I recently read a travel review from a woman who went to a five star Eco resort on a peninsula in Costa Rica. All of the other reviews raved about the location, beauty, culture... This woman bitched about the sound of the birds. Really? It made me wonder if she would ever be happy anywhere. But, then again, we all have a certain capacity for malcontent. Our ability to grow disenchanted or stagnant as humans is really astounding. My husband and i joke about how when getting his MBA at USD, his apartment directly faced the fireworks at Sea World. I thought this was the coolest thing i had ever heard! But, the fireworks quickly lost their appeal and he and his roommates would close the windows and drapes with a sigh and a groan to be away from this annoyance after not too many shows...shows that we now purposely book rooms to see when we visit San Diego!
Do you love what you do? I would imagine that the answer for most of you is a resounding...sometimes. Being an entrepreneur, like any other adventure, has its ups and downs. Sometimes we think, "I am so lucky to be able to do what I love each and every day!" And other days we think "what the Hell was I thinking? I'm going to go get a normal job!"
But, wherever you go, there you are. If you are an entrepreneur at heart, there is probably no such thing as a normal job for the likes of you. You need to march to the beat of your own drum - in good times and bad.
Staying focused on the good, sometimes amazing, aspects of being an entrepreneur can keep you away from the thoughts of the bad, sometimes disastrous, parts that can derail your company's success.
Here is a sure fire focus list to ensure that wherever you are, is where you want to be:
1. The Compare and Contrast: reimagine the "day job" you had before you had your own company. For me, this would entail a 270 degree view of gray felt, gray Formica, gray filing cabinets and gray carpet all topped with fluorescent lights while earning slave wages and working insane hours. What does it mean for you?
Now envision yourself at your desk in your company on a great day. Maybe you just won a large contract or were approved for a patent on a product you designed. Maybe it was something a simple as getting your company's first printed brochure delivered. How great did that day feel?
2. Fix what you can Fix: if I ever get overwhelmed and feel like I no longer enjoy the entrepreneurial experience, I have a ritual that I make myself go through. First, I get out of the office and go somewhere that I can be alone and think. write down absolutely everything that you hate about your job, company, etc. Now do the same with everything you love about it. This is just brainstorming. Write or record everything that comes to mind- positive or negative.
The next step is that for every negative, you are going to write a doable solution. Quit shaking your head. This can be done and every problem has a solution even if that solution is to tell yourself to get over it.
When you are done with the exercise, you will have an action plan to attack every negative you listed. Keep this visible (obviously somewhere only you can see so as to not freak out anyone affected) and stay focused on implementing every solution to all of the negatives you listed.
3. Control what you can control: We all know the serenity prayer, right? Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. I have a fourth take on this. Acknowledge what you can't control, but work to control how those things affect you.
For example, You can't control the tax laws in our country anymore than you can control crazy family members that drive you mad. But, what you can do, is actively plan for and mitigate any negative effects either have on your life. You can either be complacent and let the tax code have its way with you or you can aggressively plan for taxes to mitigate their effect.
Try these strategies for your business and also your role within it. You may just find that wherever you are, you are happy to be!