One of my clients was crying this week because her chronic illness keeps knocking her down and she can’t accomplish the goals that she set for herself. Another amazing woman in my community was upset because her kids are home from the summer and her routine has gone out the window. Marriage difficulties, surgery, financial problems, aging parents – these are just some of the many obstacles that entrepreneurs face.
No matter how successful we are, there will always be difficulty, uncertainty and change. We will lose control of time, energy and attention. We will struggle to create the structure and boundaries that we need to keep our business moving forward. We will fail to meet expectations and succumb to overwhelm or self-criticism – that’s a normal part of the entrepreneur experience. Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to revealing our struggle. Rather than showing vulnerability, we often pretend like “everything is fine” because we were taught to “fake it till you make it.”
It’s important to talk about the rough patches. Revealing your struggle not only serves your personal growth but it releases the resistance to pain and opens the space for you to receive the support that you need. In my own business and life, I do these 3 things to get back up when life knocks me down:
1) I stop and listen to my body. I ask myself: What do you need right now? Do you need to rest? Do you need to move? Do you need to call a friend and talk? I usually get the answer within a few seconds. I try to meet the need as soon as possible so that I can quickly get back to balance.
2) I get help. Sometimes I need my fitness coach to remind me of my strength. Sometimes I need my energy healer to encourage me to let go of toxic emotions. Sometimes I need my friends to distract me with laughter and fun. There is no one way to overcome struggle – it's whatever works best in the moment.
3) I let go. I give up the plan that I had which included a long list of daily to-do’s and ongoing accomplishments. I recognize that those things are not going to get done and stressing about it is only going to make it worse. I use the ‘down time’ to go deeper into introspection and self-healing.
If you learn to see the struggle as well as the success as a gift, the whole experience of being in business for yourself is going to be a lot easier. If you recognize that you are not the only one who is having a hard time, you will feel a lot less crazy. You are not alone and you don’t have to struggle in silence; there are many people like me who are happy to listen and support you. All you have to do is ask!