Editor’s note: Michelle Stockman is an independent consultant with her company, Fort Smith-based Msaada Group. Stockman earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University-Chicago in communications and fine arts, and earned a master’s in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. Her thoughts on business success appear each week on The City Wire.
While every entrepreneur hopes to become the next rock star business owner where everything you touch seems to turn to gold, the majority of us will work our tails off and push the limits on our body, mind, soul, pocket book, family life, social life and community life to make our ideas pay off enough to squeak a living out of the business.
Through the jungle of the endless task lists, ideas, concerns and reality, you are also bombarded by a barrage of unsolicited comments, opinions and self proclaimed ideas that will help you save yourself from your own business. You also have to live through the reality that those who you care and trust the most are the first to criticize and misunderstand your entrepreneurial mission (including your own employees).
When it seems you are completely alone facing the biggest battle of your life (starting or growing a business) the world around you can seem larger than Goliath. You feel like you’re standing in a swamp while the mosquitoes try to eat you alive, and you realize that the joy you sought in starting the business has quickly faded to surviving the business. Regardless of the entrepreneur, there will be at least one day like this if not multiple.
On the negative days, it is critical to repeat a simple phrase in your mind; “positive and non-toxic.” When you want to scream, shout, vent or complain is the best time to remind yourself of the good things you have with the business.
The phrase, “positive and non-toxic,” was coined by a great entrepreneur who was completely frustrated by the road blocks he experienced with his business. Tired of trying to vent frustrations that only made life worse for himself, he turned to focusing on the positive aspects within his business. This mental shift in thinking and eventually in the business allowed him the freedom of mind to grow the areas of his business that were presenting him opportunities. Through the pursuit of opportunities came the path to walk around the road blocks.
Negativity in all its forms is destructive to everything around it. It is hard to kick negativity out the front door when it comes from your own thoughts or those you care about. However, the leader inside you must put the comments aside, turn to the positive and focus on growing the good. While many of the mosquito bites were meant for you with good intentions, put the information aside and focus on the positive ways you need to build and grow your business.
If you’re having a day where you really can’t see any positive, begin asking yourself questions. What was the last thing that made me smile today, yesterday or last week? What was the last goal that the business achieved? Remember the last time someone did help you with the business.
Also remember, that you really are not alone in the business world, and talking to another business owner may also help you refocus on the good to overcome the frustrations.
Stockman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org