Do you ever feel frustrated with your business? Resent it a little because it feels like one crisis after another?
I remember when frustration was the primary feeling I had when thinking about my company. I would feel this way every time I focused on what I didn’t want and didn’t like about my business.
The more I dwelled on problems, the more problems I found. I remember feeling like I was a hostage to my business. I wasn’t literally trapped; I just thought I was.
If you feel stuck in your business and if it seems like problems consume every waking moment of your life, I get it. But have you stopped to consider why you choose to feel that way? After all, you created the business, it’s not some monster out to get you.
Feelings of resentment and frustration affect us in ways that diminish us. These negative feelings reduce our capacity for problem solving and in the end don’t help us get the results we want. The funny thing is, when we feel frustration – WE are the one experiencing it! Our “business” doesn’t feel our frustration and our staff doesn’t either.
My team has their own thoughts and feelings about my behavior and how I communicate, but the only person feeling the physical effects of my frustration is me! The good news is feelings are caused by our thoughts and we can decide what we want to think. Which means we can decide how we want to feel.
In my case, after years of drama in my company, I thought the solution to my frustration was to sell it—to escape it permanently. My coach at the time said something that finally got through to me. She said, “Decide on purpose to love your business again.” She said I needed to change my perspective. If I resented my business so much that I wanted to get away from it as fast as possible, why would anyone else want to buy it?
That’s when I had the epiphany: I was in a relationship with my business, and like any relationship, it was reflecting back to me what I put into it. I was putting in stress, frustration, and even blame. So, of course, I was getting negative results!
Whenever I tried to double down by using willpower and grit, the increased intensity only made a bad situation worse.
It finally dawned on me. All the problems and frustrations with my business were pointing directly at the obstacles to overcome. In order to turn my business into an asset and to make it work for me, these obstacles were pointing the way.
Growing a business is kind of like a whitewater rafting trip. You’re slightly terrified because you know you’ll be facing rapids, but you’re determined to do it because it’s exciting. It’s a challenge.
The people watching from the riverbank think you’re crazy. After all, you’re risking life and limb for what? When it’s over, the river guide just drives you back to your car in the parking lot and you’re essentially where you started.
So why do it?
Because it’s an adventure, of course. We’re creating meaning, purpose, and joy in our lives. Most spectators are afraid to get in the river. They’re not up for the adventure and we can’t rely on them to make us feel good about our journey. They aren’t the ones creating meaning in our lives, we are.
As entrepreneurs, we choose the complexity and the artistry of navigating the rapids of business-building. If it was easy, anybody could do it. It’s grueling at times. We may get tossed from our raft and beaten up by the rocks. But it’s also exhilarating. It’s not about the destination. It’s about the meaning and purpose we derive from the journey. What we learn and who we become along the way. The value we add and the people we help.
When we begin looking at our thoughts objectively we can see that resentment is not just a waste of time, it’s illogical. After all, our business—our company—is not doing anything to us. It isn’t physically exerting pressure on us. It is our business. We own it, and can decide how we feel about it and what it means to us.
Often we are the ones responsible for creating the situations we perceive as a trap because our identity is wrapped up in the business. When something goes wrong, do you make it mean something about you? I know I did. This led me to overwork and overmanage. Here are the questions I ask myself these days when resentment or frustration starts to surface:
1. Why am I choosing to feel this way? -> This reminds me I have a choice.
2. What am I making this mean? -> The interpretation is up to me.
3. What else could this mean? -> There is always more than one perspective.
4. What am I learning and how can it help me? -> Keeps me focused on my goals.
Real freedom comes from managing your mind and deciding on the purpose to love your business again. Decide to believe you are on the adventure of your life.