08 Sep Entrepreneurs: Staying Grounded in Uncertain Times
Last week in honor of Labor Day I shared some thoughts on rest and work/life balance for the entrepreneur. We all need to make sure we give ourselves that chance to kick back, get with our loved ones, and do something that gives us life and energy.
Physical rest and time with family are essential, but the reality is that entrepreneurs put in more hours than the average employee and carry more responsibility on their shoulders – it just comes with the job. On top of that, running a small business can be like piloting a small boat on an ocean – you’re going to feel all the bumps pretty hard. My plans can be offset by factors as far ranging as the weather in Africa to local politics.
Even on a balanced schedule we need constant spiritual and mental refreshments, and we need them as we work. If we can only find peace in escaping our responsibilities, it’s time to take a look and find out why that is. Here are three practices to keep you anchored when the storm is raging.
- Remember who you serve: Few things are more dangerous to the entrepreneur that losing vision and nothing can make us lose vision quicker than worrying about our immediate achievement and prosperity. Ironically, nothing keeps us anchored like our destination, and it is easier to stay afloat heading somewhere than treading water. Ask yourself why you got into the business in the first place. Whose words inspired you to take the course you did and create what you created? What needs and what calling do you serve? Take some time to go back to those words that inspired your efforts. You might find them just as fresh as you did the first time.
- Know where you end and others begin: Chaplains in the military live by a code to keep from overcommitting in a job that entails enormous stress: Either provide the service, or find someone who can meet the needs as well or better. We often overcommit because it seems heartless to ignore someone’s plea. Working like this keeps us feeling out of control of our lives, motivated by guilt and manipulation instead of vision and compassion. The best way to preserve a relationship is often to bring someone more qualified into the conversation. It shows respect for everyone involved, including ourselves. Build a portfolio of references and colleagues as a resource for your market and your own sanity.
- Take stock of what is permanent: If the market dries up, your business flops, professional relationships lose trust, or any other unpredictable factors brings everything to a halt, what do you have left? Probably a great deal. In fact, I think it is healthy for every entrepreneur to have periods where they either see or hit the bottom, just so they can remember what is permanent in their life. Going into doomsday mode every time troubles come is an insult to those dedicated to your wellbeing. Think of your visions and beliefs, your family and relatives, a supportive community at your church or in the neighborhood, good friends you know will always have your back, or even just a chance to simplify life. If you truly can’t think of anything, perhaps there are more important things to invest your time in. it will be the most important investment you ever make.
What keeps you anchored?
I will be posting a new blog every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Come back tomorrow to discuss Real Estate topics!