I often speak to entrepreneurs who are starting to bring their businesses, products, and ideas to fruition. They always start with lots of passion and creativity combined with fear and trepidation, what if this fails? And that fear can become an extra motivator that can lead to a tremendous amount of stress and exhaustion, living under the delusion that you don’t have time to take a break.
So you end up feeling overwhelmed and depleted. It somehow goes with the entrepreneurial territory. I hear so many people say, “I am running on empty. I can’t stop. I don’t have time to even think, let alone find quality time for family, friends, and myself.”
So how do you reverse these patterns that are not going to be supportive of building a successful business, and how do you take care of yourself while you are building your business? How do you replace these feelings of entrepreneurial burnout with a sense of calm, confidence, and trust in yourself? How do you deal with the ups and downs of building a business? And what happens as you are about to raise additional funds and you are met with rejection? How do you stay the course, while keeping your vision and yourself intact?
Some of the greatest wisdoms I learned about how to deal with the pressure of creating a project was during a period in my life when I was producing a six-hour television series for HBO called “The Gods of Greece.” I had raised the seed money and HBO was funding some of the project but it was up to me to raise a few extra million dollars. I had produced an amazing script and I was super excited to embark on raising the money with absolute reassurance that it was going to be easily available. I was extremely driven and I met with countless Greek investors, but to my absolute surprise, none of them were coming through. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I was told, “We love it, but this is not the right timing for us.” I reached a level of discouragement equivalent to Persephone in the Underworld. I had identified myself so closely with this project that when people would ask me, “How are you?” I would answer “‘The Gods of Greece’ funds are not coming through.” There was no separation between me and my project. I needed to back off, regroup, and find my center again. Here are some of the tools that I use as I am embarking on new projects so that my brain can stay clear, focused, and energized. That way, I perform from a higher state of creation and inspiration.
1- Learn to build a distance between who you are and what you do.
Your projects, your endeavors, and your business are always going to go through ups and downs — but you can stay steady. Creating that distance, and not living and dying by the success of your business is going to be the most supportive thing to enjoying the process and staying creative and recharged.
2- Develop a daily practice that brings you to your place of calm, to your center, and to your wisdom.
We all have a greater place in us that resides in our brain, in our heart, and in our spirit. That is your Higher Self. It’s what many great spiritual teachers have called the “knower in you.” Cultivate that part of you and build its muscle — until it becomes so solid that it is the captain of your ship. That way, when you are met with stormy weather it knows how to handle it by adjusting the sails and keeping the course.
3- Keep a very clear vision of where you are heading and visualize an ideal scene of the success you are going to have ten years from now.
Visualize all the things you did to get that success, and think of all the people who came to your aid. This is a creative visualization of your successful future outcome. It might not seem real right now, but your brain doesn’t always know the difference between reality and what you’ve imagined. Write this vision out in great detail, picture it in your mind’s eye, and then start to take the necessary action steps, and you will start to see how it gradually materializes. That way you are giving a directive to your brain to create the success you want.
4- Check in with yourself regularly.
At the end of every day, make a checklist assessing if you have been present in everything that you did. So often, we go on automatic, and we go from one thing to the next, forgetting to eat, cutting down on our sleep, exercise, and the very things that replenish us. One simple thing is to remember to take deep breaths throughout the day and exhale as you go about your day. Even one conscious breath can reboot your brain.
5- Practice these four magic words: “Can you help me?”
When you are feeling stuck, afraid, and not clear about the next step, find mentors and people who you trust to reach out to. Once you find them, be courageous in asking for help. Asking for help does not diminish you and shouldn’t make you feel weak. The ability to ask for assistance represents courage and high self-esteem.
6- Practice six magic words: “What can I do for you?”
Don’t ever lose sight that your gift and your support can also contribute substantially to other people’s growth, well-being, and work. Let those people find you, and seek to find them, because the quickest way to feel empowered is to be able to offer what we have to someone else, making their lives a little easier and helping them feel more supported.
7- No matter what happens in the day, always go to bed feeling grateful for the things that happened, and appreciate yourself for all you did.
Write them down, or express them verbally, and always go to sleep with your heart full of gratitude. Remember that in the last five minutes before you go to sleep, you are actually programming your subconscious with how you want to feel the next day and what you want to create. Never go to bed thinking of what hasn’t been done and what went wrong; instead, focus on all the positives.
It’s very important to keep the channels of communication open to yourself. If you are feeling pressured, insecure, fearful, deprived, or left out, let yourself communicate that to you. This way, you will be voicing all your feelings and airing them out, so they won’t rob you of your energy. Find the self-love and the safe space in you to process your emotions as they come up and not judge them, but make them okay. Practice self-compassion, so that your joy will be alive in the process of creating your life and your business. This is ultimately the ingredient that catches and ignites other people.
Underneath every successful businessman and businesswoman is enthusiasm: That is the driving force. Don’t ever lose your enthusiasm.
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