A few months ago it seemed to be one of the best things in the world to be a business owner or self-employed. Independence, the satisfaction of working for yourself, the dream of building something of your own.
Skip to 2020, and entrepreneurs face the toughest times in modern memory. Uncertainty lost customers and sales and changing the way we do business.
How do you adjust when the carpet is removed from under you? How do you deal with these moments: “What’s all that for?” And “Is it all worth it?” In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the ways you can deal with when and when these feelings arise.
What is a crisis of confidence?
We are (rightly) very focused on what you can do to keep your business alive during the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath – cutting costs, getting the right help, etc.
But it’s not about surviving. In other words, how do you deal with the feelings of insecurity, helplessness, and frustration you might experience while trying to run a small business in a strange new landscape?
It’s hard to talk about this feeling. You don’t want to be seen as weak or hesitant. When you are trying to lead and motivate a team, you have to be brave and pretend that everything is going well. But inside you can have:
- Feeling helplessness
- Feeling out of date and question your skills
- Feeling like we are running low on gas emotionally
- Feeling sorry: “I have to stay at my old job”
- Feeling like giving up and trying something easier
Know if you are doing a spiral
It’s easy to panic about what-ifs. What if this continues? What if there’s no vaccine? What if we have to close again in winter? If that helps, write them all down just to get them out of your head.
Remember, our brains have a negative tendency at times of uncertainty. You evolved to expect the worst. This makes sense from an evolutionary point of view, but can be crippling if you have to go to work every day.
This doesn’t mean you have to avoid all negative thoughts. This is unrealistic and, in its way, unhealthy. It just means acknowledging them and then setting them aside. Admit that you are going through a big change.
Acknowledge your disappointment and even sadness at this change. Even just saying, “I’m struggling with what’s going on” can take away some of the power of that scary thought.
List your skills
You don’t lose your talent overnight. Even though the world around you is changing rapidly, you still have all the good qualities that worked for you in the past.
Think about the successes you have had and how you can apply them in this new, uncertain situation. Think of the tools in your toolbox that can help you customize.
- I can think creatively and solve problems
- I can work hard even though I’m not sure
- I’m an expert in creative marketing who puts people at the door
- I’m good at networking and connecting with people
Remember what got you here
Remind yourself why you wanted to do your job first. What were your goals when you started? Is it to feed your neighbors? Can you still do it to help people? Can you still do it?
Go deeper than “I want to run a successful business” or “I want to work for me.” Think more about why. There is something important enough that you can paint it yourself. If you can focus on that, it can be very motivating.
Call a friend who can remind you
Seeking support is one of the most common tips and one of the hardest to follow when you’re feeling down. In this case, however, it would be helpful to call a friend who has known you for a long time and tell them what you need.
Don’t expect to get it easily. Say, “I’m having a confidence crisis and I need help reminding myself that I can.” Or “I need help remembering why I wanted to do this in the first place.”
Your friend can serve as a reminder of what you were like in the days you started your business, what you wanted, and what you loved. They can also remind you of properties you may not have known about.
Take a break
It’s not easy when you’re stuck in crisis mode. When you work from home, you have a hard time remembering that just because you were at home, you weren’t on vacation.
So take a few days off. Turn off the news. Turn off social media. Everything will be there when you return.
Your brain has worked all the cylinders for the last few months and needs to rest. It is a good practice to leave your mind “out of focus” for a while to come up with new, creative ideas.
Think of yourself as an explorer
You are currently part of the first wave of companies and people trying to solve problems that no one in modern memory has ever considered.
There are no guidelines. But it also means that you are not playing by other people’s standards or rules of what you should be doing. You are a researcher trying something completely new and unique.
If you’ve ever had the time for creativity, independence, and hard work that makes you do your job, that’s it.
This is an opportunity for you to set your intentions on how you want to proceed. You can’t guarantee the results, but you can control how you do it.