The path of entrepreneurship is equal parts rewarding and challenging. The obstacles and setbacks along your path to success are always opportunities for growth, change and improvement, but let’s face it: sometimes your spirit falters when you’re in the midst of a tough spot.
It can be hard to keep your entrepreurial enthusiasm for your path and vision alive at some stages of the journey. Feelings of occasional doubt or discouragement are normal. It’s how you process and move past them that matters most.
Here are five keys to help you maintain your entrepreneurial vision and spirit.
1. Plan your work, work your plan. This doesn’t just mean your business plan. You need a daily action plan to maximize your time and stick closely to your vision. It’s common to feel overwhelmed by your to-do list, and those feelings can often give way to frustration and burnout. By maximizing a daily action plan that aligns with your long-term vision, you’ll be able to ease some of the strain by prioritizing. What do you have to do right now to reach your long-term vision? Once you have your list of have-to tasks, try delegating or outsourcing the other items to get back some time and push back the overwhelm you’re feeling.
2. Guard against negativity. Your spirits are going to sink if you’re constantly dealing with haters, doubters and otherwise negative people. You don’t want that anchor weighing down your lofty vision. Stay true to yourself, and as much as possible, minimize your exposure to negative people. If the trouble is with friends and family, you might have a harder go at this. Another tip: don’t take advice from someone you don’t want to emulate. Well-meaning advice givers are rarely qualified to be dishing out qualified information on what you should or should not do. Bear in mind the person’s qualifications and expertise before absorbing any advice.
3. Fortify your mind. One great thing about the modern age we live in is all the access to information we have at our fingertips. It’s up to you what you put into your mind each day. Are you filling your head with bad news, depressing stories or mindless television programs? To keep your spirits up and your vision in sight, consider motivating podcasts, uplifting audio books and other positive additions to your information consumption. As the song goes, “you’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” It’s age-old advice that will serve you well in keeping an optimistic outlook.
4. Embrace change. The only constant is change. You can’t be the mighty oak that stands tall and strong then topples at the first heavy windstorm. The great thing about entrepreneurship is by its very nature it makes you like a young tree in the wind: flexible, fluid and adaptable. It’s not about uprooting your vision or ideals -- those are the roots your business is planted in. However, if you can’t truly embrace change and even anticipate it proactively, your path will be difficult and your spirits in the dumps. Making change work for you can mean big innovations and creative solutions, so embrace the ambiguity and anticipate it.
5. Use history as a guide. The beauty of studying history is you get 20/20 vision. You can see how other great leaders and entrepreneurs did it right and exactly where they got it wrong. Make history and its general cycles be a study you constantly observe to help identify patterns and learn from the past.