Whether your idea is in its infancy or you’ve made investments of time, money and energy you’ve no doubt experienced the flip-flop of emotions on a daily, even hourly basis. Being aware of them is a major step in understanding yourself, how and why you are reacting the way you are, and how to anticipate further emotional reactions.
There will be times when you are euphoric and ready to take on the world only to plummet to the depths of despair thinking that your business is doomed. This is all natural and normal, however, it doesn’t feel good, does it? And if you have loved ones to come home to you don’t want to dump those emotions on them. “So, how do I deal with them?” you ask.
Think of your emotions as traffic signals. They all have a purpose in telling you when to go, when to stop, when to slow down and when to accelerate. The key lies in learning how your emotional signals work.
One of the factors here is that you may be setting yourself up because of a process called “Unconscious Avoidance of Fear.” Let’s face it there is a wide curve between having a great idea and having a profitable company. There are fears you’ve addressed and those you’ve been unaware of.
Here’s what taking on a new venture might resemble. Tell me if it has been true for you.
- Goal Setting – When you set a goal, a series of behaviors are set into motion.
Your attention and intention have to be in alignment. They must be focused on the 1) new career, 2) new roles, 3) new rules of order, 4) new set of priorities, 5) new terminology, 6) new skills, 7) new colleagues or teammates, 8) new obstacles 9) new environment, 10) new choices, 11) new payoffs, 12) new consequences.
Usually, the first obstacle you will encounter is your lack of business literacy (marketing, competition, etc.) in your new subject area.
You’ll find you may possess little or no familiarity with the terminology associated with this new venture.
- Terminology & Literacy – If you don’t fully comprehend your new subject area you feel confused. This makes people who have negative beliefs about their intelligence think they aren’t “smart enough to do it.” Self-doubt sets in. If not handled, this creates a chronic behavior pattern whereby you become unwilling to face the fears that are stopping you from achieving your Think of a time you were in school learning something totally new, something you had never been introduced to. The terminology alone can be challenging. Usually, however, the terminology in a new subject matter is generally less than fifty words that are necessary for you to be successful in your new subject matter. Once mastered, you will move forward much faster because you won’t be concentrating on, “What did that word mean again?”
- Negative Beliefs – By the time you are in step three of the Unconscious Avoidance of Fear Process you are already unconsciously avoiding your fears (denial) causing yourself to create negative beliefs about your new goals, projects, roles, career, abilities, aptitude, behaviors and actions.
Typically, at this point, you further inhibit your ability by unconsciously implant negative, disabling beliefs about your new goals to those you come in contact with, that is, colleagues, teammates, etc. Then, as an attempt to cover up how you are truly feeling about yourself and your goals, you’ll pretend to know, when you really don’t consciously know, what it is that is making you feel emotionally uncomfortable.
This drops your mood level even lower. You begin to create more negative beliefs to justify or rationalize your poor results.
- Upsets – You know you can’t “fool” yourself or others much longer. You begin to unconsciously sabotage your “Creation Paradigm.” This, in turn, starts to short-circuit your success which can create failure, loss and pain. This drops you further on the Mood Scale. You are now officially emotionally upset. You are repressing your feelings, which in turn, stops you from facing your fears. Your fears are too painful to deal with so this prevents you from achieving your goals. On and on it goes on the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster.
- Challenges/Problems – For a moment, close your eyes, if helpful, and envision yourself in a hot air balloon. You are in the middle of a forest that has a clearing for the balloon. It begins to rise and as it does you begin to see all of the challenges associated you’re your new venture. It’s an exhilarating and scary ride at the same time. Exhilarating because this is something you’re passionate about and thinking about doing for a long time. It’s also scary since you’re not totally sure of what the future holds. From this vantage point you can see it all…the challenges and the rewards.
How you handle the challenges that occur for you in your new career will determine your future. Key to this phase of entrepreneurship is knowing how aware you are of how you act/react to the issues at hand. This, in turn, determines how well you communicate with others. It includes those people associated with your enterprise as well as those who support you in your personal life.
A Blank Slate
Because we’re talking about all your thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with your business you’ll want to consider those that need to stay and those that need to go! For example, if you’re constantly questioning yourself as to a particular decision, I would ask you to do the following exercise:
A BLANK SLATE
- Choose a negative thought or belief about yourself that you would like to get rid of.
- Write it in the space below. Examples:
- Having the belief that I need or should have gotten a college/graduate degree to get anywhere in life…
- Having the belief that I’ll never get referrals because I don’t know the “right people”…
- Having the belief that I’m not worthy, good enough, etc. to utilize my creative talents…
- Having the belief that ____________________________________________________
- Created: Having the thought/belief that I need a degree to get anywhere in life created a thought process of “I have to be like others.” I thought I should go “the straight and narrow.” My father always said work for someone else and you’ll always have a paycheck!” It created a way of looking “outside myself” for the answers.
- Stopped me from creating: It set me on a path of indecision trying one thing after another thinking “that” was the answer to my dreams. It stopped me from creating what I am passionate about and know where my true talents lie. It stopped me from creating a fulfilling and independent life. It stopped me from being happy with myself.
Okay…admittedly, just doing this exercise isn’t going to rid you of all your negative thoughts. You’ve been programmed for number of years to think a certain way. As with the game of tennis or golf, it takes practice, practice, practice until you’re so bored with it that the motion becomes automatic.
Here’s an exercise that, although is tedious, it’s the “way out” of negative thinking.
HOW TO STOP CREATING NEGATIVE BELIEFS ABOUT YOURSELF
- Identify as many areas in your life that you have experienced uncomfortable sensations, pain, or loss. Ex.: divorce, low grades in school, inability to concentrate, abuse, etc.
- Identify the top 10.
- Pinpoint the top 3.
- For deeper issues you need to follow them to the source. Ex., Ask yourself “When was the last time I experienced this sensation? When was the time before that? And so on. Think about the setting you were in, the people involved, and who triggered the biggest charge for you. Ex. My father was strict. I felt I needed to follow his rules to the letter which included where I went to school, what subjects I took, what grades I got, etc.” This is a TRUE experience…a real life event. Does it serve you well to keep inputting that feeling into your life? NO! Why?
- Twice a week for 3-4 weeks after a negative belief surfaces, read it out loud to consciously surface it. Note: you may find resistance in doing this. KEEP DOING IT!
- Train your mind to “hear” when it begins to think this negative thought.
- DIS-CREATE (STOP CREATING) your negative belief by immediately saying the affirmation: “I now dis-create my belief that…”
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: Affirm what it is you want to create in your life.
- Consider hiring a coach to guide you through the myriad of emotions connected with being an entrepreneur.
THE CREATION/DIS-CREATION PROCESS IS A GAME OF PARTICIPATION…NOT OBSERVATION
Last, but not least! Don’t take all of this too seriously! Least of all yourself! Learn to enjoy ALL of life…the supposedly good and bad experiences. These experiences are filled with discovery, love, passion, excitement and fulfillment! Learn to laugh at yourself and life! Learn from the contrasts and comparisons that you create! What you enjoy…recreate. What you don’t enjoy choose to dis-create! The choice to choose is always yours, my friends!
Linda McCarrin & Associates, LLC ~ www.lindamccarrin.com