In business, part of what keeps us from achieving all that we are capable of is a cycle of negative self talk that I think we learn from going through various challenges in life. When we feel like we haven’t reached a goal fast enough, or succeeded in the way that we define “success” for ourselves, our minds start telling us we’re “not good enough,” “not smart enough,” etc. For some reason, we find it so much easier to criticize ourselves, to think of all the reasons why we CAN’T do something. And those thoughts are toxic to our success.
In my career to date, I’ve been blessed with high-ranking corporate jobs. I always left of my own accord for better opportunities. Several years ago, I decided to leave a stable corporate job to start my own business public relations agency.
As any small business owner can likely tell you, the past seven years have been a roller coaster ride. Incredible flexibility for my family, super successful years followed by really tough ones. I’ve ramped up staff only to have to turn around and let them go when times got tough. Today, my business is at a crossroads. The business model I developed – fewer clients at a higher price point – doesn’t match today’s marketplace. So it’s time to reinvent. To better face the market. To embrace change.
Now I could tell myself I’m at this crossroads because (here comes the negative self talk) “I’m a failure,” “My business model was flawed from day one,” – but that kind of thinking isn’t going to help me move forward now is it?
Entrepreneurs have to get rid of this damaging cycle of negative self-talk. You’re an entrepreneur because you’re not afraid to take risks! Because you’re brave. Because you believe in something. And you’re a success for taking that entrepreneurial leap that so many don’t have the guts to take! It’s time for all of us to work on caring less about the unreasonable pressures we put on ourselves to be perfect from day one of a business and understand that the “journey” of business has many twists and turns. Changing directions is part of the path to success! Deciding to turn a blind eye to what the market is telling you because you refuse to bend on your business model is what will hurt you in the end.
As I get older, a positive that has come with age is that I’m no longer afraid to ask for help. A strong business owner will turn to the people around them that they trust in hard times – leaning on them for ideas, motivation, support. When you face those inevitable twists and turns in business, kindly give yourself permission to not know it all, quiet all that negative self talk that will try to creep into your brain, and lean on your trusted colleagues, friends, mentors and advisors for support. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s being smart and resourceful.
When I first got involved in the local women’s business center – weVENTURE – as a mentee, I felt completely alone in my business struggles. I had absolutely no one in my life who understood what it was like to try to make a business work alone while raising kids and having no real personal support network.
What I learned through my mentoring experience was how to get out of my own head, how to trash that negative self-talk and continue forward. I also think that one of the most important gifts I received from the experience was having access to (and garnering the friendship of) a network of incredibly bright women and business owners who really understood what it was like to be me! There’s something really comforting about knowing that you’re not alone.
Today, as I go through my current business challenges, I’m reaching out to that network – those women that understand and “get it,” the ones that I admire most, and am picking their brains on next steps to best face today’s market and make my business as successful as it can be moving forward.
Having a network of strong, independent colleagues that truly inspire and motivate you to continue on in your most challenging moments. That is invaluable.
And when you are at that place where your business is humming along and doing well, consider using your past challenges to return the favor – to help other business owners with their own challenges. Helping other entrepreneurs learn how to jump some of the same hurdles you faced in the past is so valuable. We all need to help each other create a thriving economy and business environment – together.
Encountering defeat – challenges in your personal and professional life – are only temporary setbacks. You learn so much from going through these trials – so much that you can help others from and get stronger from yourself.
So don’t let your challenges define you. The trials we go through are a blessing in disguise. But you have to CHOOSE to see them in that way… and use them to pave your path to happiness and success.
And if you need help getting out of your own way – out of your own negative thoughts when times get tough – get support from others! Organizations like weVENTURE are here to help you do just that. And don’t forget to continue to cultivate your own personal network of strong, supportive business owners that can help you achieve your goals and keep you motivated when times are tough.
You got this!
Tina Lange, APR is the owner and chief strategist of Strategic Ink Public Relations in Melbourne. Strategic Ink handles PR and social media programs for a wide range of local, regional and national nonprofit and for-profit companies in the medical, arts, aerospace, high-tech and BtoB sectors. Tina is a graduate and mentor of the weVENTURE IGNITE 360 Business Mentoring Program as well. To
learn more about Strategic Ink, visit www.strategicinkpr.com.
Columnist series is sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.