous or anxious. While you may feel like you’re out there alone, you’re not.
Seek out entrepreneurs who have gone through similar experiences. Everyone benefits from social and emotional support, and though it may seem counterintuitive, having strong social support can actually make you more able to cope with problems on your own.
8. Stay Focused
It may not feel like it but setbacks can distract you from your goals and take your focus off what is key. Even if you have to force yourself, remain focused on your goals in the face of the challenge – it will definitely help you power through the rough patches. If you must, meditate on and repeat your goals out loud. Doing so can reinforce a powerful sense of focus on these goals.
As Henry Ford once said:
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t. You’re right.”
9. Learn From Your Mistakes
As painful as this can be, it’s helpful to have a post-mortem and look at what went wrong. The story of Steve Jobs is a good example of someone learning from his mistakes.
Jobs got booted from the company he founded – Apple – and his next venture, NeXT, was a failure. Those experiences helped him return to Apple in 1997 as a wiser leader, one who had tempered his early brashness with humility and appreciation for others’ talents.
Will doing these things help you when you’re having a tough day? Sure. Will they help you in the long run? Definitely. However, there’s a reason that acceptance comes first. There are days when nothing seems to help, but if you know these days will happen, then you’ll also know that they won’t last. Enjoy the ride through startup land.
Lastly I will leave you with these words by Mahatma Gandhi:
“Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph: a beginning, a struggle and a victory.”