Can you make good music in your chosen business, or are you blind to the realities?
Starting and owning a business is not always smooth sailing
Many people yearn for the freedom and fun associated with owning their own business. Few make the decision to do so and even fewer make their business live up to their dreams and expectations.
You never do anything worthwhile by accident, it requires commitment, planning and hard work and this can be stressful while coping can be difficult and limit your future potential.
From start-up to maturity there will always be ups and downs and new challenges to deal with.
Be aware of ‘dream takers’
A bank manager once visited our dream home, looked out the window and said to me. “I hope you go broke this would make a great bank managers house”. I’m sure glad I did not take much notice of those types, jealous people, selfish people, knockers, and do-gooders, they can all limit your ability to cope.
Information about how to be successful, books, the Internet, seminars and workshops abound. What exactly does success mean and how do you go about defining success in your own life? This is a good thing to really understand as your mind can play tricks on your ability to cope when there is conflict over definitions and direction.
Paul Myer once defined success as “the progressive realisation of worthwhile goals”. An excellent way to define success. I met this man many years ago and he said. What he meant by this was that as long as you know what you want from your life, and you continue to work towards it, you are already successful. If you can come to grips with that you will tend to find coping easier.
There are no unrealistic dreams, just unrealistic timelines. Whether you succeed or fail is determined in your mind long before a startup and you see it play out in real time.
Build your resilience
Resilience is about adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences. Why do some people bounce back from adversity and misfortune? Why do others fall apart? Find out which character strengths make all the difference and how you can develop them yourself. You are a bundle of potential. All you need to do is convince yourself that the potential is there and develop it.
How do people deal with difficult events that change their lives? The death of a loved one, loss of a business, serious illness, terrorist attacks and other traumatic events? These are all examples of very challenging life experiences. Many people react to such circumstances with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty, not knowing how they are going to cope.
“Once you find the coping strategies that work for you, write them down and give them all you’ve got”. Peter Sergeant
Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. Particularly during a start-up. What enables them to do so involves motivation, enthusiasm and resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages you in taking a number of steps.
A combination of factors contributes to resilience. Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust, provide role models and offer encouragement and reassurance helping to bolster a person’s resilience.
Other factors may also come into play
- Resilience starts with accepting what you can and cannot.
- The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out.
- A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities.
- Skills in communication, problem-solving and decision-making.
- The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.
- Ability to manage the frailties of a startup.
- All of these are factors that people can develop in themselves.
Identify and develop your coping strategies
Be aware of the impact on others when you are not coping, your family, friends employees and all the other’s you’re involved with. Eventually, your inability to cope can lead to a bad attitude and the conversations you have will start to change and relationships can start to sour. If you find this happening to you seek professional help immediately.
- Find a quiet place to relax, think and reflect on your situation.
- Learn how to think, reflect and plan more productively.
- Write it all down, keep a special journal on coping.
- Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems.
- Reduce your workload and responsibilities to a level you can cope.
- You are important, set aside regular time for yourself.
- Overcome negative and avoid negative people.
- Walk away from situations you are likely to be stressed by.
- Consider the big picture and refocus your vision for the future.
- Improve your communication skills.
- Always be optimistic, manage self-talk and look for opportunities for self-discovery.
- Accept that change is a part of living and nurture a positive view of yourself.
- Learn to forgive, move on from hurt, regret and anger.
- Take time for rest and relaxation.
- Build your gratitude and be thankful for what you have.
- Build your resilience, know you’re not the first one to have problems.
- Turn to someone you trust and share your thoughts problems and frustrations.
- Always maintain a positive outlook, things can always be worse and bad times pass.
To help summarise your coping strategies
Think of coping and resilience as similar to taking a raft ride down a river.
On a river, you may encounter rapids, turns, fallen trees, waterfalls, slow water and shallows. As in life, the changes you experience affect you differently along the way. In travelling the river, it helps to have knowledge about it and past experience in dealing with it. Your journey should be guided by a plan, with a strategy that you consider likely to work well for you.
Perseverance and trust in your ability to work your way around boulders and other obstacles are important. You can gain courage and insight by successfully navigating your way through the white water.
Trusted companions who accompany you on the journey can be especially helpful for dealing with rapids, currents and other difficult stretches of the river. You can climb out to rest alongside the river. But to get to the end of your journey, you need to get back in the raft and continue.
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We had the money, the dream home, the fancy cars, a farm, a boat, overseas trips. Yes, we had the lot, but it would not have meant anything without our family and friends to share it with.
And it would not have been worth the effort if I hadn’t been able to cope with the pressures and stressors associated with achieving it.