📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Ask Yourself This Simple Question to Leave Negativity Behind It can help you cope with emotional ups and downs that are a big part of every entrepreneur's life.

By Gurpreet Kaur Edited by Amanda Breen

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I have been an entrepreneur for more than a decade now. I have started my private practice in three different states and four different cities. Keeping up with your mental and emotional faculties as an entrepreneur is not only vital, but also very challenging. According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, 72% of entrepreneurs are impacted by mental-health issues compared to about 48% of non-entrepreneurs. Another study has shown that 49% of us entrepreneurs deal with mental-health issues directly in some form while only 32% of non-entrepreneurs do.

Bottom line? Entrepreneurship is not an easy job. You are your own boss, but that comes with a lot of responsibility, which includes keeping up with your mental and emotional capacities. I personally have experienced ups and downs of my emotional state while coping with failures. Currently, I am venturing into digital courses and stepping away from one-on-one counseling and coaching. After getting started, I found creating a successful digital course is not as easy as I thought it would be. At times, I just want to quit and go back to my comfort zone of one-one-one coaching because change and the unknown are difficult to conquer, especially when you face failure. These emotional ups and downs can ruin your business.

Related: How to Deploy Emotional Intelligence for Work Success

Learn to ride the emotional wave instead of being knocked out by it

Jack, one of my successful entrepreneur coaching clients, would have quit his business five times by now if he didn't learn to cope with an unstable emotional state of mind. He is a perfectionist, and his "all or none" thinking gets the best of him. Whenever there is even a hint of failure or a big challenge, he wants to quit his business and move to Maine with his camper with no cell phone reception, let alone the speed-of-light wired internet connection he needs for his business. However, once he learned to just observe his feelings and emotions separated from who he is, it has become much easier for him to ride the wave instead of getting knocked out by it. It took him a little practice and some reminders from me, but he is able to cope on his own now with the help of journaling. And that is huge for him. A simple question has not only kept him in business, but also allowed him to thrive emotionally.

Here's the question to consider asking yourself: "Am I the feeling or that which is aware of the feeling?"

This one question dissipates the basis of negative feelings. You are that which is aware of the feeling. If you are sad, you are not the sadness. You are aware of your sadness. You are not depressed, but that which is aware of your depressed mood. Often, I hear in my practice, "I am depressed" or "I am anxious." With this statement, you identify yourself with what you are feeling. I help my clients separate their feelings from who they are. For many, that is their first time separating themselves from the feeling itself.

Related: How to Cultivate Higher Emotional Intelligence in Your Employees

Create distance from your feelings

When you separate your feelings from your identity, you have taken the first step in the right direction. Whenever you are overwhelmed with negative feelings, repeat this statement to yourself: "I am either the feeling or that which is aware of the feeling." This separation allows you to create distance from your feeling, which is what you really want. Having that space gives you an opportunity to empathetically and unconditionally observe your feelings, and that observation helps you process and live through the feelings instead of being caught up in them. The awareness of your feelings can heal your inner child's wounds. It does not let you suppress your emotions; in a sense, it's allowing you to be your own therapist.

Identify the feelings instead of labeling yourself

If you are depressed, for example, try saying, "I am experiencing sadness or depression" or "I feel depressed." Try not to say, "I am depressed." That identifies you as depression. That speaks to your psyche very differently. Most often, we label ourselves with emotional and psychological symptoms. But we don't identify as physical symptoms. Have you ever identified yourself as a headache, stomachache or cancer? Of course not. You would just say, "I have a headache. I have a stomachache. I have cancer." Then why label yourself with the emotional and psychological symptoms you experience?

My client Jack learned to identify feelings instead of labeling himself. He started with just observing his feelings by writing them down. Journaling became his go-to technique for separating what he was feeling from who he was. Jack can be concerned about membership cancellations, but he still is an entrepreneur, husband and dad. Now, he's able to keep his current state of mind separated from the rest of his identity. This separation allows him to experience the emotional ups and downs in his business without identifying with them to an unhealthy degree. The awareness lets him be present so he can effectively cope with his rising emotions instead of suppressing them.

Related: Emotional Intelligence is the Secret to Leadership in Times of Crisis

By reminding yourself that you're the person experiencing the feeling, and not the feeling itself, you too can use this awareness to advance in business and life.

Gurpreet Kaur

Licensed Professional Counselor, Life Coach, Speaker, and Author

Dr. Gurpreet Kaur is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, Speaker, and an Author. Dr. Kaur is very passionate about self-love, self-empowerment, wellness, reaching the full potential, and quantum mechanics principles application in life.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Business News

These Are the 10 Most Profitable Cities for Airbnb Hosts, According to a New Report

Here's where Airbnb property owners and hosts are making the most money.

Side Hustle

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

A hobby, interest or charity project can turn into a money-making business if you know the right steps to take.


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.

Starting a Business

This Couple Turned Their Startup Into a $150 Million Food Delivery Company. Here's What They Did Early On to Make It Happen.

Selling only online to your customers has many perks. But the founders of Little Spoon want you to know four things if you want to see accelerated growth.