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Entrepreneurship can be an incredible, freeing, empowering experience that brings joy, success, creativity, and control to your life.
But being an entrepreneur is also an emotional roller coaster ride filled with drama, rejection, overwhelm, and discouragement.
We’ve all been there – feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom when the launch you’ve worked on for months flops or when your book proposal is rejected for the thirty-fifth time.
All types of entrepreneurs, including writers, coaches, therapists, lawyers, designers, and actors endure the pain of feeling invisible, soooo far behind everyone else, imposter syndrome, and dealing with internet trolls who write soul-crushing reviews.
Business drama just comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur, but the emotional toll it takes on us is something rarely discussed (hello, mental health stigma).
And because we don’t talk about the moments of failure, disappointment, public humiliation, and fear we experience along the way, entrepreneurs often feel alone… like they’re the only ones experiencing all those messy emotions.
Feeling alone, inadequate, like a total failure trapped in an endless cycle of “compare and despair”, many entrepreneurs throw in the towel and call it quits in their business because it’s just too hard and too much to deal with.
After all, you can only take hearing “no” so many times before you want to stop asking. You can only handle so many meetings, auditions, consultations, emails, and pitches that lead to zero paying clients and a stack of rejection letters before your ego becomes bruised and a voice inside your head says, “This crap is for the birds. Peace out.”
The saddest thing ever is when a brilliant entrepreneur (like you) gives up on her business because she doesn’t know she’s brilliant, or because she gets too bogged down with business drama, or loses passion for her work because of all the emotional ups and downs.
Why is it sad?
Because the world needs your gifts, knowledge, experience, expertise, and voice. If you let business drama snuff out your light, we’ll all live in a world of darkness.
// What if Robin Williams gave up acting after being rejected after his first few auditions? We’d have missed out on laughing our butts off at Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin just wouldn’t be the same.
// What if Katy Perry and Taylor Swift let their year-long rivalry get the best of them and they both stopped recording albums? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world without music like Firework and Shake It Off.
// Imagine how awful it would be if Julia Quinn had thrown her manuscripts for Bridgerton in the trash because she didn’t believe her writing was any good. None of us would ever have the intense pleasure of watching those steamy sex scenes between Simon and Daphne.
The world needs your work just as much.
And my guess is that you wouldn’t have started your business in the first place if it wasn’t something you loved doing. You need to keep doing what you love… or infuse some more passion and pleasure into your work if you’ve lost that loving feeling for it.
Don’t know where to start?
Here are 4 ways entrepreneurs can build emotional resiliency and overcome business drama:
- Add more pleasure to your life and business.
When you get the notice that you’ve been passed up for the job or read the scathing 2-star review of your work, it feels like the sky is falling and absolutely everything in life sucks, especially being an entrepreneur.
Instead of crawling under the covers and ugly crying, do something that feels like a swoon worthy guilty pleasure. Savor a hot vanilla latte while people watching in the park. (A little voyeurism never hurt anybody!) Indulge in a mani/pedi. Call your bestie and gossip about the latest Hollywood celebrity romances. Crank up your favorite Lizzo tune as you write your next blog post.
Pleasure is the antidote to sadness, disappointment, and rejection.
- Focus on what’s going well.
Rather than obsessing over all the bad news, the things that didn’t get done on your to-do list, or the opportunities that didn’t pan out, focus on what’s working, what’s going well, and what you did accomplish.
Maybe you only enrolled four students in your course when your goal was twenty, but it’s still a success because you get to provide an OMG! experience for those students and make them raving fans. The editor you pitched said “no” this time, but now they’re familiar with you and your work, and next time you might get a “yes!”.
Every little win is worth celebrating. Find the good and throw a party because of it!
- Connect with a business bestie.
Most entrepreneurs work alone most of the time, and operating in a vacuum is boring and lonely. When you’ve just been hammered with serious business drama, you need a trusted friend who can relate to your experiences, lend a listening ear, or extend a virtual hug.
Sharing the challenges and messy moods that inevitably creep up in business can be incredibly healing, because it proves that you’re not alone (your business bestie has likely gone through something similar) and that you’re a human deserving of love and respect (even if copywritergirl1380 says you’re clueless, off trend, and a waste of internet space).
Plus, your business bestie might have some stellar advice to help you overcome obstacles or shift your perspective so you can find new solutions to old problems.
- Turn envy into inspiration.
One of the most common feelings among entrepreneurs is feeling soooo far behind everyone else. When your social feed is blowing up with selfies of ultra successful entrepreneurs celebrating their six-figure launches and announcing their new book is a New York Times Bestseller, it’s easy to get down on yourself and feel like you’ll NEVER get there.
Instead of turning into a green-eyed monster filled with envy, see their massive success as evidence of what’s possible for you. If they can achieve it, you can too. Let the wins of other people inspire you to keep working hard on your dreams, and remember – no one becomes successful overnight. Not even the big name superstars.
You owe it to yourself, your business, your clients, and the world to keep doing the work you love and keep finding joy in entrepreneurship.
So, when the going gets tough and your heart starts to hurt from business drama, pull up this list and flex that emotional resiliency muscle.
There are many more ways to build emotional resiliency and manage the twists and turns throughout your business journey.
If you want to learn how, check out this special event for entrepreneurs/authors/artists/creatives hosted by Alexandra Franzen.
This event is a conversation with a panel of mental health experts (including me!) about how entrepreneurial folks can stay healthy, strong, and cope with the unique stresses of self-employment.
I hope you’ll join me there!
In the meantime, go binge on Sweet Magnolias episodes and add some pleasure to your day!