Thinking Holistically

Navigating the Emotional Rollercoaster of Starting a Business

If you’ve ever taken the leap of starting your own business, you’ve likely experienced an emotional rollercoaster. Your business seems like it’s going well, and you’re on a high one moment. Then, you encounter a setback, and you feel low the next moment.  And, this shift can occur in a matter of minutes or hours! Experiencing the intensity of these swings can take a significant psychological and physical toll on us, and impact the lives of others we care about. So this week, we’re sharing some advice to help you navigate the ups and downs in your entrepreneurial journey.

Listen to Your Insecurities

There are countless online articles teaching entrepreneurs how to “fake it until you make it.”  This advice suggests you put aside your fears, doubts, and anxieties, and pretend to be confident and successful until you internalize that as your truth. But, confidence and success don’t come from pretending. Burying those insecurities and putting up that front is hard work, and it can cause more stress, isolate you, and prevent you from making sound business decisions. Also, those insecurities are a growth edge and are needed to push you towards what you can be. Instead, listen to your insecurities, identify ways to act on them and make changes, and take little steps to build confidence. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.

Reframe Failure

Because we have so much of ourselves wrapped up in building our businesses, any business failure or setback can feel like a personal failure. Instead of beating yourself up over the setback, try looking at it from a different perspective. Life is a constant process of failing and succeeding.  When we learn to walk as babies, we fall down and try again. Starting a business is no different. Consider the setback as a learning opportunity. You’ve now gathered more data on your business and can use that data to make a more informed decision about your next steps.

Ask for Support

Many entrepreneurs have difficulty asking for support. We’ve been led to believe that entrepreneurs are self-reliant. We think asking for help is a sign of weakness. We don’t want to inconvenience other people. We don’t want to be indebted to someone else. Or, we don’t know what to ask. However, reaching out for support can greatly increase the chances of a business’ success. By connecting with and asking for support from family, friends, co-workers, advisors, and other community members, you can reduce stress from the highs and lows, energize new thinking around your business strategy, cultivate partnerships, and find more opportunities to grow your business.

Set Boundaries

The current state of work lends itself to the perception that we need to be available for our business all the time. This is often amplified when we experience low points in sales and are scrambling to find new customers. We might think we need to have a presence on social media all day long.  Or, we need to drop everything and attend to every customer request that comes in.  We may even take on customers or partners who aren’t aligned with our values. This can produce a lot of anxiety. It can prevent you from doing work necessary to develop your business in a sustainable way. And, the amount of time and energy you are expending can have a negative impact on your loved ones and other parts of your life. As such, it’s essential to set boundaries that guard your time and energy.

Practice Self-Care

In the early stages, your business doesn’t happen without you. And if you aren’t taking care of yourself, it might not happen. Self-care sets you up to handle the demands of growing your business. A daily self-care practice will help you reduce stress levels, and improve clarity, focus, productivity and creativity in your business. In addition to getting enough sleep and proper nutrition, consider creating a self-care plan. Start by identifying the activities that help you maintain your physical, mental, and emotional health. Then, look at how you can work those activities into your schedule. And try to practice consistently so it becomes a routine.