“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” – Ayn Rand
How’s your intestinal fortitude? Mine sucks. I’m not referring to grit, perseverance or bedrock determination to get things done. I’m talking about queasiness, nausea; flat out motion sickness.
Ever since I was a very young girl I’ve experienced motion sickness.
To this day I can’t ride in the back seat of a car.
Plane rides? I have my barf bag in hand on takeoffs and landings.
Theme park rides? That’s a big negative. I’ve learned to be like Nike and just say no.
Roller Coaster Ride
Unfortunately, at a weak moment, I made an exception to that just say no rule. A few years back I took my kids to Disney World for a 3-day family adventure. Our first stop was Animal Kingdom. The kids know I NEVER go on rides. That’s what older siblings do with the younger ones, not queasy moms.
However, that day, against my better judgment, I was coerced into going on Expedition Everest, a thrilling roller coaster ride through the Himalayan Mountains on a speeding train. I had heard the rumors; the train goes backwards for about 30 seconds in a pitch dark tunnel; pretty thrilling for thrill seekers; for which I am not.
The sensible me would never agree to that, however, the people pleaser me could not say no. I didn’t want to disappoint my kids. So like a brave soldier, I forced a smile and got in line.
To add insult to injury, the wait for Expedition Everest was well over an hour. So much more time to worry. If any of you suffer from motion sickness, you know the dreaded sensations I was experiencing; anxiety, sweaty palms, a racing heart.
Having to wait in line for over an hour only escalated my stress levels; the fear of throwing up in front of people on this ride plus the fact that I knew I’d be sick for the rest of the day was more than I could emotionally handle.
As we were waiting in line for this guaranteed to make me sick ride, something caught my eye – it was a big red EXIT sign.
A little voice inside of me kept whispering, “Take the EXIT. The kids will never remember you bailing on them.”
Has that voice ever whispered to you? “It’s time, take the EXIT, no one will remember!”
Where are you on the emotional roller coaster journey of your life?
Are EXIT signs enticing to you?
Are you in it for the long run despite what you’re feeling?
Are you ready to bolt when you encounter setbacks, exhaustion, and discouragement?
“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. Never run away from anything. Never!” – Winston Churchill
Emotional Roller Coaster
I see it every day; whether it’s in my own life or the life of any one of my clients – the entrepreneurial emotional roller coaster of life.
You may think, “I’m not an entrepreneur.” Before you’re so quick to judge yourself, let’s look at how Dictionary.com defines an entrepreneur:
A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
If you are creating, defining, investing and building something, you have an entrepreneurial spirit. Welcome to the entrepreneurial emotional roller coaster.
The DNA of an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs love birth; they absolutely love birthing idea after idea. They are creative human beings fueled by dreams, ideas, and the next big thing – the chase. They have a magical knack to spot opportunities and long to be the solution to the problems they see.
It usually starts with a dream.
Birth of a Dream
Think about your own life. You have an innovative idea; a dream and opportunities magically seem to appear out of nowhere. You hit the ground running with a sense of overwhelming anticipation and exhilaration; much like the start of a thrilling roller coaster ride.
The Wild Ride
Then the wild ride gets frightening; you take a plunge and start to skid; inwardly it seems like you’re going out of control. Self- doubt and fear creep into your thoughts quicker than the lightning bolts on an Arizona summer monsoon sky.
You encounter resistance; people, projects, and deadlines are frustrating to you and there is no breakthrough in sight. Sleep is fleeting and the things you once loved to do for enjoyment are only a distant memory. Yet that chase, your drive to succeed and win, is so strong that you can’t say no to another project so you add yet another one to your already heavy load.
Just when you think things are falling apart; it gets worse. You start accelerating at a high speed – backwards. You are now in crisis mode; stressed, discouraged and exhausted. Basically, you are merely surviving.
Welcome to the dark valley of despair. You may be praying for EXIT signs but they are no longer visible without a huge cost because you have too much skin in the game.
So what do you do?
The secret at every stage of this journey is learning how to handle your emotions. When emotions get overwhelming, we all have a tendency to give away our strength, power, and control.
According to Darren Hardy, author, speaker, and personal development expert, the unexpected and terrifying emotional roller coaster an entrepreneur experiences is why most quit and ultimately fail.
Darren goes on to say that 66 % of small businesses fail. This failure was not due to outside factors- they were internal. They weren’t economic – they were emotional.
So how can you equip yourself for the wild roller coaster ride? Let’s look at 4 things you can do to guide yourself on this journey.
