It’s that time of the year, the half way mark is fast approaching – where did the last six months go? As winter settles in and the days become shorter here in Australia and we find ourselves recalibrating from the chaotic start to the year, it’s not uncommon to experience a business slump, low period or personal funk that can rob us of our focus and motivation.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” THOMAS EDISON
When things slow down in your business, you have a quiet period or you find yourself lost and unmotivated, the first thing to remember is that it’s ok. Similar to most aspects of our life, business and work will also go through seasons of fruitful summers, quite Winters, new and exciting Spring times and the shedding of Autumn. The trick is to not let the down time get the better of you. Here are some strategies that I use to help me ride the lows of business:
- Get an outside perspective – We all need a little pep talk at times, a gentle or maybe not so gentle reminder that it’s all going to be ok & we’ll find a way through the rough patch. Find someone you trust who knows you, your business and/or can offer a fresh outside perspective. When we’re in the thick of it, fear and self doubt can quickly creep in and take over any chance you had at getting out of the funk. By outsourcing your self talk to someone who can see the bigger picture without the emotional charge (a peer, colleague, coach or mentor) you can quickly start to regain the confidence in yourself and your ability to get things back on track.
- Do something you’re good at – A proven strategy to reigniting the flame of inspiration and motivation. No matter how small or achievable the task may be or feel, find something you can complete without too much effort required (you don’t want to set the bar too high if you’re not feeling it.) It could be making a phone call, writing a blog or making a wholesome lunch. When we compete a task we activate dopamine (a reward chemical) which helps us to feel better and we also plant evidence in our minds of our capabilities to set tasks and achieve them. When you feel the tiniest sense of accomplishment keep fanning the flame – celebrate it, tell someone about it and take a moment to remind yourself that ‘you’ve got this!’
- Look for examples of what’s working – When the business slump comes along it can be a slippery slope into the ‘what the hell am I doing? Why do I do this again? Is this even working?’ mindset which can be a real vibe and motivation killer. Often it’s not as bad a we think and if we try hard enough we can find evidence of where we’ve had some success in our business. As a coach I encourage all of my clients to keep a list of ‘wins’ along the way because they tend to be the first thing we forget or discount when we’re not in the best headspace. Find something to celebrate and if you can’t find it – ask someone to help you.
- Work on your business – A favourite remedy of mine. When I find myself lacking motivation or inspiration in my business I lean on everything I’ve ever created and used to help others – worksheets, podcasts, self help books and old blog or Instagram posts. Sometimes business slumps can be a sign that your business needs a health check and that’s ok, almost all aspects of our lives benefit from regular checkups. Instead of forcing your way through the funk or just repeating things because they’ve worked in the past, take it as a sign to stop and reflect on the business and take a look under the bonnet to see what might be needing some attention. When we’re not feeling inspired it can be easy to avoid doing the work, which let’s be honest doesn’t always help the situation. Instead of shying away from it, bring it all into the light, remove your emotional charge around it and just see if you can take an unbiased birds eye view of what you do and why you do it and see what could use some love and care. If you find this hard to do and procrastination gets the better of you, outsource it ASAP – get yourself a coach, mentor or outside perspective to help you lift you up and out.
- Use the time to reflect on what you really want – Breaks in the system and ‘normal’ ways of doing business aren’t all bad. I know it’s an easy thing to say and much harder to embrace, trust me I often resist slowing down and riding the lows of business. But every time I hit a bump or slow patch, I’m reminded by my mentors, friends and coaches that there is often a lesson to be learnt in the season of slow. It might feel like a waste of time or something that you want to move out of as quickly as possible, but there’s no rushing life lessons. When I find myself in this headspace and all of the above isn’t working for me, I journal, meditate, reflect, read, listen and question everything until eventually a spark returns. The slow lane might not always feel great but there’s lessons in every season. What is this break in the pattern here to teach you?
A freebie for you – I wrote the First Aid Kit For Your Business at the end of 2020 to help you guys self guide your way through what I would normally cover in a 6 month Business Coaching Package. One of my favourite chapters is ‘How to 10x Your Business’ – it comes with a video and a bunch of worksheets on how to increase your sales and momentum in your business and perfect for when you’re feeling the funk and are ready to kickstart your business growth again.