“I shouldn’t have hired those people two months ago.”
“I should have waited until next year to upgrade our systems.”
Do you find yourself second-guessing business decisions you made right before the world came crashing to a halt?
Especially the investments you made to grow your business? Instead of feeling regret and beating yourself up, why not decide on purpose to believe in yourself? To believe that you always make the best decisions you can at the time, given the information you have. Decide on purpose to believe that there are no bad decisions. Instead, there are decisions that get you the results you want and ones that give you more information.
There is no way you could have predicted three months ago the exact situation you are in at the moment.
But what you can predict is where you will be three months from now. And that’s because what you think about yourself and the decisions you made (and are making) directly affects how you feel right now and that is the energy that fuels the actions you take. And you already know that action is what creates results.
How is your relationship with your business right now?
Your relationship with your business consists of your thoughts and feelings about it. That includes your thoughts and feelings about yourself as the leader and the decisions you make, your thoughts and feelings about your team, your financials, your customers, the market and the economy. If you’re looking for someone (or something) to blame, if you’re trying to find ways to “check out,” your relationship is in trouble. If you’re thinking about the problems more than the solutions, you’re headed for a breakup and it might not be pretty.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine what you would do if one of your children or your partner was suddenly injured. If you are able to be fully present and your brain is not hijacked with fear, you’ll have a calming influence on them. You’ll immediately take the next step to get them the help they need without panicking. You’ll reassure them, and say things like, “I got you, don’t worry.” This helps them stay calm too.
Think of your business this same way. Be calm. Be present. Take the next actions.
Right now, what are the thoughts you have about your business?
Take a moment and really surface what they are. The reason you want to do this is because your thoughts are causing you to either feel determined or defeated. Most important of all, thoughts that you think on repeat can become beliefs and once that happens you start looking at the world through the lens of those beliefs. You want to make sure they are ones that serve you.
When you spend time thinking about what you’ve already lost or what you might lose soon, you will feel frustrated. If your mind endlessly recycles the question, “How long will it be like this?” you will feel anxious. This is normal. Those kinds of thoughts always lead to those kinds of feelings. The problem is these thoughts hold you back and will not lead to the results you want.
How you feel drives the actions you take. Right now you want to feel confident and courageous.
You want to be willing to make hard decisions, to take the actions that a leader takes, to move your business forward. In order to have those feelings, you want to manage your mind and choose your thoughts on purpose. Thoughts like, “I can do this. I’ve done lots of hard things. I will be stronger after this. What can I learn? How can I add value now? How can we pivot?” Fill your mind with these types of thoughts and questions.
Yes, right now as a business owner you want to be taking action – but not with feelings of frustration and worry. Emotions like those hijack the executive function of your brain and limit its ability to see and create the future. Anything that you accomplish from this place will be a fraction of what you can achieve when you are full of purpose, clarity, and determination.
When you feel anxious, trapped, or resentful, everything is much harder.
Besides, when you take action while feeling negative emotions, the action you take will exhaust you. You are less effective, and afterward you will resent the effort it required.
After the 2008 financial crises, many businesses struggled to survive.
Mine was no exception. Budgets had been slashed and back then data analytics wasn’t considered essential by my market. It was a “nice to have,” which meant “first to go.” What did I do? At first, I was terrified, especially when the bank pulled the line of credit. I had to make hard decisions about staffing and even moved the business back into my home temporarily. I was determined to survive, and I did.
No matter what happens in the world, the ability to use our minds to create value makes entrepreneurs vital. I studied and learned many hard lessons about strategy, execution, people, and cash, which in the end made me a better leader and business owner. When the economy recovered, I was ready and the business grew faster than ever. You can survive this and be stronger for it.
One thing I bet you don’t feel is helpless. That’s not a feeling that entrepreneurs allow ourselves to indulge in for long because we know it doesn’t move us forward. You don’t think, “This isn’t fair” because you know its completely irrelevant. This is now.
You are an entrepreneur. You create solutions and add value to the world.
It’s what you do and who you are.
Now is the time to make your relationship with your business the strongest it’s ever been. Because your business needs you, and the world needs your business.