Some days are hard. Running a business is a marathon.

Things to remember when you are feeling a little down

Running a business is not easy. Whether you are offering online services and programmes, or you are a photographer or designer looking for clients, the competition is fierce, and it is not easy to constantly be seen by your ideal audience. Some days you wonder whether it is all worth it! I go through these wobbles too at times, like every self-employed person. I love my work, and I feel very driven to help other entrepreneurs succeed. But building a business takes time, practice and patience, and when you are a parent as well, life is full on. Today I am going to talk about the importance of doing the inner work.

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Self-doubt and the curse of comparing yourself to others

Some months you feel like you are flying. In the flow. Everything goes right! Clients are booking jobs, invoices are being paid on time, your online audience likes all of your posts, and new contacts are opening doors for you. And then…silence.

What’s going on? Did you mess up? Did you not have all the strategies in place? Are you not posting enough, or doing enough lives? Are your products not good enough? Uh-oh. Self-doubt creeps in like a motherfcker. You watch other people shine online in all their beautiful confidence, announcing their successful launches, new events or business ventures, and you feel like they nailed it – and you failed it.

We all go through it, and I do too. The best thing to do in such situations? Slow down. Breathe. And just allow the feelings to happen. They are just feelings, and they will pass. And is the story in your head really true?

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The happiness trap

So many of us are conditioned to push away our unhappy emotions. We are not allowed to feel sad, or insecure or frustrated, we should smile more, count our blessings, be positive all the time. Business coaches and self-help books all tell us to manifest success, work on our mindset, visualise our goals, and feel empowered. But the reality is, we are human. And human beings are emotional beings. We are not made of just happy hormones. It is normal to go through life with ups and downs, like the waves of the ocean.

Let’s just ride those waves, not swim against them. Pushing away the negative feelings will not make them disappear, they will just simmer under the surface. So let them be. And then let them go.

Do you remember many years ago you were dreaming of starting a business, or starting a family, or moving abroad? And where are you now? How many of the things in your life which you are now taking for granted, are the things you once dreamed about? You have probably achieved more than you realise. And learned on the way. You are doing better than you think you are.

So, when you feel down next time, and the self-doubt creeps in, grab a notebook and scribble down those feelings.

The steps below are a simplified example of how psychologists use cognitive behavioral therapy in patients who deal with anxiety or other issues.

Write down:

  1. Your current situation and anxious thoughts about it
  2. What your thinking bias is (such as catastrophic thinking)
  3. What the evidence for this story is
  4. What the evidence against it is
  5. The balanced conclusion. Is it still as bad as you thought at step 1?
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Take one simple step today

You can also work more practically, by looking at how you can move out of the catastrophic thought process, and instead come up with the next positive step you can take. We have the tendency to feel completely overwhelmed when we are sitting with our sadness, and feel like we are never going get where we want to be. Just keep it small. Put all of the overwhelming thoughts away right now.

  • If you are feeling down because nobody signed up for your event, what small step can you take to make it go better next time?
  • If you have not had any enquiries for a while, what is one simple thing you could do right now to increase your visibility and get your offer out in front of the right people?
  • If you are feeling confused about what you actually offer and what your audience wants from you, how can you try and find out?

Running your own business is a marathon, and we need to go with the flow. We try, and we tweak, and we try again, and we tweak some more. Acceptance is the key to keeping yourself sane. Don’t believe that your glamorous competitors are always sharing 100% of what is going on in their mind. Or whether they actually earn 10k a month. They too go through struggles and doubts, no matter how great they look on Instagram.

The fact that you are passionate and driven about your business, and that you are reading this post, means that you are serious about working on yourself, and that you are not afraid to deal with shit.

So thank yourself today for taking care of your inner you. That inner you is at least as important as all the gorgeous, valuable content that you will be posting again tomorrow.

Believe in yourself, because I believe in you.

Would you like to talk to me in person? Book a free call with me, and we can look at your situation together (it’s probably not as bad as you think!).
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