How do you stay positive?
A client and I were discussing the ups and downs of running a business, and how generally speaking, entrepreneurs need to be a resilient bunch to deal with the things that get thrown at them. I am curious; what are the ways you stay positive in an off month, and/or stick with it when the going gets tough?
To be and stay positive in life and in my work , several conditions must be met. I must first of all pay attention to my health and my well-being by making a lot of sport and physical activities , have a healthy and light diet, and surround myself with positive people .
When these three conditions are met , we can stayed focused longer and work more efficiently . The efficiency and environment gives you the energy to move farther, faster and stronger.
I have found that one of the most helpful things was to start writing down 5 things I'm thankful for every day. These things can be personal or business related. Writing down what I'm thankful for has helped me to keep a positive outlook, regardless of negatives that may come my way. I also remind myself of why I'm doing what I'm doing. Keep your focus!
This is something that I run workshops on and also coach my private clients in this area. Looking specifically at the points you raise here though, I would say that taking care of yourself and having a good balance is vital to maintaining your emotional and physical wellbeing. When things get tough or you are having an 'off month' as you say, then taking some time to revisit the reasons you are doing this, and focusing on what it means to you, will help. It can be difficult during challenging times I know, but I does help to be able to stop and take stock of the current situation, and then use this awareness to choose your next step. From a personal point of view, I find that getting out for a walk in nature helps me to reset and refocus. Good luck.
I think you have to take a breath, acknowledge that there will be peaks and troughs and that, during the troughs, you have the chance to work on your business. Take this time to create a selection of blogs, or create your next 6 months of e-newsletters and schedule them.
Go to networking meetings and connect with others. These are just a few things I have to do to ensure I remain positive.
When you are own boss there a lot of emotional highs and lows. For me staying positive means creating new ideas to grow the business. From time to time. you have to give yourself a break and just treat yourself to something.
I recently dedicated myself to meditating every morning. Not asking for anything from anyone when I do. I just clear my mind and have found that this reduces the stress of everything I have going on immensely and when I don't do it, I can physically feel the difference.
My personal opinion and as a certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach who does business and social media marketing consulting. I see clients go through their ups and downs in their life as well in their businesses. I completely understand from being in business myself since 2001.
First I advise the people I'm working with that they have to have an over arching dream for their business. It has to be larger then just making money. This way when times gets tough, which they will. They can re focus on the bigger picture to keep them moving forward.
Second, they need to look after themselves
- Healthy relationships
- Have people they trust to vent, mastermind with and be able to share what is going on in their lives.
- Work life balance
I remind them that they are their business. They are the driving force and need to take care of themselves. If they get burnt out, get upset/frustrated it will effect their business.
if they need to take a weekend off, do it to recharge and get back on their journey of growing their business.
That is my 2 cents
I think building and maintaining solid support networks is essential. We all have times when it can seem like we're fighting an uphill struggle, but I think the trick is to slow down, to be mindful of the negative self-talk that we can all too easily slip into, and then reframe the thinking - eg "No one is taking my calls today' becomes "I have worked really hard, am laying the groundwork and will vary my approach to help myself stay energised and positive". In this example, simply taking a 10-minute break, getting fresh air, having a quick walk, or doing some breathing and mindfulness, can help to break the negative mindset.
Isolation can be an issue too for business owners, so finding a positive networking group and scheduling both work and social activities to keep a healthy work-life balance is essential.
Staying positive (as with managing stress) is, I think, about managing it daily. It's not rocket science, but it's all too easy to go on work autopilot and forget the basics we need to function and thrive. So, getting proper rest, sleep and eating regularly - although it sounds obvious- is essential. I see a lot of clients who get stuck thinking they must keep going, keep working longer and harder to get results when all too often, they just put in longer, but less effective, hours and simply burn-out.
Having a work mentor, coach or buddy to help give us perspective, act as a sounding board or simply provide a listening ear is great too.
Revisiting our goals to ensure they are realistic and looking at our time management which usually slips when we become negative, can help too, as can writing down our skills, experience, accomplishments and successes (however small) so we can celebrate all the positive things we have, and are, achieving.
The trick is to schedule power breaks throughout the day. Respect you own time as you would a client or friend. Put yourself in your diary (and if you have to re-schedule, do- and if you keep re-scheduling, ask yourself why? Why would you expect to be able to deliver results for your clients if you are not respecting your own needs?)
Engaging on social media sites like this, plus groups and forums and even making a good old fashioned phone call to a friend for a 5-minute chat, all help.
And finally, doing simple things that give us joy and make us laugh (walking in nature, watching a comedy show or movie, visiting family, seeing a good friend, painting, drawing, reading, sport, dancing, mindfulness etc) all help to preserve balance, perspective and...sanity!
I make positive affirmations and tell myself that things will get better. I also continuously work to improve my knowledge and ways to gain competitive advantage to attract the right clients. Finally, I am a Faith person, I pray and meditate.
Reflecting on the results so far and focusing on the vision gets my clients up and running, no matter what punch they had to take a day before. Focusing on the areas/people/decisions that were made well/went well, is key to keeping sane and making sure that no hasty decisions are being made out of a bad mood/ challenging situation.
