Sometimes we need a little more than logic. Tips and tricks to building resilience during the slower cycles in your business.
This week was hard. One of the biggest challenges for me in leaping into entrepreneurial work was accepting that it has cycles and that it has a direct impact on my financial situation. Even though I know that there are busier and slower periods and I have done the work to predict them, it still makes me grit my teeth, my heart plummet, and my stomach tie itself in knots when the income also follows that cycle.
Late July/early August is a hard time to sign any coaching and consulting projects. Most people are already dreaming of their holiday and doing everything they can to tie up loose ends for the big projects at work. My strategic plan and sales forecasts were ready for this but, apparently, my body wasn’t quite on board.
I can still remember that feeling of my sweat glands going into overdrive as I peaked at my business revenue for the last few weeks. My breathing quickened a bit, my stomach started punching me on the inside, and I could feel the weight of my heart dragging itself toward my gut. My head quickly kicked in: You knew this would happen. It’s fine. And, yet, my body was not quite ready to hear logic.
Has this happened to you? It’s frustrating to say the least!
So, what did I do? Well the first thing I did was simmer in it, which I don’t necessarily recommend. I let my body overtake logic. In my body, I could feel the presence of a cheeky child pulling continuously on my arm and relentlessly saying, “Naa-na-na-nah-naa-na. You aren’t doing enough. Do more. Do better.” And then I heard the sinister sneer of another voice saying, “You aren’t enough. This won’t work.” Some coaches call these saboteurs or your inner critic. But, basically, it’s the voice in my head that gets in my way and blocks my thinking so that I lose sight of my vision. And, even worse, it often has me doubting myself and my abilities.
Recognizing that the simmering wasn’t working, I did a few things that really worked:
- I connected with my own coach. Yes, even coaches have coaches. In fact, having experienced life with a coach, I now don’t think I would ever go without one. Check ins really help. My coach helped me to connect into the part of me that knows what I’m capable of, that can embrace the logic, AND feel the emotion without letting it overwhelm me.
- I talked about my feelings with my community. I am fortunate to have built a community of fellow coaches, entrepreneurs, and business colleagues. In an early morning meeting, I admitted that I was having a wobbly day when I first spoke. What was really powerful about that is that this group recognised that what I needed was space and they “sat” with me (virtually) and gave me a few minutes to feel the untruths my body was signaling, which allowed me to acknowledge them and move forward.
- I reconnected with my vision. Over a year ago, I was challenged to give myself a simple way to connect with my vision – not the book of a business plan I wrote, not the to do list – my vision. I painted. That painting is sitting on my desk to remind me of where I want to go – where I WILL go. Today, I took a few moments to allow myself to connect into that space of creativity, freedom, calm. I reminded myself that there is no such thing as failure, only learning. And, while laughing, I gave myself a good old kick in the bum and reminded myself to “Simmer down.” The journey is long and I’m having too much fun to let those old party poopers in my head crash this party with their unsavoury gossip and untruths!
If you are currently in the entrepreneurial space, here are some tips and tricks I would highly recommend to prepare yourself for the waves of your business cycle.
- Know your cycle. A little dose of logic does help. Do the research. Look at the data. Talk to others in your field. All industries have cycles and if you know your slower and busier periods, not only can you better mentally prepare for it, you can also build this into your strategy so the highs and lows are potentially less severe. Also, consider adding your holiday time into the cycle and your strategic planning. Depending on the length of your sales cycle time, even a small break could feel like a bit of a blip. Planning for those breaks will better ensure that you take the time you need and are well rested to bring all of your greatness on the days you do work!
- Invest in your mental strategy. When you work on something that is your “baby,” it’s not surprising that the emotions, self-doubt, and negative speak can be strong at times. Make sure you have developed techniques to get yourself back on track mentally. This can come from working with a professional coach, mental fitness programmes, mindfulness, or investing in available literature that focus on these areas (and really committing to the learnings and actions you take away from them). Find what works for you and consider it a required part of business not an optional treat.
- Build your community. Whether you are an a solopreneur or run a business of millions of employees, it can be lonely. Find your people – the ones you can have courageously intimate conversations, the ones that you trust to tell you the truth, the ones that you know will hold you in the low times, and those that will celebrate with you in your successes!
- Find your voice. Be open. Okay, so maybe you don’t want to go into a sales pitch and say I’m doubting everything I ever did in life. However, how would it feel to go into a meeting and to ask for a minute to truly “arrive” because you had a tough morning. If you are feeling bold, maybe even invite others to do the same? Take a few deep breaths, connect to that vision, and then go get ’em!
To my fellow entrepreneurs and business leaders, congratulations for all of the brave steps you have taken thus far. I hope you celebrate your courage and resilience as you experience and prevail over these times of uncertainty and self-doubt. Paddle that surf board out with confidence knowing that you will catch your next wave.
If any of you need help building mental fitness techniques to ride the waves more fearlessly, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Livthentic TM. Schedule a free 1 to 1 to discuss your needs as a leader, as well as any questions you have around your business strategy and building your business.
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