Business leaders often face doubt, uncertainty and fear, especially when it comes to life at work. When things go wrong at the office, for instance, it’s easy to imagine there could be a major impact on not only their own livelihood, but their entire team’s. Worries about “worst-case scenarios” can quickly pile up, leaving people feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained.
When you’re dealing with negative emotions, the best thing you can do is find a healthy and productive way to cope with them. That’s why we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
Doubt, fear and other negative emotions can damage the spirit, leaving you feeling uncertain, drained and wounded. Please discuss your preferred method for cope with these feelings, as well as touch on why it works.
Here’s what they said:
1. Reframe the Situation as an Opportunity for Growth
Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise: Even though you might be experiencing a setback, that doesn’t mean it can’t work to your advantage. Try reframing the negative emotion or situation you are experiencing into an empowering narrative, and you will see how powerful it can be for your mood and motivation. This shifts limiting beliefs into positive ones that ultimately fuel your growth.
2. Find and Rely On Your Support Network
Even in the workplace, it is important to have a network of personal relationships. Fostering an environment of support and understanding in the workplace can foster a workplace that helps people bounce back from a tough day. At some point it will happen to everyone, so knowing that there will be someone in the office to help pick you backup is a very reassuring feeling for your employees.
3. Make a Plan for Overcoming the Challenge
Fear and doubt are common emotions among entrepreneurs, because just about everything they do involves risk at some level. So first, understand that it’s part of the game. Next, transform the fear or doubt into more of a challenge, and map out a game plan for how you’ll overcome it and ultimately succeed. When you have a plan in place, the negative emotions tend to diminish.
4. Practice Gratitude
Being an entrepreneur can make your life and emotions a rollercoaster. One minute you close a huge deal and the next minute you are putting out an emergency fire. One easy way to combat negative feelings is to make a list of 50 things that you are grateful for each Sunday. It will remind you how lucky you are and get you out of a negative state of mind!
5. Do a Media Detox
The media we consume is just as important as the foods we eat. Notice the information that you are reading and watching on a daily basis. Is it negative? Does it make you feel insecure? One trick is to eliminate all media for a couple days to hear your own thoughts again. Then start introducing it back into your life one at a time, noticing how it makes you feel.
6. Think About What You Have to Look Forward To
The method that works for me is to have something to look forward to. I try to arrange scheduled vacations somewhere far away and make it a point to not bring any work with me during that time. I find that by not worrying about anything work-related even for just a couple of days helps out a lot. I come back to work fresh, reinvigorated and ready to work.
7. Take Some Time to Fully Assess the Situation
Entrepreneurship can be draining, exhausting and stressful. The best way that I work through exhaustion or negative feelings is by taking some time off (generally a day or two) to think about the situation, why I feel a certain way and how to resolve it. Reaching the core of problem provides clarity on how to resolve it.
Mindful meditation gives me the means to cope with just about any kind of negative emotion I encounter, and it even helps me steer away from them every once in a while. Meditation is known to reduce anxiety, doubt, fear and depression by giving the body the ability to balance its neurochemical system on its own. It helps me stay in the present and also improves critical thinking.
9. Imagine and Plan for the Worst
When negative emotions start creeping in — feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed — it can suck big time. My advice is to take your negative emotions for a game. Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? Where does the fear lead to? Once you answer that, pretend it happened and ask yourself, what do you do now? When you have a plan for the worst, not much can stop you.
10. Keep Learning
I’ve noticed that my self-doubt seems to go away the more I understand and deeply know a subject. Instead of ignoring your self-doubt, truly understand why you are feeling that way. If you feel like you don’t know enough to be successful in a role, start learning. Pick the top books on the subject, read and practice.
11. Understand the Balance and Set Expectations Accordingly
As an entrepreneur, the journey brings a mixture of the highest of highs (closed the round of financing) to the lowest of lows (lost the big account). Success and the ability to grow is based on your ability to balance both. You can’t have one without the other. So prepare yourself, and know that whatever today brings, expect the opposite tomorrow. Expectations can soften the blow.