Mental health, motivation, good days vs bad days.
Let’s dig deep into mental issues and other reasons for not so good days of business owners, or really anyone.
There are countless businesses that were shut down due to mental health issues or business owners simply going burned out. Loss of interest or lack of passion.
It’s hard to keep the excitement on the same level throughout the years. Think about this, the average employee stays with the company for a little less than 4 years, that time is even shorter for younger generations.
Most business owners don’t think they are going to close or sell their business after 2-3 years, especially in the first few years, your business is still in the developing stages and makes very little profit, if any at all. It’s no surprise that you would start feeling worn out a few years into your business.
As a business owner, you can’t just take 2-3 weeks vacation, like you would do if you were an employee at a company. I personally know many business owners who haven't taken any vacations in many years, some haven’t taken a day off in over a year.
And if somehow you were able to do it, your mind is most probably occupied with thoughts and worries about the wellbeing of your business. After all, it constantly requires supervision and problem solving. Fires happen every day… (Look at the corner)
It's ok to feel tired. It's ok to feel down. It's ok to feel like you lost the excitement and the fun is over.
One of the hardest things of being a founder or business owner, is to wake up in the morning and keep going at it, keep grinding.
Few years in, you may realize that there is no one to tell you if you are doing a good job, making the right decisions and to congratulate you, if you are. Money may be a good motivator, but after a while, it may run out of steam, or you might even lose some, after gaining some.
Here are the most common issues business owners experience:
- Loss of excitement
- Work / Life balance
- Family or Partner issues
- Getting burned out
- Sleepless nights and constant worries
Here are a few things for you to consider doing, to combat those boogers:
Get excited again.
Think about the future. Where is your business going? Did you think of every angle? Just because you have built or outlined one path for your business, doesn’t mean it’s all there is.
In our laundry service company, we realized that there is a direction for us to grow into cleaning supplies, detergents, softeners and hand soaps. It gave us a new spark and a new direction to focus on. It became exciting again.
Separate your work from rest
Maintaining a separate work place, specifically for your business. Having an office or shared co-working space and specific working hours will allow you to feel more balanced and disconnect more efficiently.
Get your family or partner on the same page
The most common reason for degrading relationships is not being on the same page. People around don’t realize what you are going through. They really don’t! And the most important, they may not see your vision, your plan and your goal.
It’s very therapeutic for everyone to do weekly or monthly dinner meetings where you can explain in detail the current state, your challenges and your vision. Many times you may not realize that there are actually simple ways to overcome it.
Get a refresh
Everyone needs a refresh. You need a refresh. You need a refresh.
Time to clear your head, breathe some fresh air, get a perspective on things. Are you moving in the right direction? Are your goals still aligned with what you are building?
Perhaps things have changed and you need to rethink your priorities, business decisions or perhaps it’s time to sell? If business is not doing so well, perhaps it’s worth just closing it?
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
When having lots of stress and sleepless nights, it’s important to understand the worst case scenario. Almost always it’s not the end of the world. If you get this far, you can get further.
The only question: “is it worth it?” You are gaining invaluable experience, you are growing as a person and professionally. Nothing is forever lost, nothing is irreversible. Though it may sound counter intuitive, but often, losses turn into blessings.
Get down to basics
Often we are stressed because we became so complacent, we disconnected from business lower level issues and problems, and are slowly losing grip on the situation. Like a general that lost track of the battlefield. Be among the foot soldiers once in a while.
That usually happens when business has grown beyond a certain point and the business owner has lost the connection to basic operations and employees. Sometimes it’s very helpful and refreshing to get down to basics, reestablish control, fix what’s broken and get that peace of mind.
Talk to others
Talking to other business owners or people who have been in your situation helps a great deal. You are not the first person and not the last to go through this. If you need help, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help, mental health is important, just as tech support.
We all have that very successful friend or two, or more, who’s life seems so perfect and they seem so far ahead of you. They go on vacations, they own houses, they have investments, they have a beautiful husband or wife.
What really helps in this, is an understanding of what makes you happy. Amount of money in the savings account or a large house is not a direct reflection of happiness. Most of the time with physical possessions, we earn additional worries. Worry of potentially losing it all.
So stop looking and comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own issues. That’s our human nature.
All we need is love
I know this might sound silly, but it’s true. I'm in my happiest state when I have an understanding that everything I do affects other people and I have the power to take care of them, share my love.
Whether that’s taking care of employees or customers. When you have a sense of love towards everyone around you and a profound appreciation of them being in your life, things come out in a completely different light. Days seem brighter, you start noticing a smile on your face more often than before.
You must have your personal compass, a north star, set of goals and guidelines to follow. You must know exactly what you are doing this for, and that reason can't be purely materialistic. This may be blurry at times, so writing it down somewhere may be helpful and then reading it once in a while.
That could be something like, making your customers smile, improving the quality of life of your employees, or giving a great education to your kids through being a successful business owner that also makes you and your family proud.
If you don’t have a north star figured out yet, it’s ok. Most people don’t. But don’t leave that star spot empty indefinitely, it can change once in a while, but overall it stays similar throughout years if not decades.
Write a diary
This is surprisingly helpful. We rarely talk our thoughts out loud, and without processing our thoughts in a conversational or written form, it keeps spinning in our heads turning into a negative tornado of stress, irritation and anger.
Give it a try, seriously. Before going to sleep, take 10-15 mins, open a notepad and start writing everything that happened today, everything that was on your mind. Good and bad. Once you let it out of your mind into a book, it will leave you in peace and allow for a better sleep.
Warning! This diary is not for reading! Never ever read it. New day must be written on a new page. Once finished, put it away without hesitation. You may open it 10 years later and have a huge laugh.
It’s never too late
Starting over is never easy, but often necessary. I know, i know, what about all of that wasted time and you haven’t bought that house yet, or a fancy car. Once you have that, you will probably be ready to start over.
Let me ask you a question. When you grow old, do you really think you're gonna look back and say: “Oh those amazing properties i used to own. I miss this house, I miss this car.” I don’t think so.
What you are gonna look back and miss, is the experiences, the people, the new things that you explored. The boldness of your decisions and lack of regrets of things you never did.
Matter of fact, starting over is therapeutic, constantly reinventing yourself and trying new things. Though it may sound scary at first, compared to doing the same thing for over 40 years, no matter how safe and financially secure it might feel.
Getting comfortable with uncomfortable
You may have heard this one before, try doing something that makes you uncomfortable once in a while. I would say do it at least once a week.
If talking to strangers in a coffee shop makes you uncomfortable, go ahead and start that conversation next time you are in a coffee shop. If you are afraid of the cold, book a short trip to Alaska.
Afraid of heights? Jump out of a plane, or go to the tallest observation deck in your city, to start with.
Let’s summarize everything we talked about:
- Getting excited again.
- Separating your work from rest
- Getting your family or partner on the same page
- Getting a refresh
- What’s the worst thing that can happen?
- Get down to basics
- Talking to other business owners
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- All we need is love
- Having a North Star
- Write a diary
- It’s never too late
- Getting comfortable with uncomfortable
Congratulations! You are well equipped to deal with stress and mental pressure, bad days and lack of motivation. If i was helpful, please write a comment below. If i wasn’t, still write a comment, let’s talk and get you feeling better in no time.