Many entrepreneurs struggle with the ups and downs of building a new business. The quick mood swings in what’s happening for your new product/service makes it hard to take a step back and find ways to celebrate the small victories while building businesses. As this process continues, you can lose sight of where you are headed and become so focused in the short term that it begins to hurt your new business.
I have been an entrepreneur for over 10 years now and have road the roller coaster first hand. Building your own business requires a critical amount of self-understanding and organization to make sure that you are steering the ship in the right direction at most times. As you are focusing on the day to day, you lose sight of what was a victory or a goal achieved. You look past celebrating and onto the next step that must be taken to reach an even longer term goal. Once you land in this cycle, it’s difficult to step back and appreciate what you are building.
In this column, I’ll dive into how I’ve learned to celebrate the small victories while building my first four businesses. It didn’t come easy at first and it was hard work to get to a point where I could do it regularly. Being able to celebrate those small victories helps to keep your mind sane and focused on the positive. Focusing on the positive only leads to more positive events for the growth of your company.
Finding a Balance between Work and Play
I’ve stated this before, but when done the right way, entrepreneurs should find it very hard to find the difference between work and play. As you are building your business, you should be passionate about what you are doing and excited for each new day that you have an opportunity to grow more.
To some, that becomes an excuse to work endless hours without taking breaks to appreciate your own personal time as well. Don’t get me wrong. All entrepreneurs should be working 50-70 hour weeks depending on the time frame, but you have to make a conscious effort to keep a balance in your life as well.
Here are a few best practices that I’ve found helpful for maintaining a balance in my life.
Schedule time in your day for activities outside work
If you don’t make a conscious effort to schedule time out in your day where you are work free, you’re never going to be completely work free. There is always something else that could be worked on or a new problem that could be fixed. When you schedule that time, turn your phone off, shut your computer, and live in the moment with whatever you are doing.
Find hobbies that you are equally as passionate about outside of work
There must be other things in life that you can be equally as passionate about as building your company. Find 2-3 of those activities and work them into your life when you are not working. For me, I am super passionate about reading, running, and writing. When I’m not working, there is a high chance I am doing one of those three activities. Surrounding yourself with what you are most passionate about brings the most out of your life and can lead to a higher level of happiness.
I started learning about meditation and the power of it in 2010 while I was living and interning in South Africa. Someone had a book written by the Dalai Lama focused on the purpose and act of meditation and I read it within a week or so. It was a quick read, but packed with information and teachings on how to start meditating.
If you haven’t meditated before, it is simply sitting down in a quiet, safe space, closing your eyes, and working to remove all active thoughts that are passing through your brain. As you listen to more and more of them, things get quieter over time and you can really begin to relax both your mind and your body. Stresses can be forgotten about and it really allows you to recharge.
I introduce you to these three best practices because being grounded and passionate about finding a balance can put you in a better mindset to remember to appreciate the small victories. As I became more in tune with the three best practices above, I found myself being able to comprehend situations and events much more deeply than before when I was still trying to figure a lot of things out.
The Ongoing Challenges of Celebrating the Small Victories
While everything sounds figured out above, there are plenty of times that the roller coaster is at an all time low and it makes it extremely difficult to appreciate those small wins that you may gain in your fight back to the high.
A very strong internal trait of mine is that I am very self-critical of what I am able to achieve in given time periods. I would argue that this is a common trait of most entrepreneurs. I am always pretending that I can achieve a particular goal within an unreasonable time period because I want it to be a reality quickly.
Before understanding how to take a step back to understand what was happening at all times, I had a tendency to mentally question the goals that I had created. When you start to question yourself and your goals, you become less confident in where you are headed and you can even temporarily lose sight of that vision that you are chasing after.
When you lose sight of that vision, you don’t know how to define a victory making it almost impossible to appreciate and recognize them.
Set Aside One Time Each Week for Appreciation & Reflection
If you’re relating to what I’m writing about and want to find that place where you are appreciating what is happening around you, take this advice.
Find one time in each week or day that you consistently reflect on what has happened and where you have made a victory.
It can be as short as 10 minutes in that time period that you carve out. For me, I’ve found it most successful to reflect right as I am laying down to fall asleep. As I close my eyes, I take 10 minutes and I run through what’s happened and where we’ve taken steps forward. Going to sleep on a positive note can work wonders for your following day.
Finally, be thankful for what you have and who you have in your life. They are the ones that continually provide you support and love you no matter what new venture you are getting into. Recognizing thanks on a consistent basis can also place you in a more positive state of mind where you are inviting other positive events into your life.