• Susanne Birgersdotter

Running a business is more than just a lifestyle, a career, or a source of livelihood. Running a business is a journey. And just like life, it is filled with the unexpected, excitement, horrors, struggles, and achievements. It needs your full commitment. If you want to experience the best of the business world, you have to throw yourself fully into it. No buts, no ifs, no halfhearted tries.

There are two types of newbie entrepreneurs, those who are testing waters with one foot, and those who dive into the water heedlessly. The first group will slowly get the feel of the water – its depth, its temperature, its safety. They will learn and will slowly move forward. The second group will flounder for a bit. There will be surprises – the water is too deep, too cold, or a sting from something. But they will learn fast and will soon be on their way swimming across the water. It is the first group thatwill turn around at the first sign of trouble. The second one already conquered it when they took the leap of faith.

But then, you’ve only just started. The real challenge is keeping your focus and commitment to the life you’ve chosen. It is tooeasy to get sidetracked, too many distractions, too easy to give up. How does one keep their commitment strong and their goals clear?

It is very common for entrepreneurs to want to quit. There will be a lot of days when you’ll feel lost and wonder about the purpose of your endeavors. There will be nights when you’ll be too tired to even think of the next day. There will be weeks on end that you’ll just be coping with the tasks, you’ll wonder if what you’re doing have anything to do with your goals in life.

How does one keep sane when your drowning of things to do? When the pressure gets too much, how does one keep grounded and focused? How do you keep fighting when you don’t know the adversary? How does one keep on swimming?

Here are some techniques that helped me through the most trying times of my business journey. I practice most of it, just to keep my balance. I hope these can help better whatever situation you’re in;

Don’t stop doing the things you love – Many entrepreneurs will give up a hobby or a passion when things get too hectic in the business. They will stop doing the things they love so they can spend more time in the business. They might miss out on their child’s birthday because they have an important meeting to go to. They will forget about gardening or ‘postpone’ travel because they are too time-consuming. There will be endless ‘must-do’ tasks, but do not forsake the things that you love and enjoy. You will never feel successful if you can’t enjoy and spend life as you like it.

Prioritize self-care – Your mental and physical health is key to your success. You will need a healthy body and a sound mind to run a business. One cannot work or make good decisions if one is physically and mentally challenged. You will never be able to focus on your goals if you have health issues. A healthy diet, regular exercise, enough rest and sleep, and frequent downtimes will give your body and mind the rest it needs. Loving yourself will make you happier and keeps you motivated.

Keep in touch with your inner circle – Keep your inner circle of friends and family close. Go out with your girlfriends every nowand then, talk to your mom more often, spend quality time with your children, go out on dates with your significant other. The closest people are often the first to blur out of our priorities.Ironically, they are also the reason you want to succeed. Keep them close, they are the anchor who will keep you steady and safe during storms and rough waters.

Don’t sweat the small things – Forget perfection. Nothing is perfect. Do not wait for the perfect product to launch, for the flawless website to unveil, or for the impeccable business plan. You will get nowhere when you’re aiming for perfect. It will only leave your stressed and distracted from your real goals. Launch that product, publish that website, and dive into that business soon, now. There will always be time for tweaks and improvements and upgrades. Besides, I can imagine life to be so boring after perfection – no more room for improvements, no more growth, no more challenges.

Create a vision board – This is a fun project which you can make alone or with the important people in your life. A vision board is a reminder of all your goals and dreams. Usually done yearly, you can add images of things you want to achieve for the next twelvmonths, figures or amounts you want to earn, andgoal statements. You can display your board in your office to motivate you to work and to remind you of the reasons for working. You can also put it in your bedroom where you can reflect on it and gives you a boost in the morning.

Pay it forward – Show your gratitude by paying it forward. My favorite maxim says, “Receivers eat better, givers sleep better.” You may be helping other people, animals in need, or the environment, but you are also helping yourself. Giving is an effective stress reliever, a happy pill, and a great reminder of all the blessings you enjoy. I like to think of acts of kindness as a great way of building good karma. And it is! When you feel good, you’re also motivated, happy, and content.