Having faith and trust in yourself is hard. It’s a lot easier to come up with all the reasons not to believe in yourself. You simply look at everything you haven’t done, why it’s taking you too long to accomplish your goals, make everyone who doesn’t believe in you either, right, and talk yourself out of all your “foolish” ideas because you don’t have time for dreams.
Faith. Trust. Vision. Belief. All of these are hard.
Last week I flew home from Orlando amidst the super rainy, stormy, cloudy weather we’ve been blessed with in the Northeast. As we began our decent into New York, we entered into thick clouds. Normal, ok. Only, they never left. We made our entire way down through the sky looking out at clouds. Just clouds. It felt like we weren’t anywhere, and we were standing still, and it was also a bit claustrophobic. There was no visibility. There was no escaping. There was just the puffiness and wisps of clouds upon clouds. I mused that it was like being in heaven, if they serve nuts and pretzels in heaven. It also at times felt like being in an insane asylum with about 100 other people in my room, minus the straight jackets…It occurred to me in that moment that this was the epitome of trust and faith. I could look out that window, build up my anxiety about what might happen, whether it was even possible to land and get into a panic, or, I could breathe, have faith that the pilot knew what he was doing, and trust that he would land the plane safely. Of course, even if the pilot knew what he was doing, I didn’t know what he was doing. Trust is not easy, but in this case, it allowed me to let go, breathe, and surrender to the possibility that everything would work out fine. Business is the same way – sometimes we have great months, sometimes we don’t. Despite all the planning we do, we might not be able to see everything that’s coming.
Faith. Trust. Vision. Belief. All of these are essential to running a successful business.
Money comes in, and money goes out, like the tide. Clients line up, and clients disappear. People love your work, people hate your work. The only possible constant in your business is you. Don’t be the tide, be the anchor. Trust that while everything around you may be in flux, you don’t have to be. Hold on to the vision of what you want your business to become even when the reality of your business looks totally different. Believe that you can reach and change your destination no matter how far away it seems. Make it normal to ride the tough moments with a deep breath.
So, how do you hold on to faith in your business during stormy moments? Here are a few ideas:
- Breathe. One of the first things we forget to do when we get stressed out is breathe. Well, obviously if we’re alive, we’re breathing, but I’m talking about conscious breathing, where you pay attention and notice your breath.
- Ground yourself. If your business is spiraling, you can often find the root of the roller-coaster swirling within yourself. The way to stop your business from feeling out of control is to first find a solid place to stand within yourself.
- Let go of the past. Whatever hasn’t been working is already done. You can’t change it, so stop beating yourself up, and accept it.
- Learn from experience. Now that you’re done feeling bad about things, you can plug into what the experience has taught you and brainstorm ideas to do things differently.
- Plan the future. Now you can draw a new path to the future you want, and have the insight to know that if you can survive once, you can do it all over again.
- Make a list. If you’re having a “famine” month after several “feast” months – it’s likely that you have simply moved your focus. Write down the activities you did the 3 months before the “feast” months, and then write down the activities you did the 3 months before a “famine” month. You will likely find that when you are in feast mode, you neglect your client outreach and marketing work because you focus, instead, on fulfilling client obligations. Make a point to ALWAYS find a way to do client outreach and marketing, no matter how meaty your month is.
Faith. Trust. Vision. Belief. All of these depend on you.