As I “pen” this blog, the scripture that I just referenced helped me remember what we need to do: LOOK UP! In Him is where all our strength, help, hope and refuge lies! It’s crazy how the devil will do everything in his power to keep your head down, buckled over in despair. And it’s simply because that if you look up toward God, you will begin to receive exactly what you need. It’s as if you’re absorbing the sun beams for physical and emotional energy, like a recharged battery; and it’s because His presence is beyond those clouds in the sky!
3 tips for overcoming the emotional roller coaster in your mind
This is a visual graph of the story of my life as an entrepreneur, and I think others out there might find it familiar. Fortunately, these peaks don’t happen every day (at least not for me), but they do happen frequently enough to make one feel like her life is a literal roller coaster! Just when you feel like you’re making strides, and are in a place of stability, the bottom drops out; and everything you thought you could rely on is no longer there. If this happened to you on a regular basis, how would you respond?
When I became a full-time entrepreneur about a year and a half ago, these peaks and valleys scared the living day lights out of me! Fear paralyzed me to the point of not even being able to focus and work. I had literal panic attacks, with shortness of breath-something that I had never experienced before. When I left my former job to pursue my online business full time, I was confident that I was in a good place to do so for several reasons: I had acquired a fourth client, had a decent savings; and crunched the monthly budgeting numbers to ensure I would have enough money to pay expenses. So I happily left ( I was miserable at that job anyways and created this plan in order to move on) to begin a new thing. Little did I know that it would be hard to find a schedule that worked for me in order to accomplish my daily tasks and balance my home life. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, without any structure or organization. Two weeks into my new venture, I lost the client that I acquired right before I resigned from my full-time job. That moment in time shook me, because I knew that I was counting on that money to keep the business afloat. It brought me to my knees, crying and praying incessantly. That SAME day, I received a phone call from a small business owner who was referred to me, inquiring about my services and she’s still a loyal customer today. The spikes from the graph are real! Just when you think you’ve lost it all and everything is spiraling out of control, something happens that makes you feel as if you’ve gained a sense of normalcy. There is no way that one person can manage these drastic changes alone. I’ve discovered a formula that gives me the strength to keep moving forward and I’m sharing it in hopes that it will help someone else.
Faith A habit of daily prayer and faith have helped me to keep moving when I am afraid. Prayer brings me the sanity that I need to continue working on the things that I have control over, even when it feels like everything around me is falling apart.
About a year ago a successful entrepreneur recommended that I read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”. One of the assignments from this book was to write a clear and concise statement of your goals and the steps you plan to take to achieve them. I took the time to complete the exercise, and every morning before I begin working I repeat my action plan. The excerpt below is the part that I mentally ingest into my spirit the most. It gives me the shot of courage that I need to keep pressing forward when I feel helpless and have no sense of control:
I will sacrifice time to gain additional knowledge and financial hardship until my business becomes a success, temporary suffering in defeat, and being uncomfortable from uncertainty. I will make a daily habit of talking to God in prayer. I will not give up when situations look bleak and unpromising. I will continue to persevere and keep moving even when I am afraid.
Persistence There are so many days that I feel like giving up. Just about every day, I ask myself, “What am I doing?” and I question my decision to become an entrepreneur. I thought that taking the risk of working for myself would be rewarding and wouldn’t come with any regrets. Boy, was I wrong! I have learned that what I did when I resigned from working for someone else was exchange one set of problems for others. But just when I’m at my lowest, something positive happens, where an effort to help someone actually works; and, it gives me the boost of energy I need to keep going. The moments in between are excruciatingly hard, but it’s worth it to continue trying in order to feel the sensation of success!
You’d think that stand-up comedians would be the only people who would need improvisation skills. Nope! Not the case! As an entrepreneur, there are so many hats that you have to wear during the day: laborer, accountant, marketer, etc. Then there are the unexpected things that distract you from daily tasks; and, if you aren’t careful, they will frustrate you to the point of giving up.
