If you’ve survived the first, scary stages of starting a business, you know the delicious joy of realizing you can do it. You probably remember (or are experiencing) relief, and pride, and optimism. You can actually make money doing this! You’re doing fine!
But is fine good enough?
Sometimes I meet a new client who has been doing fine for years. Maybe even 10 or 20 or 30 years (I’m not kidding). They’re plagued by feelings that don’t feel very fine at all. Maybe you can relate.
Which of these not-so-fine feelings are YOU experiencing?
- Unsettled. Yes, I’m profitable, but I think I’ve been lucky. How long will things be okay? Maybe this is just a fluke and not sustainable. I feel like things could collapse like a house of cards at any moment!
- Burned out. I’m working SO hard, but I’m exhausted. Thank goodness I’m making money. But I really don’t know how long I can keep up this pace.
- Frustrated. My plan was to make more than this, but I’ve hit a ceiling. How do I grow? I have no idea how to get to the next level.
- Curious. Okay, so things are humming along. But I wonder if I’m missing opportunities that I’m not even aware of. Is there more this business could do?
- Afraid. We’re fine for now, but profits aren’t what they used to be. It seems like revenue is declining. Things are slowly sliding downhill, and I’m not sure what to do about that.
- Bored. Building a business was hard but exciting, and I did it. There’s no challenge in it anymore. There’s nothing new. I can do this in my sleep. Yawn.
- Worried. I’m worried because there doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about. Am I too comfortable? Am I making mistakes and don’t even realize it?
What can you do when you realize you’re feeling not-so-fine feelings like these?
FIRST, the best thing you can do is identify the specific emotion. Don’t judge. Don’t tell yourself you SHOULDN’T be feeling it. Whether or not you think your feelings are rational, justified, realistic, or reasonable doesn’t matter. Identify the feeling and name it. Be specific. Is it one of the feelings on this list? Or something else?
NEXT, figure out WHY you feel this way. What circumstances or events have triggered it or contribute to it? When do you feel this way the most?
FINALLY, decide whether there is something you can do to alleviate these feelings. What actions can you take? Is there a problem to be solved? Or am I just engaging in old patterns of thinking and feeling that aren’t serving me well?
BUT, if you can’t figure out HOW you’re feeling, and WHY you’re feeling it, and WHAT to do about it, maybe you could use some outside help. So, WHO can you turn for assistance? A colleague, mastermind group, accountability partner, friend, family member, coach, or consultant? Don’t suffer alone.
There’s nothing fun about having a business that’s doing fine if YOU aren’t feeling fine!