Confessions from the Journey of a Stuck Entrepreneur
For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with a struggle about which I’ve been somewhat silent. Remember that 14-day detox that I mentioned? Well, it uncovered some…issues (allergic reactions) that have been expressing themselves all over my body. And nothing I try seems to make it better.
I’ve been positive, hopeful, and strong. But this past weekend, I had had it!
I feel like my body is at war against me…and honestly, it had begun to affect my perspective and mindset.
After I was up for about the 15th night in a row at 2AM, dealing with the dreaded itch-scratch cycle from the outbreaks on my arms, legs, neck, and face, I was ready to blow.🤯
I fell into despair.
Have you ever experienced this sort of spiral? It’s not pretty! I knew that I was stuck and that I needed to find my way out…fast!
Moments like this used to paralyze me in the past. Over time, I’ve developed my way out of them. I’ve learned that it’s ok to feel all the feelings of that moment (and any other, for that matter). This is a major learning point for me.
Though I’m quite tender, I come from a stay-strong-type of stock. You know, the kind that winces when hurt and immediately pursues the solution to the problem. We don’t linger long on an issue or the feelings associated with it unless the strategy to solve it isn’t clear.
So, sitting with my feelings is counter-intuitive for me. But I’m learning that it’s part of a healthy process.
Caveat: There is a limit on the “sit with your feelings” thing. I give myself about five to ten minutes in this place. Why? Because anything longer will deepen the downward spiral. Feelings are valid but they don't always reflect truth. They often distort the truth and develop their own narratives.
While in my moment of despair, my feelings were all over the place. Thus, my thoughts followed suit.
Maybe I am seriously ill…maybe this external challenge is reflecting the death growing inside me…I guess I should isolate myself so no one will have to deal with that burden…
I’m embarrassed to admit that these were my thoughts (plus a bunch of other equally crazy ones). I took time to list every feeling that I was having, valid and not so valid. I like to use my journal to write them out. And I was quiet for a few moments.
Once my allotted time was up, I began to hunt for a lifeline. That's what I call the external point where I'm able to pivot, or more accurately be pivoted.
Since I love words and a good quote can usually turn my perspective completely around, I began to search my heart for words I have planted there in the past. What came to mind were sayings that reminded me of my strength and that adversity can be overcome.
Then I turned to music, another one of my loves. I tuned into positive, uplifting songs that also reminded me of the temporary nature of most things.
You may be wondering…what does any of this have to do with entrepreneurship?
There are constant challenges (personal and professional) that confront the business owner. Some days are better than others. I used to get stuck, like a deer in headlights, not knowing how to handle it all. This could last for hours or days. The key is to not suppress your feelings around these various happenings nor allow your feelings to dictate your understanding of what is really going on, the truth of the situation. There’s a balance to it.
Yesterday, I had one thing after another throw me for a loop professionally. I took a moment (just a minute or two) to feel the frustration of it. Then, I had some quiet time, read some Scripture, put on my music, and got into strategist mode. I reset my thinking and feeling. Then I went on with my work, empowered.
Test this process in your own personal and professional life. You may want to incorporate some self-reflecting questions to help move you out of that “down” place. I call this a "CBT*-like" approach.
I’m not a mental health professional but I share my journey and what I've learned for your benefit.
We have more control over our outlooks than we give ourselves credit. Too many of us succumb to the challenges of the moment and get stuck. Then fear steps in to keep us in that limited spot; thwarting our dreams and limiting our full expression in the world.
It’s time to get unstuck and to dare to incorporate practical approaches to dealing with the storms of life. The answer is not in denying the rain nor to get drenched. Employ the steps that I’ve shared today as a shelter of sorts as you go through your next major issue. Customize it with what you love…going for a walk or run, having a cup of tea, reading an inspirational text, etc.
Then, tell me how it goes.
Until next time…
*CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on solutions, encouraging the user to challenge distorted cognitions and to boost happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions. Please consult with a mental health professional for more information on CBT.