Last week, I had a working vacation. My husband had to office out of his organization’s Dallas location, so my son and I tagged along because my family lives there. I enjoyed being around family, but my schedule was so different from the norm; and to top off all of the confusion, I spilled water on my laptop midweek. Talk about having to improvise. I used my phone and my husband’s computer (still doing this as week speak) to get major tasks out of the way. I also just found out that my computer won’t be able to be repaired because of the water damage. So guess who gets to figure out how she’s going to get another computer? This chick! But guess what? It’s not going to keep me from doing what I need to do. I’ll keep on pushing, praying, and waiting on God to open the doors that I can walk through to be successful!
Keep your head up, and keep going!
Perseverance is the toughest action that we decide to do. Most things don’t just happen overnight,and many of us don’t realize this until later on in life, or after we’ve given up. Or perhaps, you’re like me and just didn’t observe that you’ve been prepping for perseverance all along! As I reflect on my youth, I’ve become aware that this is precisely what I’ve been doing, and it has prepared me for one the most ‘persevering’ experiences that I never expected to encounter: entrepreneurship. It’s one of the most slow-moving, highs-and-lows,gut-wrenching, stick-it-out time periods in my existence! I like to think of it as a beautiful nightmare, where’s there’s so much potential to for success mixed with the fear of the unknown.
I am so grateful to have learned not to be a quitter- not giving up so quickly through good and bad things. Here are a few high (and low)lights of the perseverance training that I have personally experienced:
- Piano Practice: Every day after returning home from school, I had to practice the piano, before attending my piano lesson instructor on Mondays. Most times I dreaded practicing; but, it was almost impossible to complain because I was the one who literally begged my mother to sign me up for them! Even though I dreaded the routine of practicing, I enjoyed the result of putting in the work: beautiful music, that became effortless because of time spent practicing!
- Sports: I’ve been playing organized sports since I was in the sixth grade. I worked hard to make the varsity volleyball and basketball teams, and in the off seasons, played softball and ran track. Today, I’m still a runner and compete for personal best times in 5 and 10Ks and half-marathons. You can’t just show up to the starting line of a race and expect to do well. It requires weeks, sometimes months of training!
- Higher Education-Obtaining a master’s degree was one of the most disciplined things I’ve ever done. I returned to school in my early thirties when there was more to do than just being a full-time student. I worked, nursed and took care of my newborn baby, and studied. God, prayer, and bottomless cups of coffee helped me earn the certificate that stated I completed my course studies. It’s an accomplishment that no one can belittle or steal from me!
- Working Multiple Jobs-Working more than one job has helped me create and maintain a schedule. I wake up early-well before the other members in my house open their eyes (including the dog) and work on items that I know have to be done before the end of the day. I’m living a “wash, rinse, repeat” life cycle right now: continue to work through the day, eat,sleep, and do it all over again!
As I was (and still am) in these moments, I did not take the time to stop and think about what I should be learning (another life lesson). Now that I have forced myself to reflect, I have realized that those daily routines of physical actions taught me how to be patient. They also taught me how to persevere. When you start something new, you’re never as good as you want to be. So what does one do if she wants to be included in the circle of ‘best’? She trains!
- Do research on the activities that will make you better.
- Surround yourself with like-minded goals.
- Seek out a mentor and ask for help
“There is no substitute for persistence! It cannot be supplanted by any other quality! Remember this, and it will hearten you, in the beginning, when the going may seem difficult and slow.”-Napoleon Hill
There are many places and people that I draw inspiration from on a daily basis. Right now, my biggest motivator that spurs on perseverance is knowing that it won’t always be like this. If I keep trying, keep receiving and appreciating the small victories, and continue to put in the work that moves me toward success, then I will achieve my goals.
There is no secret to success; it only requires hard work and determination.You can do the same!
JRobinson, Owner and Founder, JRobinson Digital Media Services