If there’s one thing I have learnt during the past 2 years of being in business is that it’s one hell of a rollercoaster ride and that you need to hang on for dear life…
The effect it has on the emotions is incredible; one day I could be on cloud nine, feeling as though I can take over the world because I have just won an amazing Client and then literally the next day, I could be feeling as though the world is about to end because something has happened that has tipped the balance.
My poor husband. Not only has he had to become my soundboard for all my big ideas, dreams and aspirations but he’s also become my Counsellor because unfortunately, as in life, not everything always goes the way I’d like it to. Like most Entrepreneurs, I set out with all these big intentions however life has a funny way of throwing curve balls so despite all the best planning in the world, sometimes things just don’t go to plan.
Now if you are anything like me, this can lead to frustration… because as a creative person, I am also very much a perfectionist. It’s a trait that can be a blessing because it does mean that I am a very detailed, focused & goal-driven person however it can also be a curse because – like most perfectionists – I place very high expectations on myself which is not always a good thing.
You see, I started my business primarily because I wanted to be around for my two young girls. My eldest daughter was starting school and I wanted to be there to drop her off in the morning and pick her up at the end of the day. I did not want to have to ask permission to attend her Sports Day, School Play, Sharing Morning or any of the other countless demands placed on us. I felt that it was my right to be there regardless as I had gone through the excruciating pain of giving birth to her and as a knighthood wasn’t on the table, this was the next best thing!
I certainly didn’t want to have to justify taking the time-off or be made to feel guilty about it – there’s enough mum guilt going around. I am very ambitious however my ambition now has a place behind being a mum. So, like many mums (whether running a business or not), I spend most of my time crafting the skill of spinning lots of different plates.
Never-mind the demands of trying to run a business, hell that’s easy compared to keeping on top of the list of school demands. Seriously, my daughter has now been a school for 2 years and the amount of stuff I have to now try and remember is enough to drive a sane person crazy!
So, what do we need to do to help us cope when things don’t go to plan? (other than running to the fridge, grabbing a huge tub of Häagen-Dazs and hiding away under the duvet for a considerable amount of time, which let’s face it, when you have kids, it’s just not an option!).
Below I have listed 5 top tips which I find help me to maintain a little control in this crazy world…
OK I admit it, this isn’t always easy for me. I do sometimes struggle to see the bigger picture when I am trapped in a situation that I find upsetting or one I don’t feel in control of. Despite the counsel provided by my very patient husband, sometimes it takes time to see that the world is still spinning.
I’ve since learnt that taking time out to process and deal with whatever has happened works best. This also prevents rushing in with a reactive response which can sometimes make the situation worse!
It’s ok to sleep on a problem as often things don’t seem so bad the next day.
Life can be hugely challenging whether you run a business or not however what I find works really well is taking positive action.
First, it’s about identifying what’s wrong – what’s making you feel the way you do? Once you understand what it is that is making you feel upset, stressed, anxious etc then taking a positive step forward is going to help shift how you feel.
Now I know this sounds easy on paper, however there is always something we can do despite how small it is. In fact, sometimes taking small steps forward can help shift the mind causing us to feel better because at least then we are doing something positive to regain control.
Whenever I feel something isn’t quite right, I try to pinpoint what it is and what has caused it. If it’s something that someone as done that has upset me, then a simple conversation with that person can help resolve the issue. I’ve realised that sitting on hurt feelings and letting it fester does not do any good because I end up being caught in my own head thinking the worst. Sometimes it’s just simply miscommunication so try and find a positive way to deal with the issue.
This is a must! I guarantee that whatever is going on that is making you feel down, a coffee (and cake) with a friend is wonderful. Us humans are social animals therefore we crave positive interaction so where better to find it than with a friend.
A good friend doesn’t judge; they listen, they care and most importantly they help us to gain clarity. If you are really lucky; they even make you laugh and you know what they say, laughter really is the best medicine.
If you are at a stage where you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, consider taking some time out for yourself. Self-care is really important; if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of everyone else?
Your head needs to be in the right place to cope with everything that business or life has to throw at you. You need to be operating with all cylinders otherwise something will just give.
Take some time-out, do something that you love that will help you to switch-off. Go for a swim, take a walk, sit and listen to your favourite playlist, go to the cinema… whatever it is ‘just do it’ as Nike would say, I promise you, you will feel a million times better.
It’s so easy to sit and fester about a problem especially when there’s no clear route forward. Switching off can often lead to the answer because when we stop obsessing about finding a solution and focus on something else, the solution will often present itself in other ways.
I remember attending an antenatal appointment when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I was discussing my birthing plan with my midwife, which of course, was completely mapped out. I remember her asking me ‘do you like to be in control?’… who me, nah… she laughed and told me to prepare myself as things were about to change and control as I knew it, would be no more. 2 kids later and boy, was she not wrong!
I really hope the above tips have helped even if it’s just in a small way. It’s important to recognise that not everything works out – it doesn’t mean failure, it just means you have tried and it’s not right for you. Whatever you do, don’t give up – just see it for what it is then move on.
You see, no matter how much you plan, sometimes the Universe has other ideas for you. Just go with it and see where it takes you because life does have a funny way of working itself out whatever that may mean.
And to be honest, if all else fails… just breathe and eat cake!
Do you have any tips on how to cope when things go a little off-track? please do share…