4 Things Entrepreneurs Can Do When Nothing Is Going Their Way
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Droughts are a normal part of life, occurring in nearly every type of climate. But despite their regularity, droughts are second only to hurricanes in terms of the economic damage they cause in the U.S.
Droughts differ from hurricanes in that they aren’t as straightforward nor as easy to identify and define. Most people associate drought with an extended period of dry weather. Droughts typically lead to crop damage, water supply shortages and wildfires.
Just as droughts that occur in nature are unpredictable and can take a toll emotionally, mentally and physically, so, too, are entrepreneurial droughts destructive.
During the global lockdown, many entrepreneurs are experiencing a drought of some sort, unfortunately.
For some, it’s a job loss. For others, it’s a dream business now hanging by a thread. Many have had their daily routines disrupted and are watching helplessly as their healthy habits vanish.
In those moments where nothing seems to be going your way, shift momentum in your favor with these tips.
1. Work hard on one meaningful project
When nothing is going your way and you find yourself in a drought, you may seek information. While trying to find answers to your questions is natural, it’s unlikely to be helpful.
Information is valuable, but when nothing is going your way, more information leads to more analysis paralysis, unresolved anxiety, stress and second-guessing yourself.
At this stage, what you need is momentum. And momentum is only birthed through taking intentional action. Therefore, the most critical step to take is to refocus yourself on one meaningful project.
Whether it’s your health or your business, there are many things you could be focusing on. What’s the one thing that will have the most impact on your getting back on your feet?
We live in an era of hustling and more hustling. More is always better. But when you’re in a drought, less is better as it will create space for you to refocus and innovate.
When in doubt, subtract.
2. Give and find gratitude
When you are in a business or life drought, your self-worth stock can plummet and you can begin to question if you’re contributing to society. Your company’s revenue may be uncertain right now, but neither cultivating nor giving gratitude requires any money.
You can give gratitude by mentoring someone, sharing your knowledge freely through writing, checking up on someone through text or sending someone a handwritten note.
Through giving, you’re evoking gratitude, a valuable tool in the entrepreneurial toolbox.
Besides being a potential longevity tool, gratitude helps develop the crucial skill of resilience. According to a study, Vietnam War veterans who had higher levels of gratitude were more resilient and experienced lower PTSD rates.
While you’ve unlikely spent time on a military battlefield, we are all on the everyday battlefield of life. And no matter the terrain, the underlying principles remain the same. Instill gratitude into your DNA, and you’ll build up the necessary armor to withstand the daily rigors of life.
And just like an athlete, an entrepreneur’s self-esteem is critical to their everyday performance. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, athletes who practiced gratitude consistently increased their self-esteem.
The 8th-century Indian monk Shantideva stated that, “All the happiness in the world comes from thinking of others; all the suffering in the world comes from thinking of only oneself.”
When you turn the spotlight away from yourself and stop focusing on your difficulties, they’ll lose their grip and mastery over you.
3. Double down on your fitness
When life feels excruciatingly hard and you’re trying to survive the tough times of running your business, exercise.
Sure, exercise helps promote the release of those feel-good endorphins along with other beneficial hormone changes. But more importantly, exercising provides an outlet to exfoliate life’s many frustrations, removing the negative energy bubbling up inside of you.
Related: Your Work-From-Home Self-Care Guide
Whether it’s a long run, punching a bag or pumping weights, working out improves circulation, relieving tense muscles and reducing symptoms of stress.
When you get your brain and body feeling better, you’re more likely to make better decisions about improving your current drought.
4. Get off your island
By signing up to be an entrepreneur, you’ve agreed to an implicit clause that includes potential depression, loneliness, burnout and unintentional alienation of your most important relationships.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make, especially when nothing is going their way, is “living on an island,” or isolating from the world to solve their problems.
But isolation isn’t a solution, especially when you’re emotionally compromised. Instead, you’re likely to compound frustration because you’re unable to see the big picture.
If you find your world becoming smaller and caving inward, seek out help, accountability and support.
Having an emotionally detached support team that can see the big picture is invaluable. It’s akin to having a general with the entire war in mind, unrattled by any single battle not going their way.
If you’re on an island right now, take a moment to jot down five people you can reach out to. If you don’t have five people, begin working on finding them. This can even be your one meaningful project from Tip #1.
Problems, droughts, suffering, inconsistent revenue — all crises are natural parts of the cycle of life. They’re not signs of your inadequacies.