1.Memorialize Your Calling
Your calling is something that is embedded inside of you; it is woven into the fabric of your purpose. Your calling is an essential puzzle piece of your entrepreneurial journey.
A high calling is who you are; not something that you achieve. It is a treasured gift that brings both:
- Fulfillment and Frustration
- Joy and Heartache
- Exhilaration and Disappointment
I love what Business Coach Kim Avery calls, memorializing your calling. When you memorialize or anchor your idea, dream or project, it becomes very real. It is now a true commitment.
How can you anchor your calling?
- Know your powerful why.
- Ask yourself, “Who will you become through this process?”
- Write out a detailed mission statement.
- Put things on the calendar – deadlines.
- List your vision and values system that align with this calling.
Anchoring your calling is one way that people go from wannabes to doers, from drifters to finishers, from hobbyists to professionals.
2. Reframe Your Thoughts
Whenever you embark on a new quest, you must leave your comfort zone which involves change and change is scary. For example think of a time you stretched yourself, a time when you had to do something that was way outside of your comfort zone.
- What type of internal resistance did you encounter?
- How did that make you feel either emotionally or from a visceral standpoint?
- Did you want to quit?
- Did you lose confidence?
On this entrepreneurial journey, you are guaranteed to encounter endless opposition; externally and internally. The only way to win the battle on both fronts is to build a resilient mindset.
Thankfully you have a very powerful tool at your disposal; the art of reframing. Reframing is an essential skill for the entrepreneur and involves thinking differently. It’s looking at problems from different angles.
When you practice reframing, you
- Identify the unacceptable thought or problem
- Replace it with a different filter using a question that is based on curiosity
Let’s imagine for example that you are working late hours and your sleep and health are taking a hit. Instead of thinking, “I need to change this.” Reframing turns your statement into a question and uses words of possibilities. In this case, reframing says, “How might I be able to get more sleep?”
Reframing creates environments that support innovation and innovation fuels momentum. Whether the obstacle comes from your circumstances or the voice of your inner critic, reframing gives you the ultimate power to decide how to process what you’re experiencing.
3. Become Thick Skinned
Learning not to take things personally is a golden ticket to soar on the entrepreneurial emotional roller coaster. Why? Because when we take things personally, we lose our confidence. It stops us dead in our tracks; we are paralyzed from going forward.
So how do you not take things personally? It’s easy for someone to say, “don’t be so sensitive, don’t take this personally.” But it is really difficult to enforce. I know because I used to take everything personally. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! It took me a long time to realize that when I took something personally, my belief systems were wrong. Are your belief systems skewed?
- Are you focusing solely on yourself?
- Do you give too much credit to someone else’s opinions or belief systems?
- Are you misinterpreting information based on a faulty childhood belief?
- Are you guilty of overthinking?
- Do you lack confidence in your ability to discern matters?
When you take things personally you are living under a self-defeating mindset and it weakens your self-esteem, affects your relationships, and keeps you from moving forward.
“When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz
4. Set up Strong Reserves
Entrepreneurs are notoriously known for lacking reserves in their lives. They are used to living life in the fast lane; operating at high speeds is their norm, not the exception. Their fast-paced lifestyle has them swimming upstream with no end in sight. This leaves them emotionally crisis-reactive rather than responding to their circumstances from a place of discernment and wisdom. How can you slow down the crazy train?
- It is imperative that you have sufficient reserves in place.
- Limit the number of projects you take on.
- Take micro-breaks throughout your day.
- Establish a strong foresight and set up high standards.
- Have a solid self-care program in place.
As an entrepreneur you are a catalyst; you are driven to make things happen. It’s a core value of yours; that’s where your strengths, values, and skills are. But if you don’t control your emotions and follow these principles, your strengths will turn into weaknesses and you will struggle. Your relationships will suffer, your health may suffer and the dream you want so desperately to attain may suffer. Your greatest ideas could turn into missed opportunities.
Make an Impact
Look around. Our world, our culture has problems waiting for someone to be the solution for. The world’s most profound needs are met by people just like you. Your calling is designed to make a difference in the world. As you observe humanity, what issues tug at your heart? What solutions can you offer to help solve these difficulties?
If you implement these simple principles they will strengthen your heart, head, and grit. They will put you in the driver’s seat of your journey and you won’t be tempted to take the EXIT signs. Use your gifts to:
Want to increase your chances of achieving that next level of success? Download my FREE Achievement Predictor Questionnaire to Discover 8 Factors that Predict Your Success no matter where you are today.
Rita helps her clients:
• Embrace their true potential
• Change their limiting beliefs/thoughts
• Create Purpose
• Live Empowered, Confident, and Successful Lives
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