Deciding to venture out on your own is a bold and brave choice. Not many can do it. Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice. It takes grit; it means getting comfortable with discomfort and learning how to manage your weaknesses while playing off your strengths. Most importantly, it requires mental and emotional stability. As a female, it can be even more challenging. According to NatWest research, 60% of women fall prey to imposter syndrome, where they feel they are inadequate to do what they initially set out to do. To grow your mental and emotional strength, keep in mind the following eight tips as you continue your entrepreneurial journey:
Remember Your WHY
When you first came up with your business idea, what was the problem you wanted to solve, and why? Why do you care so much about XYZ? Who is it that you are trying to help, and why?
Your why is your motivation. It will be there when you are having a rough day or feeling like you are spinning on a hamster wheel. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. Your why is like the safety bar when you are riding in a roller coaster car. Hold on to it, during the highs and the lows. Remembering your why will ensure that you will be able to refocus your energy and get back up when you get down (which you will, and it is entirely normal). Remember your why!
And, watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk (often!).
2. Lean On Your Tribe
We all need a community. Even the most introverted people need others to connect with on an emotional and intellectual level. As an entrepreneur going full speed, it can be easy to forget your closest tribe members. Building a tribe may seem like a non-urgent task at the moment. However, it could potentially be the catalyst to your success as an entrepreneur.
From your tribe, you will receive emotional support. A safe place where you can vent and problem solve as well as gain valuable perspective. Not everyone you are associated with will be in your “tribe.” Individual family members and even long-time friends may not necessarily be the people to lean on during this transformational phase of your life. Only you can know who those people are. If you feel like you do not have a “tribe,” consider connecting with like-minded individuals by finding groups to join — online or in person.
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder
First, you should have a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and how they play out in your business. If you are overcompensating for a weakness in one particular area, consider alternative ways of addressing it rather than spending more time on it. For example, if digital marketing is not your strong suit, look online for templates and strategies that you can quickly modify to meet your needs. There is no need to recreate the wheel.
Likewise, if you find yourself doing the same thing repeatedly, automate that task or find a tool that will do it for you. There are many tools available online that help business owners, like yourself, reduce time wasted on repetitive tasks.
Lastly, consider using the priority matrix when you are laying out your goals for the week, month, quarter, and weekly and daily goals. What is most urgent and important? What can wait or should be ditched?
4. Make Time to Relax Your Mind
A relaxed mind and body lead to more creativity and productivity. When you enjoy relaxing activities, you will find that you can fully recharge and tackle more work later. For so long, people have touted the saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” This perspective encourages unhealthy behavior and hinders long-term health and success. Your body needs adequate sleep to function properly, and your mental and emotional well-being need it, too. Sleep, just like relaxing activities, plays an essential role in your ability to problem-solve while awake.
Relaxing does wonders for your creativity. When you give your mind permission to wander, you are making room for ideas to rise subconsciously, according to author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang who has studied the vital relationship between respite and work.
So make time to relax, whether that is going for a walk or reading a good book. Try to relax; you might be surprised at how many aha moments you have about your business when your mind is taking a break!
5. Learn How to Communicate & Listen
Being an effective communicator is more than just talking. It involves understanding the other person's perspective. Sometimes, communicating means, you should do more listening than speaking. Truly listen to others, do not merely wait your turn to speak. Listen to what they have to say and take the time to understand. To ensure you fully comprehend what they are sharing, ask clarifying questions, or say, "So that I understand, you want/feel/need/expect ..." to ensure you are both on the same page. When both parties feel heard, trust and respect are built. Business is all about how you communicate to the public, to your stakeholders, to your clients, etc.
6. Be an Autodidact
An autodidact is a self-learner, someone who is always continuing to learn despite your age. Try your best to continually learn new skills that will push you mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Learning new skills will help set you apart from others. Whatever you do, do not be stagnant. Learning keeps your life exciting, and it will fuel your ability to adapt as the times and technology change.
7. Embrace Set Backs
You are embarking on a journey that will most likely have many obstacles and times of immense self-doubt. Fully embrace these challenging times as opportunities for growth. When you are uncomfortable, but you choose to forge ahead, that is when you grow the most. A growth mindset will help you when you least expect it.
And after you get over that hurdle, take some time to reflect on what lessons you learned from your experience.
8. Be You. Seriously.
With social media in our faces, every day, it is easy to “see” who we think we should be. When this happens, consider taking a break from social media or anything else that is causing these self-sabotaging comparisons to come up. Then, reflect on what makes you unique and what gifts you have that shine a special light to your audience. Your clients/customers will respect and connect with you on a deeper level if you stick to who you are — quirks and all. Do not try to be anyone else. Yes, try to better yourself where you can, but do not alter yourself to fit a particular image. You are incredible, so be you.
Haley Brittingham is a former teacher turned digital marketing entrepreneur. She has a love for educating others to be their most optimal and joyful selves. You can connect with her on her newest venture Radiate Joie, a blog focused on actionable steps to improve your health, happiness, and love for yourself and others. Get doses of joie @Radiatejoie.