One of the hardest aspects of working for yourself is that you are self-reliant on picking yourself up, offering encouragement and motivation even when the chips are down.
The phone hasn’t rang for a couple of days, your inbox looks a little empty and your Twitter updates are falling on blind eyes.
I was on the phone to my dad and began to mumble that a little bit of self doubt was creeping in…
I was waiting for the comforting blanket of encouraging words that we seek out as youngsters when we say “I’m rubbish at art” and even though you are, and your portrait actually looks like a baked bean and mustard mash potato sandwich, your parents are there to say:
“Don’t be silly, look how much that baked bean you drew looks like an eye…” And magically we feel good about ourselves once more.
I was waiting for that…
what I got was: “Kick it out. Kick out Self Doubt…right now.”
End of discussion.
Whilst I felt robbed of some much needed molly coddling, and dad won’t be getting Life Coach of the Year award, he was right. I can’t afford to, or expect anyone else to gently encourage me. Time moves far too fast.
I can’t give you my dad’s mobile number for similar inspiration – he hasn’t learned how to answer incoming calls as yet. In fact there’s a rumour he’s been caught trying to change the TV channel with his phone, but it’s unfounded at the moment.
What I can do is give you some easy and practical hints and tips to try to boost those flagging spirits when you feel like curling up under the duvet and going back to bed.
Forget Employment Comforts
Think about the reasons that stoked up the passion to leave. Inflexible hours? Not being listened to? Not following your dream? You’re bound to miss some things, but try to remember the things you don’t miss.
Relive Past victories
Quite often we berate ourselves for not doing enough and forget all the amazing things we have accomplished. Think about times where you have been proud of what you have achieved, no matter how small: a good exam, a pleased client, getting your degree, being there for a friend.
Far from forgetting these moments think also about how you achieved these. Were you more determined than usual? Did you set aside uninterrupted hours for study? Did you go the extra mile for a client? Learn from your successes if you want to repeat your successes.
Let it bleed…and then move on
A pivotal book for me was Ben Stein’s Bunkhouse Logic, which is where I first heard this concept. I strongly recommend the book to anyone who is frustrated by not achieving their dreams.
In short, if you are upset, down, frustrated, don’t deny that emotion, but don’t let it control you either. Shout, scream, cry. Let it out and then move on because retained emotions can immobilise you.
I also suggest you check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s vibrant video post about how to “stop crying and start hustling”
Laughter frees up frustration inside and gets the diaphragm moving which gives you an energy boost, and it also feels pretty good too. Take 5 minutes, hop on to YouTube and find something that makes you giggle.
Recommended if you work at home, but not ruled out if you don’t. Grab your MP3 player, turn on the stereo, take a whole song and dance…like you danced when you were six. I’m talking arms flailing, bouncing on the spot if you’ve run out of moves or even skidding on your knees school disco style. Let yourself feel silly, dance to the whole song and you’ll be surprised how energised you feel afterwards.
Have an imaginary Mentor Pep talk
Imagine your idols are in your room and you’re pouring your heart out feeling mopey. What would they say? It’s not uncommon for me to invite Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Diamond, Dr. Dyer, Robert Ringer into my head and give me the half time talk I’m in need of.
Reignite Your Dreams
This is what it’s all about remember. You turned your back on structure so that you can carve your own path. Visualise it, remind yourself what it is that you want. Sometimes I find myself so lost in everything I think I should be doing that I forget what it is that I actually want to achieve. Regroup, focus, keep a list of your goals at hand and make sure that your day to day activities are steering you there.
Above all else keep going, and let me know how you motivate yourself when you’re feeling blue.