I also found that entrepreneurs who spend time with other, driven entrepreneurs, are more resilient - simply because it is rare that two or three people go through tough biz times at exactly the same time - so there is always someone around who understands and is able to act as sounding board, decision maker and/or to lift the spirit.
It is a mixture of positive and practical. If you focus all the time on happy trippy thoughts and ignore the practical you will struggle. If you focus on the negative and worst case scene and ignore the positive in the practical side, you will worry yourself into a hole.
So if you go into a meeting with a client for a big sale and you are positive you can deliver on the practicals of the deal, this will show in your body language. If you go in negative and worrying about how you will deliver, your body language will show this too. Boils down to being aware and being in the present.
The first thing that came to mind was "I drink...a lot" but realized that is probably not the answer that you are looking for. If you got into business for a reason, something you are passionate about then you never really think about the possibility of doing anything else. I stick to it for a few reasons, some of them silly like I really hate working for other people, some better like i really enjoy what i do (most of the time) but the real driving force is I have a dream, and no amount of adversity will kill that dream. Once you figure out why you want to do a thing, the how is easy. Always have a goal for your business and do not lose sight of that goal, then make sure that every day you make some progress toward that goal (even if that progress is minimizing a set back). Since one of my coping mechanisms is to be a comedian, when we have a setback and after I finish yelling and throwing things (better to let it out than hold it in) I usually motivate the team with bad movie quotes and a promise that tomorrow we will pull it together. One thing I learned being in the field as a salesperson, never stop to celebrate a good day, keep going when you are on that high, and when it's a bad day quit early, go unwind and try again tomorrow. In the end, my words of wisdom are some days you should just give up (for the day) so that you can excel on the good days, and drink...a lot.
One of the best ways to stay positive in an off month, and/or stick with it when the going gets tough is to adopt a positive mental attitude (PMA) which in turn provides inner strength and resilience. Turn unpleasant circumstances into opportunities for positive action and growth. Shrink your problems, and try to avoid pondering on everything negative. Remove anxiety and fear from your mind is to replace it with PMA. Stay optimistic and confident. See the opportunity in every obstacle, problem and doubt. Retain and recall all the successes, triumphs and positive moments you have experienced, however small they may be. With a PMA you will be able to cope with whatever life and circumstances may throw at you.
If you want more of the sound advice, check out my blog postings at http://kintuefee.wordpress.com
Remind yourself of all the great reasons you started doing what you are doing. Also, if you have taken the time to develop a business road map, you can be comfortable if you are following it (because there are bumps in every road). By a toad map I mean defining your personal objectives, then define what your business needs to look like to get there, and then determine the necessary strategies and action items (all the way back to the current time) and follow them religiously -- until you formally rethink it and decide to change it. A coach, to hold you accountable for following that path regardless of outcomes, really helps.
For the record, I'm not an expert on any subject. Views and perspectives I share are bold, down to earth, from personal experience. Life is a mixture of positive and negative. So am I. Having a clear vision of what you want to accomplish is a way to maintain a positive outlook. However, feeling down and discouraged when things don't seem to be working out, is only natural to feel negative.
Nature doesn't hurry, yet everything falls into place at the right moment and time.
I wrote several articles in my moments of despair and distress to share my experience with others. Some wait till '$¥€€£€$$' is achieved -if achieved- and make a success story look like a fairy tale. I attained un-'official' degrees as PHD, MBA, BSC, MSC at life's university of adversity. Hope I've been of help. All the best. Stay Positive! :-)
I was discussing with a client who need to look for $500k with 2 days to pay off a loan but the company was in negative cash flow and foreseeable cash in within 2 weeks are about $300k.
My client was panic, so was I. Can staying positive solve the problem? I am doubtful!
What I had done was to keep the discussion environment serene and consistently detached worries from facts so as to have clear & calm minds for all parties.
Next, I mapped up the situations and develop with options for what if testing. During the process I brought many problem solving techniques & philosophical values (when down times, these help clients to aglin business goals and life goals).
Not surprisingly, we resolve the problem, I.e. we got the solution to for the cash flow problem.
Thus, I am not a person who adovcate in positive thinking, I am a strong believer in critical thinking and pragmatic mindset where a person with such quality will have a calm, clear, and non-confuse mind. He/ she will not get excited too much nor panic too much, in fact, not easily affected emotionally.
Although in any situation, positive thinking will push a person to move forward fast, but over optimistic will be the blind spot that over looked.
I have to say that I'm not part of the cult of positivity. While I generally have a positive outlook, sometimes the negative is way more helpful. As you put it, running a business has its ups and downs. Also, if you're constantly trying to remain positive, when things don't go exactly as planned, you could end up in a worse spot (or end up completely ignoring things because you're trying to "be positive"). Thinking of worst case scenarios, things that can go wrong, and anything generally thought of as negative can help you be prepared for those ups and downs. Be realistic, don't force trying to be positive all the time, and be ready to accept change and take appropriate actions.
Also, here's a couple great articles on the topic:
I don't. I let me self rant and rage and cry. Then I remember the alternatives, the downside of not having this sort of freedom. Then I smile, buckle my sword back on, and go at it again.
Presently, I've developed a strategy of having a day job (3 days a week) and a business. Creative freedom and a paycheck has been a good solution. When I'm in entrepreneur only mode: see the first paragraph.