When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Easier said than done. But so very true. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of those tough moments and nothing seems to be going right, you can feel pretty alone and even spiral into a little self-pity. No one has it as hard as you do, right?
Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re not alone. I’m not alone. Building a business is hard (as thousands of people who have gone before us have experienced!). As you start to gain traction and new levels of success, your problems just intensify. They never go away. And would you really want them to? The challenges and problem-solving is half the fun!
To my point, a couple of weeks ago, a good friend, and well-respected fellow business owner in a different industry emailed me and asked, “What are your go-tos when times get really challenging for you and you feel the doubt, negativity, and lack of confidence? What tools do you use to push through strong?” So, I’ll share with you all, what I shared with him.
My Top 5 Tips for Pushing Through When Times Get Tough:
- Exercise. As most of you know, exercise is an integral part of my daily routine, however, it’s so easy to say “f*!k it” when you’ve got people wanting your time and a million fires to put out. Do not sacrifice your standards. During these tough times, exercise becomes even more critical for clarity, focus, and let’s be honest, to blow off some steam! Whatever you do, whether it’s Cross Fit, running, spinning, or yoga, just move. Sometimes I even like to just hike solo, it gives me time to think. Focus on moving your body and I guarantee you’ll not only feel better, but you will have some of your best ideas and breakthroughs.
- Meditate. Again, something I do every day to build my emotional fitness, and something I refuse to sacrifice especially when shit is hitting the fan. I need my twice daily meditation practice to expand my mind and create a better mind, body, and soul integration, which in turn enables me to be a better leader. Take time to just sit quietly with your thoughts, breathe, meditate, and get centered. Clear mind equals clear, instead of reactive, decision making.
- Journal. Journaling for me is another daily practice (do you see a pattern here?). Journaling clears my mind, connects me to my family (since I have a journal for each of my family members), makes me reflect on what I have accomplished and reignites my vision and passion for everything I still want to do. Journaling connects me with my big why every day. For me, journaling is also rooted in gratitude – the good, the bad, the ugly – I write it all down and am purposeful in my expression of gratitude for all the experiences I have. It’s impossible to be grateful and be afraid at the same time. Journaling enables me to be grateful even in the toughest of times.
- Connect. But not with just anyone. Connect with friends and mentors who get it. Those that have gone before you and weathered the storm. I always caution my employees, coaching clients, and friends to be careful who they take advice from. Make sure who you are listening to and emulating are people who are actually living (not just talking about) the life you want. Some of the best mentors can be found in books. I always have one or two personal development or leadership books going – the ones that tell a story about how hard building a business is are some of my favorites (i.e. Shoe Dog, Steve Jobs, Built from Scratch, Elon Musk, The Power of Broke, etc). Or, I’ll watch videos from some of the greats like Tony Robbins or Wayne Dyer. All of those books and conversations remind us that it’s really frickin hard to go out and do something big. But that is what life is all about.
- Take Action. Most importantly, when I am feeling stuck, I make a decision and execute. You may not be able to see the entire path ahead of you or the exact steps that you need to take, but you will be able to see the first step. Take that one step and then you’ll be able to see the next. And from there, the next. Keep moving… If it’s wrong, you make another decision – just don’t sit idle! That’s the danger zone. Inaction for too long can lead to paralysis and before you know it that tough moment has turned into a tough year (or more). If you’re going through hell, keep going. Recalculate. Make a new decision. Keep pushing forward and take another step.
These tips are not just things I do when times are tough. In fact, I have built up these daily habits and routines over years of practice so that I am emotionally fit to handle any challenge, law suit, or emergency that comes my way. My mind, body, and soul are all conditioned to respond at peak performance. If you haven’t started a daily emotional fitness practice, I encourage you to start today. It doesn’t have to be perfect – start small. Just incorporating daily exercise or journaling can start you on the path to a more centered existence. Build a foundation now for daily strength and continued growth and when the tough times hit, you’ll be ready.
And as I reminded my friend, what he and I (and you!) are going through, someone else has already gone through and become stronger from it. Just remember, life is happening for us, not to us. You already have the tools and strength inside you to push through, now it’s time to get purposeful on bringing them to the surface and living in that strength every day.