#292 We all have to deal with strong emotions and yet if you’re an entrepreneur you also have to figure out doing business anyway.
If you’re running a business, no wait really, if you are the business, then inevitably you’re going to run into moments when life happens. You will have to both run your business and deal with the unpleasant reality that our loved ones are born, get married, break bones, have accidents, die, and you have emotions around all of it.
You’ll move, have arguments, and break up. You’ll miss planes and get stranded. You’ll encounter technology not working. You’ll lose people and you’ll need to train others. You’ll get sick or have car trouble. You will have an old dog that needs care.
All of those things will show you the leaks in your business. At least they did for me.
Doing Business Anyway
You’ll have to make hard choices and sometimes through all of that, you can’t control your emotions.
Recently, I went through a tough time. I’m talking about it here because of the opportunity it’s provided me to see what needs to happen next for me.
I also realized that much of what I default to doing to myself is not moving my business forward as much as it is a distraction and a comfort to leftover feelings of fear that may not be justified in the moment.
Strong Emotions and Doing Business Anyway
One of the last trips to see my mom, and it wasn’t pleasant. She’d struggled after her fall and surgery. She felt less stable. She was resisting moving to assisted living.
This is all the emotions and decisions that any adult child goes through really. It’s not a surprise. But you definitely get it when it’s you. I was locked and loaded with a hot spot so I could work while I sat with her. And then that never happened. There’s just way too much to do. And she and I spent time quality time going through memories and journals. And that time was absolutely precious.
But other moments of that trip were horrendous. There was a quarantine from covid the first day I was there. I got food poisoning and so for the last two days I was there I couldn’t see her. I then had a flight cancelled and was stranded for two days in Des Moines, Iowa, still recovering from the food poisoning.
That was just the beginning of a downward spiral of my mom’s health.
I had fears at the beginning. I definitely did, and for good reason, really. I got down to very little in my bank account. My house was for sale but there were no buyers and it was -20 too near Christmas for anyone to really want to buy. It was then that I learned the habits I’ve kept for longer than they serve me.
I roll up my sleeves. I go to work. I make things, I’ll say that too.
Like you maybe, which is why I say this, I tend to create things. The reality is that I’ve become the most successful by slowing down creating and amplifying the marketing. I have award-winning content and programs that get rave reviews. So, what I really need is not another program, but more people in my programs.
But we default to the old patterns… at least until we break them.
Most recently this has been what I’m dealing with. My mother passed and for the last couple months it’s been down hill and we knew it was on an accelerated path. I found myself not wanting to take care of other people, just wanting to be taken care of.
When you feel like this you only have so much bandwidth to function. You’re not likely to be able to take care of everyone else in the way that you usually do. Juggling things that normally are nothing are much harder.
So, if you keep having the same expectations of yourself, but aren’t able to have the same work habits as you usually do, it creates some friction. Doing business anyway is sometimes hard, and sometimes a distraction that can support you through hard times.
All of that leads to fatigue and it can get hard to take care of yourself. This one must be the hardest of all to handle. It’s unpredictable. It’s not a fever, a cold, or the stomach flu. It’s not a fight that you’ll be mad about and then make up from.
You also have to think about the holidays. I say that now because it’s fresh on my mind that these will be the first holidays without my mom and it’s a fresh wound anyway. It’s not the first holiday I haven’t been able to be with her. We all experienced that during COVID. And I’d had others where that was true too. But I’ll be alone this Christmas and at Thanksgiving without that phone call to make where we pass it around the room.
What do you do during the holidays? How do you automate during the holidays? How do you promote? It’s time to think about not just making things happen or attaching your “success” to how much money you’re bringing in, but to how you’re doing it. Are you bringing it in in a way that is sustainable, and you love? Or are you building a business you don’t love and want to keep doing?
It’s so important to consider your answer to that. Sooner rather than later.
Had I not had time to pause I may not have realized how much I’ve carried over habits I began when business was very different to now when I can build a sustainable business and do it with more thought.
What’s the Bottomline?
The biggest take-aways from this episode are that business will have ups and downs. Those are more predictable usually, though I think we can agree the pandemic threw everyone for a loop. When you find yourself doing business anyway during tough times, you’ll realize that you’ve found the consistency you want.
But more importantly, life will have ups and downs. The way I describe ideal workout planning for women in midlife is that it’s a sweet spot of stress. Just enough, not too much not too little. So, if life is full of emotional stressors or financial ones, then the workouts should back off.
It’s the Same in Business
The same is true of business. When you’re struggling with a lot of emotional stressors, or you’re trying to hit a big physical activity challenge yourself, it may not be the best time to push any business goals. Your business might plateau or even dip. Sometimes that’s ok.
At least you want it to be ok. You want to know where your space is for your breakeven. Your burn rate. Like every month I know how much my team expenses are going to be. And I know how much equipment and platform expenses will be. I want a profit margin above that.
If I’ve had a healthy couple months with a large profit margin I might expect things to be a little quiet and be fine with that, knowing my average is still up.