Today is another emotionally draining day in my life and business. Things haven’t been going the way I want them to for a long, long time now. It’s one of those moments when others around you remind you that there must be other ways (get a 9 to 5, move back to your cheap home country, or pick any other conventional path in life that requires less risk and uncertainty).
That’s when on top of your negative emotions, you gotta handle theirs and the way their feedback makes you feel. Of course, there’s also the possibility of not sharing your problems or vision with others, so you have less disbelief to deal with.
The reality of business is that you wake up every day and you find hope again, you try again, you throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. You remind yourself why you’re in this, you ignore the naysayers, you let go of how long this path is gonna take and when you’ll reach your goals, and once again – you choose to focus on the bigger impact.
On your content, your mission, the people you get to connect with through your work, the lives you get to touch, the encouraging emails and messages you get from readers or listeners or students. And that keeps you going.
There are a million reasons why people don’t make it in the online business world, or why they don’t stay in it long enough. For each, you gotta turn the negative self-talk around and choose to stay in it for the long haul.
Now that I’ve been self-employed for almost a decade, I’ve created the level of trust that seems ridiculous to others, but which I understand on a deeper level.
It’s the kind of trust that makes you calm in the most unstable situation, when things aren’t going well financially, and emotionally, and with others aspects of your life.
But you’ve been through unpleasant situations before, they’ve lasted longer, and yet, here you are.
Not just this, but each was an absolutely necessary step so you could leave behind an old business strategy that doesn’t work. Or so you could take bigger action online, embrace the next level of your identity, improve your content, release better offers, make big decisions, lifestyle changes, or anything else.
When I look back, I know that the negative moments, no matter how long they lasted, were the most empowering times in my business and I can’t describe how deeply grateful I am for them.
The most important skill of all
Thanks to them, I develop the most important skill of all – adaptability. The ability to adapt to change, to be okay with it, and to even make the most of it. The knowing that change is the only constant, and you either go with it or get out of the race. The knowing that no matter what, you will still be here tomorrow and so can your business. And at the same time – to understand the mortality of things and not let it stop you.
This is where I wanna add a dose of Stoicism which is my new little obsessions. The Stoics were masters of doing hard things, and doing them with their head up and their mind clear.
They didn’t deny the presence of death in any moment, they chose to wake up every day and face the truth. They chose to practice poverty on purpose (like Seneca did once a month), to welcome criticism and rejection and to even expect it instead of fearing it, and to find hope and show courage in the face of anything life throws at them (including how Marcus Aurelius found the will to keep going after burying six of his children).
When we compare our life to the lives of Stoics, it can seem easier. And because we are all equipped with the same potential, if they can do it, so can we.
The pain of personal growth is why most people decide not to dig deeper into their subconscious mind, not heal their traumas, not accept their weaknesses, not face rejection, not leave or start a relationship, not ask for more in life.
And the hard aspects of business are why they choose anything else but that, even though they might continue living with regret for the rest of their lives. And I definitely don’t mean that business is for everyone. But those who know it’s for them, those who simply cannot take it anymore in the corporate world or as part of the system, will ask themselves daily what it could have been. That’s a harder way to live, in my opinion, than to face the uncertainty and other challenging emotions that business can bring.
What are you going to devote your life to?
I made my decision a long time ago – that’s personal growth and business, both of which lead to all the types of freedom. And believe me when I say it, nothing compares to emotional freedom.
I decided a long time ago to make friends with the pain of personal growth and the hardships of business. They come and go, but one thing always kept being the same – after each, I reach a next level of who I am and it’s been fascinating.
I said earlier that today is another emotionally draining day in my life and business. But guess what? It’s not anymore.
In a short time I did the following:
- I faced the emotions caused by a loved one who was often my biggest supporter but today felt discouraged by how things are going for me and was harsh on me;
- I forgave them and forgave myself (don’t forget that forgiveness is not a one-time thing but a constant process, a daily practice);
- I published a free chapter of my new book;
- I sent my weekly newsletter and added some valuable tips inside;
- I wrote this piece;
- I felt deep gratitude for being in business and having turned personal growth into an ongoing activity;
- I reminded myself that my soul chose all this long before I came here;
- I remembered who I am, what I do and why, and I felt peace;
- I remembered that there’s no one else I’d like to live like, and I wouldn’t have it any other way;
- I reminded myself of the fact that any piece of content I create has the potential to inspire someone on the verge of giving up and make them try one more time. This one attempt can be what ultimately helps them see light in the tunnel and follow their vision, which ultimately contributes to them using more of their potential, doing work that matters and finding meaning in life;
- I remembered that there’s nothing else I’d rather do than writing this piece right now and infusing my unique energy into it before releasing it into the world;
- I remembered that a year from now I can be in a completely different place and this stage now can seem and feel so distant, simply because I will be a completely different version of myself.
The same applies to your, my friend.
Why give up, why insist on avoiding pain and discomfort? Why create more regret into the world? Why do what so many others have done?
That’s not to say that everyone should keep working on the same thing. No. I’m all about starting over, changing directions, moving to a completely new business model if you have to, taking a break and trying again after some time. But make sure you do it for the right reasons.
Giving up is an option, and it’s available to you at any moment.
That’s one of those subtle ways the Universe tests you to see if you’re really serious about making this work. The Universe only gives us what we want when we show we can handle what we have.
So can you? If this is what you want, if this is the path you’ve chosen, what does it matter how long it will take, who will try to talk you out of it, how much pain it involves, or how many business ideas will fail?
This is bigger than me and you, this is the long game. There’s no end destination.
You can be a millionaire a year from now, but also feel shittier than now and decide to restructure everything.
You can be a single mom today that barely makes ends meet, and you can have regular 5-figure months some time from now, work minimum hours, and actually help people with what you do, while providing the best possible lifestyle and emotional support to your kids.
I’ve seen many people in the industry do it. Sometimes they feel better, sometimes – worse. Sometimes it happens in 6-8 months, other times it takes a decade.
These factors only have meaning if we give them some. Without that, they are neutral.
I invite you today to choose courage.
To pick yourself up again. To forgive anyone who can’t understand you, support you, and be there for you in the way you need them. I invite you to be your own emotional support.
It takes only one person to believe in you. If that’s not you right now, then let it be me.
Whoever you are, wherever you come from, regardless of whether you’re new or advanced in business, I believe in you. You have what it takes and you can get there.
I hope this is enough to help you keep going one more day. Tomorrow, find another source of inspiration, there are plenty online and in your mind and everywhere around you.
I hope this helped. Thanks for reading this far. If you wanna listen to the podcast episode, tune in below:
Stock Photo from Dean Drobot @ Shutterstock