Table of Contents
- Is This You?
- Stuck In A Rut
- Feel Like Giving Up?
- 1. Perseverance
- 2. Positive Thinking
- 3. Be Pro-active
- 4. Perspective
- 5. Plan
- 6. Perfectionism
Is This You?
You’re having ‘that’ kind of day where you find yourself on break in the bathroom stall, your head in your hands and you wonder to yourself…
‘What am I doing?’
Your desk is slammed with three new projects, two of which had a deadline of yesterday. A fellow employee who offered help is now on a second sick day – just when you need him most. And your phone will not stop ringing. Sound familiar?
Stuck In A Rut
Perhaps you’re running a one-man startup company on a dream and a lot of hope and are on the opposite end of the spectrum. You’re caught up on things and yet, business is slow. Reviews trickle in, lead generation is down and you’re running out of things to tweet. By this point in the race, you thought you would be feeling the wind in your hair, not watching the grass grow.
Feel Like Giving Up?
Whether fast or slow, business is always a challenge. We’re not always driven and we’re not always overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel like things have ground to a halt and we’re downright failing in our efforts. But these following ‘P’ topics can be just what you need to keep in mind when you hang at the end of your rope.
If this start-up dream is turning into a nightmare, you might just need some good old fashioned perseverance to give you a boost. Continuing in a course of action even in the face of difficulty is hard on a lot of levels. We might not see tangible evidence that what we’re doing is making an impact. With little or no prospect of success on the horizon, it can be tempting to throw in the towel. But nothing worth doing is ever easy. And we only appreciate the rainbow after a hard rain.
Break It Down
In order to build perseverance, take some time to re-define the goals of your startup or business. Be honest with yourself. Whether to make enough to pay the bills or achieve world fame, everyone has a drive for their efforts. There are no wrong answers.
Map Out The Road
Be realistic in a step by step plan to reach your goal. Don’t fluff over this with vague language. Spell it out for yourself so that you can prove to yourself that you know what you intend to do in order to succeed at this goal.
Execute With All Your Effort
Commit to the plan along with a finite timeline and don’t give up on it for anything except a cataclysmic event. Put your all into it and honor your goal as a worthwhile project. Hit ‘mute’ on anyone who comes along to distract you with negative talk. Your goal is important to you and it doesn’t matter about what others think. Give yourself your own vote of confidence!
2. Positive Thinking
Nothing can be more self-sabotaging than to start getting down on yourself with negative self-talk. Many are not even conscious of the amount of negative self-talk they do throughout the course of a day. Even those seemingly innocent mutterings under your breath can put a subconscious vibe in the air that you are unable to accomplish the task before you.
- ‘I’ll never get this done’
- ‘I always forget that one step.’
- ‘I can never get it to look as good as he can.’
- ‘This is why I’m not getting ahead.’
Yes That’s Me
Hear any of this rattling around in your mind when you’re under pressure or stress? What do you say to yourself when it’s crunch time? Do you nag yourself when you’re lax on a deadline? Are you your own worst critic when it comes to a project due? Don’t worry – it’s a habit you can change.
Be conscious of this habit and catch yourself when you start telling yourself those little negative jabs. Stop yourself and take a breath. Stand back from everything and remind yourself that this project or assignment was given to you because you are capable. Take a moment to truly tell yourself that you ARE good enough and that you CAN do this.
- ‘I am good enough.’
- ‘I’m going to get this done.’
- ‘I’m going to show how great this can be.’
Cheer Yourself On
Forget waiting for a manager or boss to recognize you. Cheer yourself on. Being kind to yourself with some positive self-talk can really help to boost your confidence in a stressful situation. Even if you don’t feel it at the moment, put those positive and caring vibes out there and keep it up. Changing the internal dialog can improve the atmosphere you’re working in.
Update Your Squad
It may not initially appear blatant, but sometimes the group we hang out with most often can surround us with rather toxic vibes. Whether they are outright hostile or simply unmotivated, these people can be like energy vampires when it comes to discussing your latest work goals. Look to keep work separate from these relationships or update the squad if possible. Positive people can lift your mood and keep you motivated, even if you don’t discuss your job responsibilities with them.
3. Be Pro-active
Everyone has a feeling now and then that they are in a rut at work. We grab some coffee, sit down, start typing/faxing/etc… and before we know it, the day is over and we feel as if we haven’t done anything really ‘new’ or ‘meaningful’.
- I always take my breaks at the same time.
- The days all run together anymore.
- I could be replaced at any time and it wouldn’t matter.
- I feel like I’m always hunched over like I’m literally existing in a rut!
