It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to be frustrated—and quite often. Running a business is very hard. We all rationally understand that we win some and lose some, but nobody likes losing. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, as we tend to be very competitive. So, what can you do when you’re frustrated?
I think it’s very easy for entrepreneurs to read about companies that sell for millions (or billions) and wonder what we’re doing wrong. The reality is that we tend to hear about the outliers. Not all companies go public or get acquired by Google.
Also, we tend to idealize scenarios. If we have a service company we wish we had a product company so we could scale faster. If we have a product company we wish we had a service company so we don’t have to deal with inventory or logistics issues. The grass is always greener…
At the end of the day, what others are doing is irrelevant to you. But, it’s important to keep in mind that people tend to exaggerate their successes and minimize (or hide) their failures and struggles.
Every few months I get so caught up on the hectic life of the entrepreneur that I lose touch with my purpose. When this happens, I take a day or two off and remind myself why do what I do. What moves you? What motivates you? The answer is almost never “money”, although this is surely an important element. But, when I talk to entrepreneurs I find that what’s truly important to them is leaving a legacy, helping others or feeding their employees. Find your “why” and you’ll find your way.
The human brain often gets caught up in “black or white thinking.” That is, either everything is awesome or everything sucks. But the reality is that there’s a lot of good things happening even in bad situations. What are you grateful for? I’m grateful for the people I work with, for how much fun I have at work, and for being able to work around my own schedule on projects that I like.
We’re a very work-centric society. We spend most of our time at work and even when we leave the office we keep thinking about work and it’s hard to disconnect. But work isn’t everything. Are you healthy? Is your family healthy? Are you surrounded by friends and people who love you?
Another way to put things into perspective is looking back in time. Most entrepreneurs don’t celebrate victories too much. As soon as we win a battle we start thinking about the next one. And when something doesn’t work out the way we expect it we feel we’re not making progress. But every time I look back in time I’m amazed at how much progress I’ve made over the last few years.
Being an entrepreneur is hard. Otherwise, everyone would do it. Next time you feel defeated, come back to this article.