I’ve had plenty of experience when it comes to adversity and roadblocks. Throughout my minor and major projects, countless systemic and personal difficulties have presented themselves. Yet, if I hadn’t been determined and hadn’t taken the initiative to tackle them head-on rather than run from them, I probably wouldn’t have been as successful as I’ve been in my entrepreneurial career.
All entrepreneurs face some sort of barriers and roadblocks, and having founded two successful companies, I know there are many practical and substantive problems. But there is also a major aspect we don’t often reflect on, and that is ourselves. We need to be the best we can and at the height of our game to secure the best chances of success.
These are the thoughts that plague my mind, and I would believe they also plague the majority of entrepreneurs at some point or another. However, they are not physical, and you can’t just get up and move them out of the way.
But mental roadblocks are more subtle and not always the obvious answer. There are many — I’m sure more than the ones I’m going to list here. But I would imagine the experience I’ve had is common. Here are just a few of the doubts that ran through my mind endlessly during the early stages of my career:
I will never be rich or as successful as I dreamed.
I’m not creative enough.
I don’t have enough knowledge to be successful.
I don’t have enough formal education to succeed.
If I fail this time, I will never recover from it.
Only I can make the right decisions.
You may have experienced some of the above, or others, but you need to stay above these sorts of issues if you want to shine. From what I can see, there are various things you can do to alleviate and overcome any type of mental roadblock:
Take care of yourself
This is another important aspect of your business life. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” as the saying goes. That’s an adage from one of my favorite films, but it hits the point right on the head. Most of us will work every hour we can in order to reach our entrepreneurial goals.
All of that is just great, but we need to find some balance. Here are a few ideas for what you can do so you don’t burn out:
Regular breaks throughout the day, even just 10 minutes
Longer retreats, like a long weekend or week-long vacation
Fit some time into your agenda for things you love doing — trust me, it’s vital
When you get overwhelmed with the tasks at hand, delegate
Build a strong network
We’re social beings. We form families, friendships and communities. We need to have people around us. As entrepreneurs, we need to choose our business partners wisely, but we also need to do the same for our friends.
We need a network of people we can fall back on when hard times happen and who can inspire us during the good. It’s important to have positive-minded people who will encourage you forward and lift you back up when you are down. Together, they will help when you confront an adverse moment.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This is an ego problem. Like many entrepreneurs, I used to have a really hard time asking for help. My ego wouldn’t let me. I strongly recommend that you push your ego out of the way and admit that you have a problem when something becomes a recurrent issue in your personal life.
We all need help at some point. It’s no dishonor, and it doesn’t make you a failure. And as I found out, you will probably feel more relieved for having asked for and received the help you needed. Staying in your dark spot doesn’t help you, and I’m sure you have those people in your life who naturally want to help you.
You’ve probably heard this many times, and there’s a reason for that. It’s imperative for your success that you study your failures. We all get knocked down, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. Ask yourself questions like the following:
What exactly caused my failure?
What was in my control and what wasn’t?
Could I have done something differently to change the outcome?
What are the positive points I can take from this experience?
What is the lesson I learned? How can I apply it going forward?
When you fall down, get back up
If you have truly accepted that adversity will naturally present itself, then you will easily understand this part. Being an entrepreneur is not about never failing, it’s about overcoming those failures. It’s about learning from those adverse moments and taking a positive skew out of a bad moment.
Like Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up again.” Inevitably, we all stumble and fall at some point, but it’s in our capacity to overcome the moment and pick ourselves back up.
Being an entrepreneur is no easy business. But looking after ourselves and taking good care of our habits and thought processes will take us much further, both as entrepreneurs and as human beings.
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