Every entrepreneur faces the same types of challenges.
- Trying to hire great people
- Unfortunately having to fire people
- Maintaining positive, healthy relationships with clients
- Managing workloads
- Juggling business development with the work of the business
- Managing cash flow
And on and on.
As an entrepreneur and business owner for more than 15 years, I have learned how important it is to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs. Building a business isn’t easy, and sometimes what you need more than anything is to be surrounded by people who understand the things you’re going through. People you can lean on, ask questions, and who will be there to lift you up when times get tough.
I have a friend who is three years into building her business, and recently we were having one of those “pep talks.” And I found myself telling her many of the things I often tell myself (which, in turn, also made me feel better!)
After years of ups and downs and learning lessons the hard way, I’ve developed a “mental toolkit” of reminders to tap into when things aren’t going as planned (or desired). These tools help us acknowledge the difficulties we’re facing and then move ourselves back into the driver’s seat.
Each of us has the ability to get ourselves back on track with a little self-pep-talk.
Pep Talk Point #1: Entrepreneurship is not easy! Be proud of yourself for starting a business and sticking with it.
Pat yourself on the back for a second.
What you are doing is hard, and it’s important to acknowledge that.
And, it’s completely okay to feel frustrated or worn out, or even demoralized. As entrepreneurs, we opted not to settle for “the easy path.” We decided to go out on our own to try to build something unique, different, and meaningful in the world.
The fact that it’s challenging is actually part of the reward.
Pep Talk Point #2: Every day, every minute, you’re choosing this path. (And at any time, you can choose a change.)
You chose this path.
You chose it when you started your business and each and every day, you’re choosing it again.
And if you decide the path isn’t for you, there are plenty of opportunities in the world for you to work with or support someone else’s vision.
Sometimes, the best reframe you can give yourself is:
- I’m choosing these clients
- I’m choosing these opportunities
- I’m choosing to take on this level of responsibility
- I’m choosing to wake up this morning and create my day this way
Acknowledging these things helps you remember you have authority over yourself and your situation. And that you’re consciously choosing your situation. And you can consciously change it!
Pep Talk Point #3: Humans are unpredictable. Compassion is key.
People working with people will always create challenges. No two humans see things the same way.
Whether it’s conflicting points of view, expectations, or personalities, you cannot expect every interaction to be perfect. Which means you need to embrace this challenge of unpredictability and reframe your experience from being a victim to being a facilitator and a leader — because the truth is, you’re always going to be working with humans.
Focus on understanding, listening, caring. Bring your compassion and empathy forward, especially in the harder moments.
Pep Talk Point #4: Every challenge is a learning opportunity.
Entrepreneurship is all about learning from your mistakes, every single day.
When you screw something up, what’s really happening is you’re being given the opportunity to learn something and potentially avoid a much bigger problem down the line. I am a firm believer that issues grow and grow and grow until you address them, so every time something goes wrong, it’s an opportunity to make a shift or change so you don’t make that same mistake again.
Accept the fact that something went wrong, and figure out on the how and why and focus your energy on solving it for the future.
Pep Talk Point #5: Take responsibility. It feels good!
When you’re the boss, everything comes down on you for better or worse. The sooner you realize this, the better life will be for you.
I never realized the extent to which saying “I’m sorry” (and meaning it) and truly owning mistakes can actually be a good thing.
Those “I’m sorry” moments — whether you’re taking responsibility for something you did directly or something that might have been a result of someone else’s actions — are opportunities to build relationships, both internally and externally.
Taking responsibility is a reminder to you, your team, your clients, that you’ve “got this” even when mistakes happen.
Because guess what… mistakes do happen and that’s ok! It’s how we learn from them that matters.
Pep Talk Point #6: You’re always going to be harder on yourself than everyone else.
One of the challenges in running a business is that you can’t help but feel emotionally attached to it.
It’s yours. You built it from scratch.
So when something goes wrong, it’s hard not to internalize it and feel like it wasn’t just a mistake in your business, but a mistake within yourself. It’s hard not to take things personally, or feel like you’re “bad.”
It’s important to always remember that you will never be perfect. Nothing makes that more clear than running a business! Use the reflection of these experiences to grow and expand.