Starting a business can be chaotic. Here are some of my top reminders to help you ditch the frenzy when setting out on your road to entrepreneurship:
1. Take care of yourself. I know more than anyone that when your body is out-of-whack so is your work. While starting a business can often create a tendency to overwork due to the number of different tasks at hand, it’s important to keep in mind that ignoring your body risks shutting your business down all together.
Pay attention to your needs. Eat healthy, sleep well, exercise and have a little fun! While it may not always seem it in the short run, taking time for yourself will pay dividends in the long run. The path to owning a successful business is a marathon, not a sprint.
2. Practice getting excited, not stressed. If I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I make an effort to reframe my perspective. Will whatever I’m stressed about really matter tomorrow? Or a week from now?
A lot of times, the answer is “no”.
Daily stressors have a way of creeping up on us. Next time you’re feeling your to-do list is taller than you are, think about how you’ll feel when you eventually accomplish some of the items you’ve set out to do on that list.
Now, hold onto that feeling and get excited for what’s to come! You’re in the driver’s seat en-route to an adventurous road-trip. Be sure to get excited about the upcoming scenery — you don’t want to let yourself get so caught up in directions that you miss the experience of the ride.
3. Accept that there will always be a running to-do list. I’ve come to accept the fact that my to-do list never really ends. There’s always room for improvement. Ideas are always expanding and growing, and accordingly, priorities always shift.
Even though this seems like a fairly simple concept, it took me a little while to accept in the beginning. I used to always chase the dream of a list with every item ticked off as accomplished. Then, one day I realized the entrepreneurial journey never ends, things aren’t meant to be permanently checked “DONE”. They are meant to grow and change and improve, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Releasing the need to control my ever-changing, ever-growing to-do list freed me from unnecessary pressure and stress. I now see adding a new item to my list in a positive light. It means I developed a new idea or refined and improved an existing one.
4. Visualize your end goal. Having a point of focus is powerful. It means you’ve refined your ideas enough to answer the question, “What do I truly want?”
Once you can answer what you desire to happen, stay focused on it! The path to your visualization may be winding and even a little rocky at times, but keeping your focus will give you the strength to persevere. With intention and focus, you’re more apt to be able to tactfully navigate around any road blocks in your path.
Of course, if at any point along the path you find your heart’s no longer in whatever you’re pursuing: pause, reflect, and adjust as necessary. It’s ok to change directions. Your vision may change as you set out to reach it. Return to ask yourself what you truly want and start again!
5. Surround yourself with positive people (and stay positive yourself).
Treat a man as he is, he will remain so. Treat a man the way he can be and ought to be, and he will become as he can and should be. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The people you choose to surround yourself with in both your personal and professional lives can have an impact on your business. After all, you’re venturing out into the world with a new idea you’ve worked hard on, and uncertain about its fate. It’s an emotional journey as well as a professional one, and a little positive encouragement can go a long way. You want to surround yourself with those who tell you that you’ll be a smash hit, not the doubters and naysayers.
Find others who believe in you and inspire you on your journey. A strong support network will help you stay on track even if you hit a bump in the road. If you lose your footing a bit at any given point, you’ll have a team to help you regain stability and keep moving.
And above all else, stay diligent and believe in yourself first and foremost! A good team can help keep you on the right path, but they can’t do the work for you: that’s your job.
6. Disconnect. I sometimes feel like the phrase “professional juggler” should be included in the dictionary definition of entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you can sometimes feel bombarded with responsibilities, which can, in turn, leave you clouded about what to prioritize.
When I can feel an episode of stimulus overload coming on, I make an effort to disconnect. I find that a break, a short walk, a conversation with a trusted friend, or even a nap can go a long way in building clarity. It’s no use working when you’re scattered. Your computer screen will be cluttered with half-written emails, there will be a sticky note with a scribbled message from a phone call hidden somewhere under a stack of papers on your desk, and you’ll be wondering what you were working on in the first place.
Give yourself time to rest, recharge, and renew. You’ll be able to see things through a clear lens and will effortlessly resume your reign as CEO & Master Juggler.