It’s been repeated like a broken record, and I’m sure I’ve repeated it many times through this blog: Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. You have extreme highs and extreme lows. If you are not manic-depressive before going into entrepreneurship, there is a good chance you will be on the other end. The highs outweigh the lows, for most people, and that is why we do what we do. The lows are so excruciating though that it feels like the world is going to end. Getting out of your lows is more important than getting to your highs. Here are two techniques I’ve adopted for doing this:
1) Talk to your friends who are High -
No, not the ones smoking pot, the ones who are killing it in their ventures. One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is that gradually most of the people you surround yourself with are also entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur is on a different roller coaster. Find the ones who are on their highs when you are in a low, and talk to them. Ask them for advice, motivation, whatever – just talk to them. Their high will rub off.
2) Hit Autopilot and Keep Moving –
If you can translate the feelings of defeat and disappear into some sort of motivation to keep moving, you will win. One of my favorite essays on entrepreneurship is Paul Graham’s, How not to die. In this essay he says that the startups who “make it” are the ones who find a way not to “die”. In other words, finding a way to keep moving forward, no matter how difficult it may seem, is what will make you succeed. If you’ve ever run or hiked long distances, you know this feeling. At first you start full of energy and feel like you can conquer the world. Then at some point, you hit a wall and really start to question how long you will last. At this point you can simply give up, or you can ignore the pain and just keep moving. You find a drone-like place that almost becomes pleasurable because you know that you are moving forward and your body is numbing to the the pain. I call this place, autopilot. If every time you hit “Entrepreneurial Armageddon”, you can switch into autopilot and just keep moving forward, you will be better off than most. The people who succeed are the one’s who don’t give up.
If you are on an entrepreneurial high right now, congratulations. This is why we do what we do. If you are in a low right now, read the two steps above and keep moving. Don’t worry, you’ll get out of it. If you don’t know what I am talking about yet, welcome to entrepreneurship. It’s a hell of a ride!
Photo credit: Shandi-lee