Here’s a little dose of reality. Running a business isn’t 2 times as hard as you thought it would be, it’s 200 times as hard! I’m not complaining, I love building an empire – even a small empire – it’s a blast, the most fun I’ve ever had ‘working’ and some days it doesn’t feel like work, but some days it does. HARD work.
The more I learn about entrepreneurs and business owners, the more I understand why things like anxiety and depression go along with leadership and growth. It’s a roller coaster of fun, excitement, adrenalin, stress, anxiety and failure. Sometimes in the same day.
What do you do when you hit a stretch or trouble? If I can be ahem.. Transparent for a minute, I’ll tell you that a few months ago, I had a rough patch. There was a week that I was dealing with:
- Some health issues for me and my wife
- An upset client (rare for my business)
- A challenging personal project
- Some of my awesome ideas that turned out to not be so awesome (idea failure)
Any one or two or three of those things I could probably handle, but combined, within the same short time-span seemed overwhelming, and I crashed. There was a few days that I didn’t want to jump out of bed and get moving. I lost focus, and dropped a few balls.
Then — I Cleared The Deck.
Clearing The Deck:
Clearing the deck is a process by which you wipe your mental slate clean. Think of it as refreshing your mental browser cache. You know all of that stuff that you run through in your head? Cash flow, clients, todo lists, old todo lists, family, projects… You need a reboot! A counselor friend years ago told me “Jason, your brain is like a drain that gets plugged up every once in awhile, and you need to flush it out.”
A microcosm of clearing the deck would be a star basketball player that misses a shot and then nails the next one.
Here are some deck clearing suggestions:
I need to talk about stuff. I can wear out my partners sometimes, so I rely on a few good friends, a killer coach and a great family that will let me vent… So I called them up and had a few long conversations. You may need to find some quiet time. Whatever it is for you, do THAT.
DWYUTDFF - Do what you used to do for fun! Before I worked all the time, I used to shoot guns, play guitar and sit in front of a bonfire. These things provide peace and joy to me. (Exposing my country boy-with-hippie-parents roots). I went shooting at a range, and then at a buddies house, and built a few campfires in the portable pit in the back yard. Remember those hobbies? Spend some time doing one of those.
Entrepreneurs forget this so often! Instead of looking at what you must accomplish for the day, look at what you HAVE done and find something to celebrate. I had to remind myself that even though it’s been a slower build than I would have liked, we have had cool milestone after milestone in a blinding short period of time, and I’m still pursuing my dreams instead of working for someone else. THAT is a big accomplishment all by itself!
This used to be VERY challenging for me (and it shows). I am now enrolled in a Karate Class with my son, and we go every Tuesday and Thursday. The workouts help with stress relief and when we spar I can’t think of anything else or I’ll get punched in the head. I had a few really good workouts during my ‘deck clearing time’.
I’m convinced that if you can shorten the time it takes you to ‘Clear the Deck’ the more successful you will be. Your team and your family need you focused, so get to it!
How else to you refresh your brain?