I don't know if it is because of the particularly weird year that 2020 has been so far but lately I started to feel like I ran into a wall and no matter what I did, nothing would get me through it.
It might have been the physical fatigue from running around like a Duracell bunny since the beginning of the year and then like the same bunny but high on caffeine through March till the summer but all I could feel over the past few weeks was a frustration, brain fog and time slipping between my fingers.
Mid-September I felt like I reached the tipping point and I had to either break the cycle or it was going to break me. I had no fun running my business, serving my existing clients was time-consuming and it was tedious to even think of posting on social media.
Life of an entrepreneur isn't a straight line, we all know that, but when it gets really hard and you lose motivation it sucks big time.
I put together 3 simple yet super-efficient things that you can do to either prevent or to break that negative spiral and get motivated again.
1. Find a business buddy
A burden shared is a burden halved.
Business buddy or an accountability partner is someone who isn't related to you as a family or a friend. It is someone who shares the experience, the excitement and the challenges of building and running a business and usually, it will be someone at a similar stage of the business as you. You will be able to share your daily experiences, encourage, support and motivate each other when needed.
You can find yourself a business buddy by asking in your professional circles, there will always be someone who needs a buddy too, or if you do not have the connections or don't feel like opening up and relying on a stranger, you can look for a paid service. Often the service is called an accountability partner. I actually had this service on offer in 2019 but then reshaped it into a more complex program The Private Accelerator program where I combine the aspects of accountability, coaching and strategy.
2. Take a break
Sometimes the most efficient thing to do is to actually stop trying.
We all know that taking regular breaks increases productivity and creativity but hand on heart who is actually doing it.
You do? That's amazing and well done to you for listening and respecting your needs! I'm the lousy one here who never takes a break. I feel like my day has only that many hours and there is way too many things I need to squeeze in until the kids get back home from school and a whole another shift starts.
Taking a break felt like a silly waste of precious time and I became a master of multitasking, sometimes doing 4 things at the same time.
Reading? Audiobooks do the trick, I can listen while I cook, tidy the house or drive and help with homework.
Sport? Walking to and from school counts, right?
Proper nutrition? Breakfast is for losers and who has time for lunch? Dinner it is...
It doesn't take a genius to see how this is NOT good in the long run, yet, time after time I find myself falling in that rabbit hole.
Poor lifestyle combined with failing objectives is a sure recipe for a disaster and add into the mix no regular self-care action, no matter how small, you end up needing a big one to fix yourself asap.
My big action was an instant decision to book a 3-day full nature immersion retreat in Swiss Alps to switch off, get far from everything and everyone and tune in into my own self.
And boy was it revolutionary... I came back energised and most importantly aligned. I had time to slow down, to remember what am I trying to achieve and why; what were the values I wanted to live by and do I actually respect them?
I will most probably write a separate post about it another time because it will help someone like me, who's never been to one of those now very trending retreats.
3. Reach out to your community
Yes, those people who follow you and who you are trying to serve on a daily basis, they get your back too. Well, unless you bought your followers to look good on Instagram in which case your community is shallow and empty and you can't really get anything from them.
Sometimes we forget that social media is a two-way street and the connections we are making will return the energy and intention we were giving them on a first place. If you are all only about pushing out your products and services it won't work for you but if you understand the value of creating meaningful connections and genuinely trying to connect and help, you can count on your crowd to pay it back, trust me, I did.
You are not alone!
A few weeks ago, just before leaving for my retreat, I had a bad Monday. When I say bad I mean all of it...the tears, the despair, the vulnerability, the whole shebang. The over the months growing frustration with the results of my social media content suddenly exploded. I have realised that creating content in English for a community that is 80% francophone can't logically spark conversations and create engagement and as the Instagram algorithm needs to see high engagement in order to show your post to more people I felt doomed. The f* word is more suitable but I'm not supposed to swear.
My posts are good, I know it. I put a lot of thought and effort into the content. I get saves and likes but there is no conversation. The one thing that I strive for, the exchange and discussion and it was non-existent.
I felt like it didn't make any sense to continue. I even started to doubt the existence of my business. Will I ever be able to build a solid business here in Switzerland when English is my 2nd language and French is my 3rd language and I will always have to deal with this handicap?
Finally, I shared my concerns in Instagram stories and made a poll to understand clearly what my audience thinks of it and values the most. I asked about their language preferences, about the tolerance of grammar errors and of my thick eastern accent and for the overall feedback on my content. The answers I got completely shattered the beliefs that were blocking me and on top, I have received an overwhelming level of support, kindness and even tips on how to handle the issue.
My community even though small in size (I am at +600 followers on IG) had the power to hold me when I needed it and that means a lot!
The journey we embarked upon is not an easy one and we need to have each other's backs. I hope that the 3 tips I shared with you on how to find motivation in your business again are helpful and if you ever need a listening ear and a positive energy boost, just message me on my Instagram directly and let's chat.
Here, a few photos from my retreat to brighten up your day, careful, the splendid colours will hurt your eyes!
Take care of yourself,