The uncertainty of the past few years has made day-to-day living feel like the ups and downs of a roller coaster and resulted in a lot of funky feelings. While feeling a little off from time to time is normal, paying attention to how you feel and adjusting things to feel better is a good coping strategy. Some common funky feelings include a sense of waiting for the next shoe to drop or feeling a compelling need to plan for the worst in the same way a squirrel stores nuts for the winter. Yet these sorts of coping strategies often result in making decisions that bring about the very circumstances we wanted to avoid. Despite the uncertainty, some businesses and business owners are thriving. What are they doing to make the difference?
There are many things that influence us. More than any other time in human history, we are bombarded by an onslaught of messages that are pervasive and difficult to avoid. We are influenced by the messages around us whether we consciously tune into them or not. Think about the “background noise” at the store that includes commercials about what to buy. Research shows that sales of those items increase when the commercials are running. It isn’t just advertising; what news anchors, commentators, and authors choose to talk about are also points of influence.
Awareness is the best way to combat influences that may not be helpful. When we pay attention to how we feel, and eliminate or reduce things that don’t feel good, life gets better. In short, experiences that make you feel more hopeful, energized, and happy lead you to take better action. Experiences that bring about anxiety, stress, depression, or helplessness keep you from taking action to improve your circumstances. Here is some food for thought.
The news focuses on worst-case scenarios and tells us all the places where things aren’t going well. When you watch or listen to the news on a regular basis (or it is the background of your day or night), you are programming your subconscious to believe there are difficult times ahead. Try taking a news vacation and see how you feel. I did several years ago and chose to eliminate the news as a normal part of my life. Overall, I’m a happier person than I was when I tuned into the news each day. If you don’t want to forgo the news at all, then make sure to take it in small doses and include a steady diet of positive things to help with balance. Notice how you feel and keep adjusting until you find a plan that feels good to you.
We are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. At the start of the pandemic, I saw my streams of income dwindle alarmingly, and I honestly didn’t know how my bills were going to be paid (talk about stressful!!). I was in denial and shock. It was a close friend of mine who was able to shift me and a number of people in my networking group to a better frame of mind. He said, “There is money to be made – we just have to figure out how to pivot to where it is. Together, we can do this.” That galvanized us into changing our perspective. Instead of hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass, we began to look for opportunities. When you are looking for opportunities, you are much more likely to find them.
Take time this next week to step back and notice what happens to you when you are spending time with different people. Who helps you feel better? Who invites you to feel worse? What action do you feel inspired to take? It is OK to limit the amount of time you spend with people who bring you down. Even better, it may encourage you to look for people who are a better fit. People who inspire you to find opportunities and take action.
As a business owner, it can be especially difficult if most of the people around you are employees. The perspective of business owners is different from employees – not better or worse – just different. Employees naturally look to the employer to create stability. For many business owners, “stability” is a moving target.
A great example of the difference in thought processes happened to one of my clients at the beginning of the pandemic. She was relieved when she secured PPP funding that ensured she could retain her staff and make payroll. When she excitedly told her employees, their focus was on whether or not they would get a cost of living increase. She was incensed they didn’t realize that getting a paycheck at all hadn’t been guaranteed. A great example of differing perspectives.
What happens to people who are the only entrepreneur in their circle of friends is that they have no one with which to discuss the realities of being a business owner. They often feel isolated and may assume that their business is the only one experiencing difficulties. If you are a business owner who doesn’t have a lot of face time with other business owners, it is a good idea to consciously look for networks you can join to create your own circle of business owner friends. You may be surprised to find that most business owners experience similar challenges.
Through all of the changes, self-care is immensely important. Plan chunks of time “away” whether that is a vacation or a staycation. Build in things that you do just for yourself. Exercise. Eat food that works well for your body. Meditate. Get enough sleep. Block off time that is absolutely not work time on a weekly basis. Listen to music you like. Watch a funny movie. Go to church. Pick up a hobby. Hang out with friends. Balance between not working and work is critical.
If balance is something you struggle with, I invite you to schedule a strategy session with me. Simply go to www.iwantmoresuccess.com to book your session.
Charlise Latour a business coach and owner of Accelerate Your Success. She works with each client to determine what their goals are and create a plan so they can achieve them. She is actively involved in Dancing & Singing With The King which raises money to promote dance education including working with local schools to offer dance classes during the school day. This is a natural fit as she is an avid ballroom dancer.