The entrepreneurial struggle can arouse some powerful negative emotions - frustration, self-doubt, jealousy, anger, disappointment, exhaustion, conflict, confusion, and depression, to name a few. As a business owner you put yourself out there on a daily basis and face the world, hoping other people will accept you and your offerings. You face judgement and rejection. You battle threatening market forces that are out of your control - competitors, the economy, technology, weather, etc. Your entrepreneurial mind faces negative forces from within yourself, the people you deal with, and the circumstances you work in.
It can be difficult to navigate through challenges while keeping your head right...
We instinctively make decisions and react to situations based on deep emotional drivers. I learned early on in my business that negative responses really are of no benefit to my business. It may bring a temporary release of stress, but the results rarely align with my objectives for success and happiness. So I've had to train myself to manage my emotions when doing business. That means stepping aside when emotions run high. It means taking deep breaths to release tension. It means thinking carefully before I speak. It means weeding through the emotions and looking at issues rationally. It means looking at a situation from another person's viewpoint. It means focusing on objectives and outcomes, rather than whining, blaming, sulking. It means focusing on what I can control, and accepting what I can't. All of this takes a lot of intention and effort.
Which led me to reflect on a couple of traits that, had they taken root, could have taken me and my business down. These two toxic traits can creep into our mindset and kill our success and contentment. Bitterness and entitlement are self-fulfilling and self-defeating.
Bitterness can feel like the the world is against us, that we have been treated unfairly. It often relates to comparing ourself with the success of others. It is utterly toxic, blurring our ability to see and appreciate the good things in life. It serves no beneficial purpose and can only wreck your ability to thrive.
Entitlement feels like you deserve something. It has to do with our expectations of others, and of the world in general. You may find your self using the word 'should' a lot. You may find yourself feeling discouraged, like your life doesn't measure up to your expectations. Entitlement can push others away and make it difficult for you to find happiness in life.
But the world doesn't owe anyone anything, it is indifferent. We are not a victims. Sure, life can be tough and we may have had to face a lot of unfair circumstances. But being a victim is a choice that disempowers us and keeps us stuck. If we find ourself on the bad side of a business deal, or worse, being taken advantage of, it can be tempting to look for a way to even the scales of justice. This mindset does not facilitate long term success. Rather, its better to mine the situation for any lessons to learn, fix what can be salvaged and focus on proactive initiatives. Negative experiences can help us to set boundaries, adjust our values, screen and communicate better, think twice about commitments made. More money can always be made, but personal relationships and physical/mental well being are priceless.
Better to find pleasure in working hard and creating value for others. Lowering expectations of ourselves and life in general. Cultivate appreciation for the good and never allow bitterness to sap you of strength, positivity, or the ability to improve the lives of others. Bitterness and entitlement are 2 negative traits that we should avoid developing within ourselves.
The following link to a fascinating TEDtalk discusses a negative trait that could be manifest in others, which could likewise compromise the success of our business:
TEDtalk by Adam Grant - Are you a giver or a taker?