When a loved one dies, you are thrust into an otherworldly existence. Your feelings ping-pong all over the place. You would risk anything to have your love back.
Entrepreneurship evokes the same emotions, with one difference: we throw ourselves into the five stages of grief willingly.
When you first establish your company, you deny the change in your pay, adapting to the new hours. You are finally your own boss! Still, you blindly stab at prospective deals without understanding the gravity of your actions.
Denial won’t shatter until you connect your effort with results.
Then you will know not only that you are in charge, but that you’ve made the best decision of your life. When you are stressed, remember your gratitude for the little gifts entrepreneurship brings. I adore having steamy tea in my kitchen. And the commute time is ridiculous!
A client refuses to pay. Your blown-up laptop is out of warranty. You make a mistake in a live webinar. Your router fries. People think that because you’re home, you’re not working. All the finances fall on you, not a sales or marketing department. Aggravated by timelines, corrupt website updates, and miscommunications, your eyelids sink and threaten to stay down for the count.
Still, the peeves pass as you channel your madness into productivity.
I racked my brain for novel ways to bring in business.
I would have swapped any possession for profit. Alternately, when the pace picks up, you bargain to please let me finish this project before the call I have to make in 30 minutes.
You pray for longer days or a meeting no-show. Bargaining in entrepreneurship has to do with our professional lives seeming to be out of control.
The truth is, you need only wait out the craziness.
When everything is coming at me, I laugh loudly, shake my head and close my laptop until a clearer vision presents itself. I remind myself there will always be work. I’m not going to stress about what I have no control over.
But oddly, the hairiest moments are still the sexiest.
Self-doubt creeps in. You wonder if you have what it takes as you slap on a smile. You learn that you do have it when you see the effects of your actions. Your confidence swells. People want to work with you. Then you are so busy you forget to plan.
Or you plan and neglect a step. Work is everywhere. You grind as hard as you ever have—so hard you need a shower. You wonder can I keep going? But you know the answer.
You are ignited to achieve every waking minute. Hunger defeats pain.
When you slip into the grotto of self-despair, try to limit your time.
I am going to feel like garbage for exactly one day. Then climb out and review the lessons. Failure is priceless because it teaches you what not to do. Don’t face failure with ego. Welcome it with curiosity.
You might think acceptance will come quickly. Once you’ve been at it a few years, you should be used to the hours and that you are a ka-trillion percent responsible for your income. Still, some days, we can’t accept there’s no going back. You might entertain returning to a reliable, ol’—tedious— j-o-b. But at what price? When your business accelerates, a salaried position equals income loss. Worse, it traps you under the ceiling.
The Key to Lasting
Never stop. Never give up. Never cease trying. You will beat the odds because you will be one of the few who generate so much content, innovation and fire people can’t ignore you.
Floods of fear and euphoria are normal as you progress.
Leverage your panic and insatiable appetite, into an endless drive.
I talked to one of my original power clients, a fierce player in the ever-evolving game of entrepreneurship. Matt Motil summed up the deep attachment and bittersweet labor pains of the business that sends us on a cycle of Everest highs and Dead Sea lows.
“Starting any kind of entrepreneurship is like having a child. You protect it, nurture it, guide it and watch it grow. How you know that you’re an entrepreneur is that even after we acknowledge, understand and appreciate this phenomenon, we are not only okay with it, we wouldn’t want it any other way! I feel like my whole life is some semblance of catching up!”
Could it be that we are addicted to the drama of controlling all the entrepreneurial things? As business owners, we’ve heard stranger assumptions.
Entrepreneurship means rising each day to ride the lightning—that we are rooted in one invincible mantra: lather, rinse, believe, even in the grip of the 5 stages of grief.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.