One of the few guarantees in a new entrepreneur’s life, one that is as predictable as the sun that rises every morning, is change. Optimism and hopelessness, successes and failures, growth and stagnancy – each coming on top of the other in a dizzying merry-go-round of change.
This change isn’t time bound either. A phase can last two weeks or two months or two years before the wheel turns – which is why I look upon it as “seasons of change”.
Often times, new business-owners get so caught up in a current phase – be it good or bad – they do not account for the seasonal nature of it. And therefore they do not have a strategy in place that will hold true when the leaves have turned or winter ice has set in or spring and summer is in the air.
Awareness of what season you are in prepares you for the upcoming highs or lows, and as an entrepreneur you have to be equally ready for both. For example, you cannot be slacking off, working less, shifting focus or mindlessly expanding when business is going great guns because then you will not be in a safe, strong place with a Plan B ready at hand when the money flow temporarily dries up. There is as much hard work to be done when an entrepreneur is in a season of success as there is when an entrepreneur is in a season of failure.
I am a great believer in the seasonal phases of business, and I encourage businessmen who seek my advice to stay in touch with themselves, honestly and authentically, through these 3 practices that will stand them in good stead in the future.
Because you Are your business. You are the internal heartbeat that keeps your enterprise ticking. Miss a beat, because you’re in seasonal entrepreneur’s depression, and the enterprise is starved of oxygen. Get cocky, brash and prideful, and the enterprise suffers then too because blind ambition is now obstructing sound business decisions.
So what should you do?
The power of journaling – putting your thoughts down on paper – is incredible. Journaling stops the constant mental chatter and brings you to a state of quiet mindfulness. Past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge in the present moment because right now, they are not relevant. And when you bring a wandering mind to attention with the discipline of journaling, situations clarify, solutions germinate and you find catharsis/inspiration from the mere activity of purposeful writing.
Presently, journaling is still my go to, but I have also had the luxury of a ghost writer. It is the first time in my life I have told a person my thoughts prior to writing them down. It has been amazing. Because my company needs to write blogs and content for clients, I am borrowing some of that time so that my thoughts can be shared!! Just because someone else writes it down, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy….I thought I was cheating at first….now I know that was pride and fear. It really saves me a ton of time and I get more of my thoughts out than when I journal. My mind doesn’t wander as much.
I will never stop journaling though, because I have to get my thoughts out when I’m at an emotional high. That high can be exuberance or anger, but there is no substitute for journaling in those specific situations.
FIND A MENTOR
A mentor is not really a person who sees you on a daily basis. It is a person who has more experience than you and can give you advice without the burden of friendship. This is the person you hide nothing from, and who you are accountable to at all times. In return, it is the mentor’s responsibility to advise on your actions and draw attention to your strengths and weakness in an unbiased and non-judgemental manner. Remember that spouses and best friends are not ideal mentors. (Those relationship are too driven by emotional bonds to be of any good to you.)
On a random note, my main personal mentor is my uncle, who has never had kids, and my business mentor is my father. Many times family does not constitute the best mentor, in my case, it’s the opposite, so mentors can come from anywhere!
MAKE SELF-IMPROVEMENT AN ONGOING PROCESS
Your work on yourself is never done. To be the best version of who you can be, you always need help from outside. It could be a personal practice of faith with God, or meditation or yoga or any other self-improvement technique that resonates with you. Listen to podcasts, follow workshops, read books by masters who talk about self-improvement subjects you are interested in. Never think you’re done with internal development work, because setbacks have a sneaky way of unraveling your newfound confidence and pushing you back to square one.