How to stop your emotions from running your business

Emotions-running-business-615Ever have one of those runs of bad luck where you’re petrified to open your email?

  • The prospect who informs you, “I’ve decided to join Ms. Big Shot Guru’s program instead of yours”.
  • The one who tries to back out of the no-withdrawal coaching agreement they signed, and blames you for being the most awful human on the planet for simply holding them to their word.
  • The person who’s payment doesn’t clear and then drops completely out of sight.

All this would be easier if you were an employee. But you’re not. And when the business you’re running puts you and something you care about front and center it can be emotionally devastating.

Because the most difficult part of running a business isn’t managing the money – it’s managing your emotions. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are ways you can stop taking things so personally, and ride out the rough times and the difficult people. So you can enjoy your business regardless of what is happening inside it:

Tip #1: Keep an Even Keel

Here’s the deal: Most of us are front and center in our business. So it’s emotional by nature, because our product is US. In spite of that, you can smooth out the ups and downs by taking everything in stride. If I have a killer month it doesn’t mean I’m the next Tony Robbins, and if I have a slow month it doesn’t mean I’m crap.

I see too many folks get carried away with success … and when the crash comes, with the first big mistake or challenge, it can feel devastating. The solution is to stop riding the roller coaster altogether.

By all means celebrate success! But remember to keep an even keel. Because it’s not the disappointments, but the swings between the highs and lows that can knock you flat.

Tip #2: Study “Game Film”

The greatest athletes and performers don’t get caught up in the public’s inflated opinions and infatuation with them. That’s why they’re great. Even when they perform well, when the game Is over, they watch game film for hours to see how they could improve even more.

Back in the days when I was a fledgling sports reporter at an small market ABC affiliate station, we would watch tape of our segments to see how we could get better.

So whether you “ace” your latest venture (or tank it) do a review to see what you did right (there’s always something no matter how awful you were) and what you could improve (there’s always something, no matter how great you were).

When you assume there are always things you did well and did not do well, and embrace it all in the interest of getting better, it helps you take the disappointment (and the success) in stride.

Tip #3: When nasty happens, say “Ouch!”

Trying to keep a stiff upper lip is often the best way to stay stuck in the disappointment of poor results.

So when something nasty happens, I give myself time to say “Ouch!”, and feel it. But I don’t stay there. I then ask two powerful questions that not only move me out of the dumps, but prevent me from making the same mistake in the future:

  • What action could I have taken, or strategy could I have embraced to prevent this?
  • What will I do next time to give me the best chance at a different result?

Pretty simple. But I’ve been amazed at the power of assuming there is a specific cause of the failure, that wasn’t me. But something I did. (That’s a crucial distinction!)

And something I can do differently next time to ensure I get what I want instead of what I don’t.

Tip #4: Have a lot of irons in the fire

If you really want to drive yourself up and down the emotional roller coaster … put all your energy into that one client, one opportunity or one partnership that could change everything.

Yep, the chase is pretty exciting. But it’s a zero-win situation:

  1. If you get it, the first thing you often experience is doubt. “OMG! Now I have to come through! What happens when they find out I’m a fraud?”
  2. And if you don’t get it … you’re crushed. And because you’ve put so much energy into that one make-or-break opportunity, you feel like you’re back at square one.

(I’ve seen both of these over and over).

Either way … you’re setting the stage for emotional exhaustion, eventually hating your business, and even quitting altogether.

I’m not saying not to go after that breakthrough opportunity. But have other things going on as well. Because if you have three or four hot leads who want to work with you, or cool opportunities, if one falls through you’ve still got three others to work on.

Also, the simple act of having several possibilities that might pay off makes you feel more engaged, more valuable, more worthy. So when one of them falls through, instead of saying, “I’m screwed!” you say, “Next!”

Five: You can’t get love from your business, so stop trying

This one is a biggie … and I see it everywhere.

Needing too much love, confirmation or validation from your business is a disaster waiting to happen. Because while your clients and prospects may say they “love you”, make no mistake — this is business.

And when something better comes along — they’ll jump at it, possibly leaving you behind. It’s not personal … it’s just business. But if you take it personally, it can send you down the long dark corridor of doubt.

Also, the need for validation from your followers can often blunt your honesty, so you end up telling them what they want to hear, instead of what they need to hear.

Let me be clear — it’s OK to let validation, acknowledgment and gratitude from your clients in when it shows up. It feels great. Just don’t depend on it.

And don’t get addicted to it.

When you’re driven to get things from your business that can best be found outside your business (or from inside yourself), the result is often a string of empty expensive detours, and fruitless quests, that don’t fulfill you and cost you big time.

There’s probably isn’t any foolproof path to eliminate the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, especially when you care deeply about what you do (which most of us do). But if you follow these keys, you will find yourself building a business that actually supports the good things you want from life.

Instead of taking over your life.

So … what do you do to limit the impact of the emotional ups and downs of your business? Let us know in the comments! You never know who you might be helping!

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8 Responses to How to stop your emotions from running your business

    • Thank you Shirah. We all have great things to offer … and I see too many entrepreneurs letting their emotions get in the way of getting back out there after a setback. Obstacles happen to everyone. It’s how we deal with them that determines if we finally get to live our entrepreneurial dream.

  1. I love this blog Rob – this comes up all the time, for me and for my clients. It’s an epidemic almost.
    Great resource to have!! You’re too good 🙂

    • Thank you, Moira! It’s really the biggest problem I see taking folks who are capable and talented out of the game. It’s a reality – this stuff can be scary. But learning to manage those emotions has a huge payoff because it opens the doors the the life so many of us became entrepreneurs to experience.