I am just going to come right out and say it: I am just NOT feeling it today. I love owning a coworking space in Lexington, SC. I am thrilled that we recently gained a new member who drives from Columbia, SC and scoffed at the idea of going to a different space that is closer to home because she feels welcomed and at home here. That’s awesome! Being a warm, welcoming space was one of the big goals in designing the space. But none of that seems to matter much today.
What do you do for YOU when you're stuck?
- When you're feeling alone?
- When you know you are doing what you should in order to keep your start-up going, but things just aren’t coming together like you planned or as fast as you need?
- When your mind and body are saying, “We’re tired! We need a break”?
- When you can see the depression that can come from rejection fast approaching?
All of these are problems entrepreneurs face on a consistent basis. If we want to reach our goals, we must learn how to face the dark clouds. It is not a time of panic, but things aren’t going as planned. We have some stumbling blocks to overcome. We are facing rejection. We are simply are having an off day. This is the life we as founders, entrepreneurs, and small business owners have chosen. Now we have to learn to navigate it.
My current reality without rosy glasses
I'm going to be completely transparent (probably too transparent). My month started off with a bang. I was on top of the world, knocking things off my to-do list, following-up with strong prospects, making connections with new members and excited about coming to work. Then the prospects I thought I had connected with started to fall by the wayside. “Is there anything else I can do to reach any one of these individuals? No.” I really had done everything right down to handwritten notes. No worries… well, a few worries.
Time to make new connections. I promised someone I would go to her networking group. I really didn’t want to, but it’s free lunch. I know in my head it’s a good place to meet people and explain the benefits of coworking. I put on my best successful business owner face and go. Except, other than the woman who invited me, only one other person spoke to me and she wasn’t even a member of that group. Granted there wasn’t a lot of time to meet and greet, but still. Why don’t more people greet guests at these things? (But that is a topic for another post.) To top it off, my niece has been very sick, so my sister/community manager/partner-in-crime has been MIA all week.
I am simply NOT feeling it.
Do you know that feeling?
The “I don’t know what direction to take so I won’t go any direction” feeling.
The “Do I really have to talk to people today” feeling.
The “I really am trying to stay positive, but...” feeling.
Honestly, that is where I am.
Getting out of the funk
We have all been here before, and we will all be here again. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. It takes clouds and rain to make those rainbows. While we can’t stop the clouds, there are some things we can do to try to prevent thinking the clouds are darker than they really are or to get unstuck from the mud and go indoors while it rains.
1. Take care of yourself!
You can’t take care of your business or your family if you don’t take care of yourself first. It’s the whole “put the oxygen mask on yourself first” adage.
- Eat well. Or in my case - remember to eat.
- Get enough sleep.
- Get some exercise.
- Make time for a little fun. Literally, write it in your schedule.
- Unplug. Even better: unplug while you have fun! I accidentally left my phone at home a few weeks ago and didn’t have time to go back to get it. I spent the most relaxing afternoon on the lake!
- Get dressed, do your hair and make-up. If you work from home and don’t see people daily, it’s easy to fall into a rut of not getting dressed. I’m not saying every day. But on days when you don’t feel at your best, get dressed. You will feel better.
2. Go for the easy wins!
You need to see some positive results or progress being made to give you a boost. Pick a few easy things that are fast and simple.
Don’t work on the biggest project even if it what is most important. Maybe you have a project that is almost done and won’t take long to finish, but other things more urgent keep getting in the way. Finish it!
Find the simplest, fastest things on your to-do list and check them off! For me today that means finish making some CoCreate t-shirts that I started last week.
3. Know you aren’t alone
Who can you reach out to who will let you verbally unload? Who can you just talk to even if it is simply a stream of consciousness that is a part rant, part self-doubt, and part pure randomness?
You aren’t looking for answers or solutions. You need someone to just listen. I do not recommend your spouse/significant other, business partner, or anyone who has no knowledge of your business. Reach out to a mentor or supportive friend who has followed your journey.
I have a friend who has followed my journey with CoCreate but is not an entrepreneur or business person. She lets me rattle on and on with a glass of wine. Simply getting things out helps relieve some stress.
4. Change the scenery
If you have ever been to CoCreate, I hope you took the time to try the swings. Not only can you not stay cranky on a swing, but it is also a change of scenery from your desk and computer. Most people who work out of a home office do not have a swing. Sorry, you will have to try coworking with us.
- Go eat lunch at a park.
- Work while sitting next to the neighborhood pool.
- Visit your local coworking space.
5. Choose what you look at carefully
Read your raving reviews. If you don’t have any, ask for some. Clients and customers who receive excellent service and know you care are happy to write a review.
Step away from the numbers
Don’t look at the numbers for a day or two, especially that cash flow projection you’ve stared at for the past 3 days. I’m not saying put your head in the sand and ignore the finances. Just choose to step away from it for a day or two while you recharge and get back in your groove.
6. Revisit the "Why”
Remembering that basic “why” is important. But when you aren’t in the most productive mental space, think about some of the specifics.
- Who are you serving?
- How are impacting their lives?
- What inspired you?
- If you closed your business today, what career path would you be forced to take?
Remembering my why
I need to remember the excitement when I first read about coworking. It was what I needed years ago - an inspirational, non-judgemental, productive, and happy place with a community of people who understand the ups and downs of working from home.
I need to remember Candace’s face on her first visit when she declared, “I found my tribe!”
I need to remember when Elizabeth was brave enough to be vulnerable in the member group only to be surprised by the support and encouragement of the other members.
And I don’t want to go back to teaching.
We’ve got this!
It’s okay for you to have days when you don’t feel motivated, feel a little down about your business or life as a solopreneur, or have a dip in your enthusiasm level. It’s NOT okay to stay there! Take some of these steps to get unstuck and find your joy when it tries to hide.
So now that I’ve written this blog, what am I going to do to get out of my funk?
- I’m going to finish those t-shirts.
- Leave work a little early and get some sunshine.
- I may even be brave and visit the pool in my neighborhood.
- And I’m going to message a very smart businesswoman who said that if I bring the wine, I could ramble all I wanted about life as a business owner.