Most entrepreneurs get discouraged at some time or another. It can startle us because it creeps up unexpectedly so one day you’re up and things are clicking and going your way, the next you’re down and wondering what triggered it.
Your character is defined by the amount of disappointment you will endure before you become discouraged. People who are easily discouraged often quit easily, so as an entrepreneur you get to choose how you’re going to consciously move forward.
What is discouragement and how is it triggered?
Discouragement is the lack of courage, or the lack of desire to continue on.
There are really only three things that create discouragement in business, and all other negative emotions and thoughts are rooted in these three things so let’s take a closer look:
- Failure to reach your goals in a reasonable amount of time. Most people will begin to question themselves consciously or subconsciously. Lack of results creates the dreaded thought, “Can I really make this work”, or “Can I really do this?” And these key questions should signal to you that if you allow discouragement to fester, you may begin sabotaging your actions, which in turn cripples your results.
- Setting unrealistic expectations. You thought that a desired outcome was going to happen more quickly, or with greater returns.
- Listening to the wrong people. As an entrepreneur we often times feel isolated and require the guidance and support of those around us. The key here is if you listen to those who are negative about your business or don’t understand it, you may begin to adopt the thinking and actions of the negative, uneducated or unsuccessful and this will create negative results, which of course will fuel your discouragement.
So although it may seem at times like circumstances are conspiring against you, remember this: circumstances are temporary and we can take appropriate actions to change them.
What successful people do differently
This takes practice and conscious level thinking before it comes naturally, but in time you will be able to regroup and get back into beast mode quickly when you’re stung by the discouragement bug.
- They take a quick accounting of all the things that are going right. We tend to think in absolutes, and in the negative absolutes when we’ve got the blues. But take time to write down all the things you are doing well, and how it felt when you were performing on all cylinders and just crushing it. You’ll get that nice little drip of happy sauce in your brain. And the best part is, when you go back to that time when you felt like Ginger Rogers dancing backwards in high heels, your brain doesn’t know any differently. It just knows the feeling that is being evoked.
- Successful people ask, “How can I improve the things I’m doing that aren’t getting the desired results.” Instead of thinking everything is going wrong, break it down into bite sized morsels and you’ll see that it’s probably just that your saddle needs to be tightened a notch or two. Once you adjust, you’ll be galloping as if you’re being chased by the Sherif’s posse.
- Successful people reach out to a trusted mentor. They’ve gone through their own experiences of discouragement. They tap into their knowledge, experience and skills.
- Successful people go into an objective with a clear understanding of the results they are looking for, and work through their own process to achieve that outcome knowing that obstacles are going to pop up.
The difference between a leader and a quitter on the entrepreneurial journey is the ability to move through discouragement quickly.
Discouragement is part of the human condition, and overcoming discouragement is part of the process of learning, growing and goal achievement. Embrace the journey.