Do any of these statements resonate with you? Did you feel yourself sit up a bit straighter in your chair? Are you as predictable lately as your favorite police procedural on Friday night?
Break The Mold
Grab that planner and sit down and sketch yourself out some time where you can step out of the rut and be pro-active about a new facet of your job. You don’t have to turn your world upside down to find wild levels of excitement. Maybe it’s not time to drop what you’re doing but to add something new to your schedule.
Try Something New
- Add some exercise around the building to change up break time
- Work on a new company website blog
- Help a co-worker brainstorm on a project
- Get involved with a new department
New Involvement Breeds New Inspiration
Whether it’s pitching a new advertising angle, cleaning up and re-organizing that forgotten corner of the file room that everyone avoids, or getting involved in the company’s newsletter – taking on something new, instead of the same old same old, can give us a new spark of excitement about the work day. Sometimes, the dry elements of our job can be tolerable when we have more interesting projects to look forward to.
I’ve often had VERY hard days where I’ve wanted to throw in the towel – you probably have as well. You can’t imagine things getting worse, and then they do. Will the clock never reach 5pm? If I have to answer this phone one more time, I’m going to scream! Take a moment to think about the worst days you’ve had; did you catch yourself thinking or saying the following?
Did You Say:
- ‘This is the worst place in the world to work.’
- ‘I’m surrounded by completely incompetent people.’
- ‘None of this is ever going to get any better.’
- ‘Everybody’s against me, I just know it.’
OK, don’t literally walk off the job here. But taking some time to step out from behind our desk and gain some perspective on other aspects of our company (and the jobs of others) can help us see the bright side. A rash decision in a moment of emotional stress about a situation can be detrimental on many levels. Gaining perspective can not only lower stress but can provide an answer to your problem?
Give This A Try Instead
- Call a friend and head out to a fun dinner to vent
- Go out and run errands, window shop or catch a movie
- Read a journal entry from one year ago today
- Catch up on what’s going on in the news
Imagine Yourself Elsewhere
Often times, the stories from a friend are way more stressful than our own. Getting into town to shop or just walk around the mall can shift our mindset to upcoming events we’re looking forward to. Many times, we can find perspective in an old journal entry. Reflecting on what was of utmost importance a year ago versus today can help us see that stressful times pass and that we have conquered challenges before. And you can do it this time, too!
We hear everyone suggest planning and we roll our eyes when it comes up, but it’s true. It can feel spontaneous and freeing to jump into a new day without a restricting ‘to-do’ list, but jumping from task to task can lead to wasting time, which leads to frustration
Have You Been There?
- Skip from task to task randomly
- Misplace priority tasks
- Remember what really needed to be done once you’re on your way home
- Often feeling anxious trying to remember everything
A Plan Is Not A Prison
I’ve been there and I kick myself every time. We all slip now and then. But with the dedication to a planner, whether on paper or on your phone, you can give yourself peace of mind with a backup version of you to help you remember everything! It doesn’t have to be a prison fencing in your energy but a path to help your focus create new things and reach steady goals.
- Treat yourself to a new planner
- Start your morning by jotting down what needs to be done that morning
- Make a tomorrow list before you leave the office that night
- Color coordinate priority levels to help you visually sort tasks
Throw Daily Celebrations
Congratulate yourself for every little task finished with a checkmark. It’s a small thing but it can help you feel like you’re really getting things done! Keep in mind your most productive time of day and load that time with the biggest task. Break up your day to force yourself to take lunch, as that is crucial to keep you from crashing, energy-wise. Plus, who doesn’t feel professional with a snazzy new planner under their arm? (Hey, there’s another great P word! No ‘pun’ intended, ha!)
Sounds like the ideal thing to shoot for when starting a new business, right? Who wouldn’t want to own or run the perfect business? But that perspective of needing things to be perfect can be the very thing that is driving you into this rut and causing you all kinds of stress.
Pressure Makes Diamonds
Yes, it is true, putting things under pressure gets the most out of them, just like coal into a diamond. However, when it comes to you, more pressure is not a good thing. Expecting perfection out of yourself, especially if you are an entrepreneur, or a ‘solopreneur’, is damaging. No one person can be everything for any one job or business.
Take Pride In Reaching Out
You’re proud to build this venture from the ground up and you don’t want anyone to take that away from you. At the same time, you feel like you’re drowning and might lose everything in another quarter or two. Finding balance means you will have to have a heart-to-heart with yourself and admit you need help. Even if it involves automating a few things, making it easier for yourself should not be a blow to your pride but an investment in working smarter, not harder.
I’d love to hear from you on the “P” words you use in your day to help you to persevere in your career. Have I left any out? Share your ideas in the comments below!